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The Narrow Path 9/17

The Narrow Path / Steve Gregg
The Truth Network Radio
September 17, 2020 8:00 am

The Narrow Path 9/17

The Narrow Path / Steve Gregg

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Music Good afternoon, and welcome to the Narrow Path Radio Broadcast. My name is Steve Gregg, and we're live for an hour, which is the case virtually every weekday afternoon for the past 23 years. We take your phone calls during the entire hour, and you can call in if you have questions about the Bible or the Christian faith, or if you have a different view from the host.

I want to talk about that. One problem you'll have if you try to call in right now is that our lines are full, but if you call in a few minutes, you may find that one has opened up. The number to call is 844-484-5737.

That's 844-484-5737. Our first caller today is Mike from Albany, Oregon. Mike, good to hear from you. How are you doing? I'm doing good.

Thanks, Steve. Just to fill in your listeners, as you already know, I recently came out of Mormonism, and it's a very legalistic religion, and online I recently have found a lot of other former Latter-day Saints who have become evangelical Christians, and it's been really good to talk to them. But also sometimes I wonder if the understanding of grace they now have might be going a little bit too far in the opposite direction of legalism, just because it's kind of easy to swing, to overcorrect on things like that that you've been wrong on for so long. But in the context of us who just came out of a false legalistic imitation of the Gospel, how would you explain the relationship between grace and faith and works and how we can correctly judge our standing before God without any false hope or things like that, but accurately?

Okay, yeah. Well, first of all, of course, obedience to God and a holy life are not legalism. Legalism is when an organization puts you under bondage to follow their rules, to be loyal to them as an organization, and to do all the things that they have decided are the measures of spirituality. And anything that is required by men, which is not required by God or that is not in the Scriptures, that is to say that it's not required by Jesus in his teachings. If someone requires somebody to go beyond what Jesus teaches, then that person is a legalist. And John wrote in 2 John to the elect lady, he talked about the danger of people going beyond the teachings of Jesus. He says in verse 9 of 2 John, whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ or the teaching of Christ, does not abide in it, doesn't remain in it.

Many modern translations say they go beyond the teaching of Jesus. That person does not have God. He who abides in the teaching of Jesus has both the Father and the Son. So I mean, a Christian doesn't have, just because we're not legalists, doesn't mean we have the total unrestricted reign of our will to do what we want to do. The fact that we don't have to do what some man wants us to do is only true because we do have to do what God wants us to do. And therefore we are followers of Jesus.

And anyone can be a follower of Jesus without being under the rules of any organization. Because Jesus, what he taught is recorded for us. And we can read his teachings. We can ask him to guide us in the correct application of those in our lives. And then just walk in the Spirit, which is a freedom.

It's a way of, it's the law of liberty because Christ writes his laws in our hearts. And what that means is he makes our hearts amenable to his laws. What he really wants us to do is what his Spirit inclines us inwardly to do. Although of course we do have our flesh and our flesh is drawn toward carnality, of course, so we have to recognize that not every inward impulse we have is from Christ. But if we love Christ, if we're born of God, if the Spirit of God is in us, then what he taught us to do is something we truly desire to do.

And it makes it easier to do that. And we're not under the thumb of some organization or some man telling us we have to do something. Now, by the way, Mormonism and cults like that are not the only legalistic religious bodies. Any individual church can be legalistic depending on the dynamics of the group. I mean, I don't consider Presbyterians or Methodists or Baptists or Nazarenes to be cultic, but any church of any denomination, including those ones, could be if the pastor is very domineering, if there's just a strong spirit of legalism in the church. You do find individual congregations that are very legalistic that aren't part of what we might refer to as cults. But cults by nature are legalistic.

They have to keep people pretty much in line and standardized. And whenever a group is trying to do that, they are doing so without the Holy Spirit. Now, I know the Mormons believe in the Holy Spirit and believe in being filled with the Holy Spirit, but it says in 2 Corinthians 3 that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there's liberty.

And if somebody is in a group where there's no liberty, if you don't have the liberty to follow your heart, to follow Jesus without the rules and regulations of the group binding you, well, then the Holy Spirit's not there because where the Spirit is, there's liberty. Now, grace does not mean permission to sin. Grace is actually God's character.

God is gracious. He's full of grace. Remember, it says of Jesus in John chapter 1, we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Now, two verses later, it says, and of his fullness we have received grace upon grace. So we find that Jesus was full of grace and truth, and we by being filled with his Spirit are filled with the fullness of him, of his fullness we have all received, which is grace upon grace. So God gives us grace not just as, grace is not permission to sin. It's not even just forgiveness of sin. It is the impartation of God's own character of grace to us, which enables us to live a holy life and enables us to endure hardship and endures us to simply respond to life and to people the way Jesus did because his nature is in us.

