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Essential Christianity!

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble
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March 8, 2023 8:36 pm

Essential Christianity!

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble

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March 8, 2023 8:36 pm

Essential Christianity!

Steve talks to JD Greear, pastor from The Summit Church, about essential Christianity and what it means to be one.

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Wake up, everyone. It's time for The Steve Noble Show, where biblical Christianity meets the everyday issues of life in your home, at work, and even in politics. Steve is an ordinary man who believes in an extraordinary God, and on his show, there's plenty of grace and lots of truth, but no sacred cows. Call Steve now at 866-34-TRUTH. That's 866-34-TRUTH, or check him out online at

And now, here's your host, Steve Noble. All right, I'm going to go out on a limb here and just assume, I'm going to assume that you have some unbelievers in your life, or some people that might say they're spiritual, but they're not religious, or they're nominal Christians. You still have about 67, 68 percent of people in this country that will self-identify as Christian. But when you start scratching the surface of that, and if you want to go, like, old evangelism explosion, if you were to die today, do you think you'd be in heaven? Yes or no?

Why or why not? What you quickly find out is, though, most of our neighbors still, most Americans would still, if push comes to shove, identify as Christians, most of that same group do actually not know the gospel. My wife, Gina, grew up Catholic. She didn't know the gospel.

I grew up Protestant in Methodist and Presbyterian