We have become, as Peter said in 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 4, that we become partakers of the divine nature. So grace is not in any sense in conflict with obeying Christ or being holy. In fact, we know that Paul said in Titus chapter 2, I believe it's in verse 11, that he said that the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men teaching us. Now, this is what grace teaches us. Grace teaches us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we must live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. So that's what grace teaches us. If somebody has received grace and is filled with grace, then grace is inwardly teaching me to deny worldliness and lusts and to live soberly and righteously and godly in this world. So if somebody says, well, I don't have to live like I did before in the cult because that was legalism and now I'm under grace so I can really kind of live it up and do whatever I want to do. Well, not whatever your flesh wants to do, certainly, because grace will teach you to deny your worldly lusts. Grace will teach you to live soberly and righteously. So, you know, some people, they move out of legalism into something they consider to be grace. And there's this movement in the church called hyper grace that indicates that because it's because we're under grace, you know, there's really no requirements on us at all. But Jesus said after the Sermon on the Mount, which was full of a lot of high standard of holiness that he was teaching, he said, everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who builds his house on sand.

And when the storms come, it washes it away. But whoever hears these words of mine and does them, he's like a wise man who built his house on a rock. In other words, a person who doesn't do what Jesus said is setting himself from for spiritual downfall. And so being out from under legalism doesn't mean being out from under Jesus.

That makes sense. So there's, I don't want to say this pastor's name, because I might kind of misrepresent what he said, because I'm summarizing it. But, but he said that the reason there's so many commandments in the scriptures is, is to kind of show you that it's impossible to keep them all. And we should be striving to, but we shouldn't be concerned if we're far from keeping the commandments.

That's, and that was being shared on this group that I was in and everyone was like, um, kind of agreeing with it. Well, let me give you a, let me give you a scriptural response to that. It's in first John chapter two. It says in verse four, first John two, four says, he who says, I know him. That means someone who says they know God or Christ and does not keep his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. So if a person says I'm a Christian, but they don't keep Christ's commandments, they're a liar.

Now that doesn't mean Christians keep his commandments perfectly. And I would agree with that pastor if what he's saying is, uh, don't beat yourself up and condemn yourself because you are not perfect. Uh, you know, the fact that you sometimes stumble, the fact that you sometimes slip and fall into a way that you really are trying not to fall into in a way that you really don't approve of and which you repent of when you've done it. The fact that you slip, you must not let that become an occasion of condemnation. But if he's saying, um, you know, these laws, they're not really very important.

The main thing is for us to recognize we can't keep them. And so don't sweat it if you're not, if you're not coming very close to it. Well, I think you're supposed to come pretty close to it. You know, I think you're supposed to come very close to it. It wasn't exactly like he was saying that the commandments are really important.

Don't ever forget them. But he's saying your salvation happened when you accepted Christ. It's your duty to try to become closer to him. And that's, that's those kinds of gist. And he said to focus on the main three, faith, hope, and, um, charity, and then use the rest of the commands to kind of check yourself to see if the Spirit's working in you. That's, that's how he went about it.

But almost, almost as a, you know, it's, it's impossible to actually keep them all. So don't worry too much about that kind of, well, you know, yeah, if he's saying, don't be legalistic, don't beat yourself up cause you don't keep the law perfectly. I would agree with him on that. But if he's giving the impression that the laws are only there to let us know how far we fall short. And I've definitely heard people teach that. They've said, you know, that sermon on the mountain, Jesus never intended anyone to do it.

Uh, he just wanted us to see how high the standard is. So we'd be desperate and cast ourselves on the, on the grace of God, uh, because he certainly wouldn't expect us to do it. However, at the end of that sermon, as I pointed out, he said, whoever hears these words and does them is wise. Whoever hears these words and doesn't is a fool. Now I don't think that we're supposed to be fools. And I do think being wise is exactly what Christians are required to do. Paul said to the Colossians, do not be unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. So we're supposed to be wise.

We're supposed to know what God's will is and seek to do it. But recognizing that we're not perfect, that there's a war within us between the flesh and the spirit. And sometimes the flesh gets the upper hand if we're careless. Uh, but the fact that the flesh gets the upper hand on a given occasion and we fall doesn't mean that, you know, the flesh has now reclaimed us for itself.

It just means that we've, we fell where we did the wrong thing. We get up and we keep marching. I mean, if you're on the battlefield and you're, uh, you know, charging the enemy and you happen to trip and fall down, you don't just fear.

Oh, well, I guess I'll just let the enemy take me now. No, you just get up and stand, continue the charge, you know, because you have an objective. The objective of the Christian is to become just like Christ in every attitude, in every thought, to have every thought brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, uh, to obey him all things. That's the objective. And of course we don't do that perfectly, but when we find that we have failed to, we don't just reset the norm. We don't lower the bar. We don't just say, well, I guess that didn't matter. It does matter. And we know it matters. If you love God, you know it matters when you fail him.

It just doesn't matter in the way that, uh, some people think. Some people think, well, if I fail God, he hates me. If I fail God, I don't measure up so I can't be saved. That's not, the Bible doesn't teach that, but it does teach that Christians are those who obey Jesus. That's how Peter described the Christian community when he was talking to the Sanhedrin. He said, we are witnesses to these things and so is the Holy Spirit who God has given to those who obey him. He means to the Christians. In Hebrews, it also refers to the Christians as those who obey him.

Um, that he became the author of eternal salvation to those who obey him, it says in Hebrews. Now those who obey him, it doesn't mean obeying him is how we get the Holy Spirit or obeying him is how we get saved. He's just saying the people who are saved, the people who have those, we can see, we can recognize who those are. There's those people over there who are obeying Jesus instead of living their lives like everyone else does. The Christians are those who obey Christ. Uh, so that's, you know, if anyone says, I know him and doesn't keep his commandments, he's a liar. That's, that's just a very blunt statement John makes there in first John two four.

So, so those would be my thoughts. So, so in understanding our, our current relationship with Christ, it'd be good just to look at kind of what our feelings are on the commandments maybe would be a good way of putting it. Because if, if we, how did David feel about God's commandments? He said, I love your commandments. I love your law.

I meditate on them all day long. I mean, if you love God, you're going to love his will. You know, there's a singer, a Christian singer back in my day, uh, when I was young named Keith Green and he had a song. One of the lines was, if you love the Lord, you're going to love his will for you. And his will is expressed in commandments. And David, so many of his songs are about how the commands are sweeter than honey in the honeycomb and you know, greater more to be desired than gold. So a man who loves God or woman who loves God, he's going to love righteousness. He's going to love God's commands.

They're going to want to obey them. Not because of fear, but because of love. You know, uh, you're married and you have children, you know what things your children love. You know, things make your children happy and you love to do them if you can, because you love your wife and your children. It's just a normal thing. If you love somebody, you desire to do as many things as possible as keep them happy.

Not because you're afraid of anything they'll do if they're not happy, but because making them happy is what makes you happy if you love them. And it's the same thing with God. Hey, I need to take another call. My lines have been full and we've talked for a third of the program already. I really appreciate it. I'll be listening to this a couple of times over and over again. Thank you so much. And I know this is simple stuff for everyone else, but I appreciate it. Thank you.

No, it's, it's, it's profound for many. Thank you, Mike. Thanks. God bless you. All right. Steve from Lakewood, Washington. Welcome to The Narrow Path.

Thanks for calling. Two separate questions really fast. The first one you should be able to answer really fast. But Revelation 12, 7 says, there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon fought and his angels. How did they have war in heaven? Since you can't really kill, they couldn't really kill each other or maim each other.

Was it sort of symbolic like Jacob or something with the angel all night? And then my second question really fast is speaking of cults, and they don't consider Seventh-day Adventism a cult, but do you think it's a good idea, especially with cult groups such as Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses, to, even though you don't really think it matters anyway, church membership, do you think it's a good idea to, to have them take your name off their roles or not? Thank you. Okay. Okay.

Thank you. Yeah. Well, would a person who once belonged to a cultic group, and they are now no longer in disagreement, no longer in agreement with the group, should their name be taken off the membership of the group?

I would say yes. I'm not really sure why anyone would ever put their name on the membership of any group, even a, even a denominational church. You don't have to become a member of a manmade organization to be a member of the body of Christ. And so I, you know, I'm not really in favor of people having their names on membership roles, because if you join a church in the sense that, that that is speaking of, that is I'm a member of this church, what you're basically committing to is going to that church more than any other.

You're tithing to that church probably is what they're going to want you to do. And there's going to be other things that basically wed you to that church. In fact, sometimes churches even use the language of wedding. I've heard people say, you know, people who hop around from church to church is like a woman who's hopping around from one man's bed to another man's bed, as if you're supposed to be married to the congregation you go to. No, you're married to Christ and Christ isn't just at any one congregation.

Even if you go to one all the time, that's not the only one. You can go to any other one and you're still in the body of Christ. Every congregation is a manmade one.

I know this because God didn't come down and create it. These congregations, they are formed by people. Now a congregation that's formed by people can still be a wonderful fellowship and a wonderful witness and it can be a wonderful experience. I'm not against them. I'm not against groups made by man.

But we're not obligated to join any groups made by man. We can attend them. We can participate. We can volunteer. We can teach. We can give. We can do all kinds of things to such a group.

And I do. When I go to church, I give to it and I volunteer and I do what I do in a church. But I don't join it because I'm already joined to the body of Christ. Now if I say, yeah, I'm joined to the body of Christ, I'm also going to join this church.

Well, what does that mean? What's it mean I'm going to join this church? Does it mean I'm just going to go there?

Well, I can go there without joining, can't I? I go to many churches without joining them. If I join a church, doesn't that mean that they kind of own me in a different sense than all the other churches do? I mean, if there's a hundred churches in town, if I join one, doesn't that mean that they have some claim on me different than the others do? If not, then what does it mean? I'm not really sure what it would mean if not that. It means you're expected to be loyal to them.

But why? Why should we be loyal to one group when there's Christians in the body of Christ throughout the whole town who aren't in that group? Why can't they just be loyal to Jesus and to his body? I mean, I'm not against going to one church steadily and regularly if that's what God leads people to do. I just don't understand the mentality of joining a church. It certainly doesn't exist in the Bible. There's no such concept in the Bible of joining the church or being a member of the church. The word member is applied to Christians in the New Testament like members of a limbs of a body, a body made up of many limbs and members. But that's not like joining a club. That's like the Holy Spirit joins you to the body of Christ.

And that's a mystical spiritual thing that happens. And you're now part of the whole body with all Christians. So I don't see any reason to put your name on a role. But if you have it on a role of a group and if it's a cultic group, I'd say, yeah, I don't want my name on there anymore. Now, by the way, that caller was our friend Steve Peterson, who he does a lot to to make these services at Matthew 713 available.

If you haven't been to Matthew 713 dot com, you'll find a lot of resources there. And so. Anyway. But his other question was, what does war in heaven look like in Revelation Chapter twelve, seven? I don't know. I believe that revelation is giving symbolic language. So he's depicting a spiritual conflict in terms of armies and soldiers and things like that. But these are angels. Do angels die?

I don't think so. We know that the the war in heaven that Daniel learned about in Daniel Chapter 10 involved the Prince of Persia, who was fighting against two messengers. One was Michael, as in Revelation 12, and the other was this unnamed messenger that came to Daniel. They were both fighting with the Prince of Persia, but there's no indication that they intended to kill him.

He resisted them. They're seeking to overpower them. And so the warfare motif of angels, you know, locked in battle, it may be using a motif that we're familiar with where people get killed in human battles. But I think it's simply representing the idea that there is a power struggle between the forces of God and the forces of Satan.

And in that particular story, we see that the power of God wins against Satan. Okay, we've still got a lot of callers and not a lot of time. Let's talk next to Vito from Linwood, Washington.

Vito, welcome to The Narrow Path. Thanks for waiting. Hi, Steve. Hi. Can you hear me okay?

Yes, go ahead. Yes, so I'm just calling because yesterday had a caller call and he was concerned that it didn't seem like there was miracles and a lot of stories in the Bible. And so it compelled me to call you today and just tell you something that happened to me. And I considered it was a miracle or a blessing.

It depends on how you want to look at it. But about seven years ago, I was involved in a situation where I was charged with a crime. And even though I didn't feel that I should have been charged with a crime, they had said they were going to charge me, but then they didn't charge me for three years. And the day that I actually was charged three years later, I actually had a dream and I heard a voice say, you know, the thing that happened, well, you're going to be charged with that.

And I thought it was my dad's voice. I told my wife about it anyways. So once I knew I'd been charged, she looked it up and found out that I was going to be charged with this crime.

And it was a pretty heinous crime, Steve. And I was looking at some serious time in prison and I'd never been to prison or anything like that. And so I was very terrified and I'd become a Christian a few years before that. And I started hanging on Mark 11, 22. And this is what I wanted to tell this guy that called yesterday is you have to have faith in God for one thing. I felt like he maybe doesn't have true faith in God because I believe there is miracles and I believe today there's miracles. And what happened with me was I prayed that prayer so many times that I literally memorized it inside and out.

I studied it and it said that whatever you believe, if you believe it, you'll receive it. And I just kept saying that over and over and over. And I prayed day and night, day and night. I was terrified, Steve. Okay, I'm running out of time here because I've got a break coming up.

Give us the bottom line, how to turn up. Yes, the bottom line is that miraculously, even though my lawyer said there was no way I wouldn't be going to prison for this, they dropped all the charges. Praise the Lord.

Completely dropped it. Praise the Lord. I've heard many testimonies like that, by the way. In fact, I've heard testimonies like that from people who actually were guilty. They had before they were not Christians and they committed crimes and they fled.

In some cases, they fled from Canada to the US or somewhere. And I met them here and I counseled them to go back and turn themselves in. And they were guilty of crimes. They were facing jail time. And they, I said, trust God and go turn yourself in.

And I know of a number of cases of people who did that and charges were dropped against them when they did so. So, I mean, I'm not saying it'll always happen that way, but I do believe in those kinds of things happening because of answers to prayer. Now, see, the man who called yesterday was not a believer in God. He didn't believe in the resurrection of Christ.

He didn't believe in miracles at all. But he would probably just say, that's not a miracle. That's a coincidence. And by the way, a skeptic could argue that way because it doesn't involve in that case the violation of any laws of nature. One could argue that could have happened even if it was unlikely. And, you know, it's a coincidence. But there's every reason for you to believe and genuinely and rationally that your prayers had an impact on that. And answered prayer is something that almost every Christian knows. I would expect.

And not always are they miracles, but providences of God through answer to prayer is what confirms us that we do have a miracle working God out there. Hey, I need to take a break, but I'll be back with another half hour coming up. We're not done. The Narrow Path is listener supported. You can write to us at The Narrow Path, P.O. Box 1730, Temecula, California 92593, or our website,

I'll be back in 30 seconds. Small is the gate and narrow is the path that leads to life. We're proud to welcome you to The Narrow Path with Steve Gregg. Steve has nothing to sell you today, but everything to give you. When today's radio show is over, we invite you to visit where you'll find topical audio teachings, blog articles, verse by verse teachings and the archives of all the radio shows.

Study, learn and enjoy. We thank you for supporting the listener supported Narrow Path with Steve Gregg. Welcome back to The Narrow Path radio broadcast. My name is Steve Gregg and we're live for another half hour taking your calls. We have our lines full by the way, but if you want to call in in a few minutes, you might find a line that opens up. The number to call is 844-484-5737.

That's 844-484-5737. And our next caller is Paul from Buena Vista, Colorado. Paul, welcome to The Narrow Path. Thanks for calling. Hey, Paul, you were waiting a long time.

You're about to lose it. Sorry. When you call, stay on the phone. I know he was waiting for 25 minutes, but if you don't stay on the phone, then when I call your name, you're not there. And the reason is because usually when someone leaves the phone, they're listening on the radio, but it's delayed and they won't hear me call their name on the radio for about 40 seconds later and we can't burn up 40 seconds of airtime. So if you're not at the phone, I can't talk to you. Stay on the phone if you call. Daniel from Everett, Washington.

Welcome to The Narrow Path. Thanks for calling. Hi, Steve.

How are you today? Good, thanks. Hey, I got a question about a little devotional about Satan. I know we were talking about the book of Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. And my question today, Steve, is who is this king of Tyre and who is the king of Babylon in those passages? And I'll have a follow-up question if we have time.

Oh, okay. Well, the king of Babylon, when Isaiah was writing, probably didn't really exist yet. I mean, Nebuchadnezzar was the founder of the neo-Babylonian empire, though there was a Babylonian kingdom before that. But Isaiah is writing about the fall of Babylon. Now, Isaiah lived and died before the rise of Babylon. So he's probably just speaking about the king of Babylon as a personification of all the kings that would come of Babylon, their boldness, their pride, their fall. No doubt the king of Babylon is generic for any king of Babylon because none of them had really risen yet in Isaiah's time.

In fact, they wouldn't for another hundred years after Isaiah's time. So he's talking about a king of Babylon who isn't there yet. And we don't know which one he might be thinking of, although he does talk about the fall of Babylon, the fall of the king. It could well be he's talking about Belshazzar, who was the king in Babylon when Babylon fell. But he might also be referring to any king of Babylon because it's just, he's talking about the fall of the individual man. And I'm sure the death of any Babylonian king would be his fall, but the kingdom itself, represented by its kings, fell in 539 BC. So that was when Belshazzar was king.

So that's maybe who it was. Now, I don't know the names of all the kings of Tyre. Tyre and all the other countries around Israel had lots of kings, and most of them are very unfamiliar to us.

I mean, they weren't famous enough to. I'm sure that there are Middle Eastern scholars who focus on the history of Tyre and can tell us at any given time who was king. But I've never even heard the names of any of the kings of Tyre in my whole 50 years of studying the Bible, nor do I know the kings of the Moab or the Moabites or the kings of the Ammonites, except maybe a few of them that maybe appear in the stories in 1 Kings and 2 Kings. But yeah, there was a king in Tyre, to be sure. And yet I think also what is said about the king of Tyre in a sense extends to the nation of Tyre. The king is always the representative of the nation. So I can't give you the names of the kings of Babylon and Tyre to whom these apply, but we know there were kings in Babylon and Tyre at a later time, and they did fall.

Both cities fell and that's what these prophecies are predicting. Okay. Yeah.

So Ezekiel talks about the lament for the king of Tyre. Okay. So you help me with that. All right. That was good. Well, thank you for your call. I appreciate it. We're going to talk next to Andrew from Monroe, Washington. Andrew, welcome to the Narrow Path. Thanks for calling. Oops, I'm hitting the button. There we go. Hi, Andrew.

Hi, thank you for taking my call. I missed your visit up here in Monroe at Cassie Community Church. Yeah, I'd love to come up there again. Well, you probably just like down there, you probably wouldn't enjoy the weather right now with all the smoke. Yeah, I guess not. And I wouldn't, I just don't enjoy traveling by air at this point either because of the masks and stuff like that.

That sounds very uncomfortable. My question today pertains to a book. I became a Christian about over 30 years ago and from my upbringing, my Catholic upbringing, when I became a Christian, I kind of got desensitized to any extra biblical instruction and really didn't have a hunger for that. I just wanted to stop the word, but over the past 10 years, I've really had an interest in delving into a lot more instruction from biblical scholars. I mean, like Tozer and C.S.

Lewis, to just name a few. Just recently, a friend of mine, a wonderful Christian man that I love dearly, created a book that I hadn't heard of, published in the 70s. It's called Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. I hadn't heard of it, but I jumped on it right away, purchased it on a major retail, online retailer that will remain nameless. And I read some reviews recently. I just have some questions about the biblical teaching in there and I respect your opinion. I love your books. I pre-purchased your new one coming out and I just was looking for your opinion on that book.

I didn't purchase it this time. The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster is a very famous book. I read it when it first came out. There's some things I don't agree with in it.

Of course, there's much in it I wouldn't have any objection to. Richard Foster has either through that book, I had never heard of him before that book, but he's written other books since then. He's a pretty famous guy.

You almost never hear anything like criticism of him from anyone. Most biblical writers, most Christian writers seem to like to quote him and things like that. The only thing I can remember that I didn't care for, and I really truly didn't care for this in his book, his book is about Christian disciplines and one of them is meditation. Well, meditation in the Bible is meditation on the Bible, meditation on Scripture.

Richard Foster, his chapter on meditation bore an awful lot of resemblance to, I have to say occultic meditation, emptying the mind and so forth and visualizing things. What he had to say about meditation really isn't biblical. I can't remember what he said about other things because frankly, I read so many books back then.

This is 40 years ago or 30 years ago and I don't remember all the things. I guess I didn't disagree with him on much else than that because what I disagreed with stood out with me. So I would say that most Christians would find him very helpful. They'd find his book very helpful. I have to say that even though I didn't find a great deal I disagreed within it, I don't remember learning anything life changing for me, but some people I think have.

So I would just say, you say you ordered it. If you have, then I just say read it, but read it with your discernment turned on because you'll find that some things are to be biblical and some things are not. That's the most I can say about that or most books frankly. That's absolutely true. I do the same thing with your books, no offense. And you should, and you should.

Yeah, absolutely. I mean if I say something in my books and it doesn't resonate with Scripture and I don't back it up with a good exegesis of a passage or passages of Scripture, then you can just ignore it because it's not, you know, it may be true, but you can't be sure if it's not supported by Scripture. That's why I really try in my books to develop exegetical cases for what I'm saying.

It's one of the most big frustrations I have with a lot of people who, even people who agree with me on stuff, but especially on a lot of people I disagree with. They just don't really seem to exegete the Scripture much. They make assertions, and they might allude to a Scripture or two that they don't spend any time exegeting so you don't know if they're using it correctly or not. I really, I'm not saying that my exegesis is the best there is, but it's the best I can do and I'm committed to it. I'm committed to exegeting the Scripture to back up whatever I say.

I may get it wrong, but if I do, it will not be without having done some serious attempts to understand what the Bible's really saying about every Scripture I quote. Anyway, yeah, Richard Foster, you'll probably get some good things from him. I can't remember any positive thing I got from him, but that's not a criticism. I read lots of books that I don't hate, that I don't necessarily get anything special from. There's a lot of books out there.

Many people have gotten good things from Richard Foster's writings, and I would be cautious about what he says about meditation. You might find some other things in the book that I've forgotten that aren't quite fully scriptural. All right, thank you, Greg. Appreciate it. Okay, Andrew, thanks for your call. God bless you. Let's see, we're going to speak to Matt from Atlanta, Georgia, or Nate, excuse me, Nate from Atlanta, Georgia.

Nate, welcome to The Narrow Path. Thanks for calling. Hello? Hi.

Hey, this is Nick from Atlanta. I called you yesterday. Yes, go ahead. Are we talking about miracles yesterday?

Yeah, go ahead. Yeah, I heard you. I think I was talking about me. Somebody said that I didn't believe in God. I never said that. I was saying that miracles, and yeah, we're talking about miracles yesterday.

I heard this guy say he didn't go to jail. Now, why would God? You got five million children die every year that parents are praying for their recovery.

They die, but God will come down here and keep a man from going to jail. Well, let me ask you this. That just don't make any sense. Okay, let me ask you this. Is that a rhetorical question, or is that one you want an answer to? No, I'm just letting you know that that won't make any sense. No, okay. We'll keep a man from going to jail. Okay, let me ask you this. We let five million children die every year. Right, so I'm asking you.

He does nothing. Okay, I'm asking you is that rhetorical? In other words, is it just trying to make a point, or are you interested in knowing the answer to the question? That's what I'm asking you right now. If you have an answer, I'd like to hear it. Okay, okay.

I'll give you an answer. I don't know why God chooses to do miracles in some cases, not others, but the Bible does say that he responds to faith on the part of his people. If a prayer of faith by a righteous man will avail much, the Bible says. And so the Bible also says, even about Christians, it says you do not have because you do not ask. So I think there's a lot of things that God would do, interventions that God would do, that he doesn't do because he's not asked. There are no prayers of faith. The Bible indicates that God is moved by the prayers of faith from his people.

Now, he doesn't just act unilaterally, and he doesn't always answer the prayers of faith with miracles, but he can. And, you know, if there's millions of children dying, well, this is not God's fault, and God's not obligated to jump in every time somebody is dying because everybody is going to die. And, you know, they don't all die as children, but many people do. Many die in their teens or in their early adult life or midlife or at the end of their life, I mean, an old, long life. What I'm saying is that people die, and I don't know why they die when they do. And even people who call out on God at the time of death might still die if it's God's will for them to die at that time instead of another. All I can say is that all people will die, but the Bible says that not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the will of your father, and you're worth more than many sparrows.

So I have to say, if that is true, then people do not die if God wants them to survive. Now, if someone says, well, then God wanted my child to die, well, what if he did? Are you okay with that? How did you want your child to die? When did you want them to die? Well, you know, I would hope he'd live a little longer.

Why? How do you know that would be the best thing? Maybe your child would live to be a criminal. You never know.

Maybe your, you know, your child might grow up to be Adolf Hitler, God forbid, but the guy did have a mother and a father, and he was an innocent baby at one time. You just don't know. You don't know what God knows. God knows everything.

And if he says, okay, this child would be better off in heaven right now because if they grow up, they'll be corrupted by the family they're being raised in or by the culture they're raised in, or they will be, you know, they'll do something bad or they won't be saved. You know, God can do whatever he wants to. You know, you just don't have faith in God. Now, you said you believe in God, but you don't have faith in God. What I mean by that is you don't trust God. I have faith in my wife, and I don't think that means, that doesn't just mean I believe she exists. I think if you say you believe there's a God, you just believe he exists. When I say I have faith in my wife or my father or my mother or any friend of mine, my faith in them doesn't mean I believe they exist. It means I trust them.

That's what God is looking for, people who will trust him. And if you say, well, I'll trust him if he gives me a good explanation of why he did this or why he did that, well, then you don't trust him. You know, you're saying I will trust myself once I evaluate his explanations.

If they satisfy me, I'll trust my own intellect and my own rationality and my own goodness to decide what I think about the situation. But you see, faith in God is when a person has decided already that God is right. I've been wrong many times about many things. God has never been wrong about anything yet.

I have been selfish and sinful and cruel on occasion. God has never been any of those things. God loves. God is love. God loves even his enemies. God loves everyone.

Now, the fact that he knows everything, he's all wise and he loves everyone, means his decisions are going to be based on the best thing that he can see for all people concerned. And if you say, well, a child dying, that's not the best thing. Well, how do you know that?

I don't know that. I had a wife who died when she was 25 years old. That's pretty young. That's almost dying as a child. She was hit by a truck and killed. You know, I wouldn't have thought that would be the best thing. But God apparently did.

And I can't say it wasn't. I don't know what would have happened if she had lived. It was a wonderful marriage at the time.

But, you know, I don't know what would have happened. And by the way, she wanted to be with God. So she lucked out because she really was someone who loved God and was eager to see him as I am.

I actually envied her when she got to be taken earlier than me. But the truth is, we trust God. We trust that God knows what's best. And we do know, for example, in the Bible, there's a king, Hezekiah, that the prophet told him that God is going to take his life. He was already sick and dying. And the prophet said, you're going to die. Well, the man prayed to God and asked for more time. And God sent the prophet back saying, okay, he's going to give you 15 more years.

Well, that sounds like a good thing. The only thing is, though, if he had died before that 15 years, he would have died childless. But when he survived that next 15 years, three years later, he had a child. And when the king died, his child, then 12 years old, became king. It was the worst thing that ever happened to the nation.

He was the worst king there ever was. Now, when God said to Hezekiah, you're going to die, God apparently knew that that would be the best thing. Better than him living three more years and having a child is going to ruin the whole nation. Better to die now. I mean, you could die sometime. Let God decide when that's going to be. So I don't call God into question when I hear people dying, or even when my wife died. When my wife died, I didn't call God into question.

I just thought, well, I didn't think that that's not what I wanted to happen, but that's God knows what's best. I've always believed that God knows more than I do about things. And I've always wondered how anyone could doubt that God knows better. So if you say, well, why does God answer this prayer, but He doesn't answer that prayer? I think it's because God does what is best. But in some cases, even though He knows what is best, He won't do it because He's not asked.

You ask not, and therefore you do not have, the Bible says. So this man who called and said that he was praying and trusting Christ to keep him from going to prison wrongfully, well, God is interested in justice. Why shouldn't He prevent the man from going to prison wrongfully?

It's not just for a man to go to prison wrongfully. So the man was praying according to the will of God, and God answered him. But why did this person or that person, some vague number of people that we don't know who they are or what their circumstances are, why did God let them die? How can I know that? You can't know that.

I can't know that either. But why can't you just trust God? If you believe there is a God, why can't you just trust Him in the matter? It's not that. It's just a lot of things you're saying are just speculation. So you're saying that God wanted all millions of children to die every year.

That was His plan. So why were they born if they're just going to die? Well, that again, we have to say, well, God knows. But you see, I'm just speculating.

But you're not? What are you basing your ideas on? I'm basing them on Scripture. Okay, I'm basing them on the inspired Word of God, on the things that the inspired prophets said on God's behalf. Those prophets were able to tell the future, and it came true.

And they did so because God wanted us to know that they could be trusted, that they were the ones who were speaking for Him. I'm repeating the truth that they said. I'm also repeating the truth that Jesus said. Now, I happen to believe in Jesus. I happen to believe in God.

And I believe what His prophets said. That's what I'm basing on. I'm not just speculating. I'm not making this stuff up.

This is what they said. Now, what do you have to base your views on? Well, you see, the book is not reliable. I have studied the Bible, and I find it not to be reliable. Well, you have found it to not be reliable, but I have studied it.

You know, I'm really curious. How many years have you studied the Bible? Let me finish, please. No, no, no, no.

Let me finish. How many years have you studied the Bible? I mean studied it. Most of my life. Most of my life. You studied it?

Really? But I got serious about it maybe the last two years. Did you study it? Did you study it in the Greek or the Hebrew?

How did you study it? King James. Okay, well, that's not studying the Bible. That's reading the Bible. Have you ever studied the Bible?

Do you know what studying means? Yes, and I've also studied things outside of the Bible. Okay, well, so have I, and I've studied the Bible for 50 years, and I have studied it. I haven't just read it. I've studied it for 50 years. I've also studied other religions. So you say you found the Bible unreliable, but I don't really believe you ever studied it at all, and I have. And it's not unreliable. Well, why don't you give me a chance to tell you? Okay, please do.

Tell me how you studied it. Okay, you said something a minute ago about God don't make mistakes or something like that. Right. The Bible said God was sorry that he ever made me.

Right. I know that because I studied the Bible. Well, have you studied the Bible? You can make sense of that if you study the Bible. You're just taking a passage you've read. Well, he's sorry. Explain that to me. Okay, I will.

I will. The Bible, if you study it, you'll find out that in the stories of the Bible, it uses anthropomorphic expressions speaking about God, which means he reveals himself and speaks as if he was a man when you're expected to know he's not. He comes down, he speaks to Abraham.

He comes down, speaks to Adam. He comes down, speaks to Noah, and he speaks in human language. And he talks like he's a human and he talks like he has human emotions. And he does have some emotions like that.

But the point is, we find a lot of this anthropomorphic language in the Bible. It doesn't mean that it didn't really happen. If we say, okay, God acted like he was regretful about making man because he was sorry. He was sorry how things turned out. And but I mean, does that mean he made a mistake?

No, it's not a mistake. It's like it's like if my children turn out badly. Was it a mistake for me to have children?

No. There might be in the long run something really good that comes from them having come out. But if if you have a child who turns out to be bad, that doesn't mean I should never have children. You might think I shouldn't have, but it's not a it's not a logical conclusion. God didn't make a mistake when he cleared the world. But how can you say you're not, you know, you don't know everything like God. True.

I don't. You're right. So that's what you just said. Therefore, I'm therefore I am.

No, no. Therefore, I am. Therefore, I am prone to make mistakes. God is not because he knows everything. See, you're if you believe God knows everything, then you must know he didn't make any mistakes because people who know everything don't make any mistakes. I do make mistakes because I don't know everything.

And so do you. But if God knows everything, that's a that's a premise you said just now. Then you have to assume he didn't make any mistakes. And that's what I say, too.

I say God didn't make any mistakes. Listen, you know, you take up a lot of my time and I don't blame you. If I were you, I would, too, if I if the host let me. But I've got lines full of people who want to talk to me. And yesterday you occupied a lot of my time and you didn't answer my questions very well. And the questions you asked me, you didn't want answers to.

You're just raising them as rhetorical arguments. So, I mean, you can call any day you want, but I can't give you as much time as you'd like to take. I appreciate your call. Call me again and we'll talk a little more in the future.

But I've got a lot of people and I have very little time left. In fact, I could probably only take one more call. And I regret to say, let's talk to Joe from Newport Beach, California. Joe, welcome to the narrow path. Thanks for calling. Hey, Steve. Thanks for taking my call. Pretty heavy one there. Proceeding to the second day. I wanted to ask if you ever seen this happen to catch this PBS program last Sunday on called Frontline.

And the title is From Jesus to Christ. Frontline production, I guess it was originally produced in nineteen ninety eight. Maybe you ever want to watch. I don't watch PBS shows usually. They don't.

Yeah. They're not objective. OK. Well, maybe I'll call back. Well, what did they say?

What did they say? That Jesus Jesus was not really the Jesus of history was one thing. But the Christ of faith is what the church made him out to be in later generations. Is that their point?

A little bit. You know, it seemed to me that they were actually the full title is From Jesus to Christ. The early Christians. So it was a take on, you know, how the early church formed.

And since, you know, you seem very knowledgeable, obviously. Well, I do know something about how the early church formed. But you see, the title from Jesus to Christ suggests that he was at one point Jesus and not Christ. And later he was Christ and not Jesus. So that there's a difference between Jesus and Christ.

This is not the case. You know, when Jesus was born, the angels said to the shepherds, unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior who is Christ the Lord. Now, Jesus was born Christ. He was born Christ. And he was also born Jesus.

So Jesus and Christ are simply two different titles for the same person, of which there are many other titles, too. But you see, liberal unbelief about the gospels. A lot of a lot of New Testament scholars. I don't know why they entered the field of New Testament scholarship because they don't believe a word of it, but they would just suggest.

And it's a pop. It's a popular thing among liberals to suggest that Jesus never claimed to be the Christ. Jesus never claimed to be divine.

Jesus never. You know, all these stories that we read about Jesus that make about to be a godlike person. Those are fabrications that later church developed these myths about him and then wrote them in the gospels.

That's the that's the standard liberal line. It's it's absolutely unverifiable. And it's it doesn't go along with the evidence that exists.

These gospels were written within within the same generation that Jesus lived by his disciples. So, I mean, I think they knew what he said and did. Whereas a scholar living 2000 years later doesn't know all he can do is speculate. You can say, well, I think it happened this way. Yeah, well, why not believe the people who actually were there? That's my preference.

I actually prefer better sources who actually know something. Hey, you can call back about this when we have more time. I'm sorry we didn't have more time, Joe. God bless you. You've been listening to the Narrow Path radio broadcast.

We're listener supported. If you want to write to us, the address is The Narrow Path. P.O. Box 1730 Temecula, California 92593. The website, Thanks for joining us.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-12 09:33:33 / 2024-03-12 09:56:01 / 22

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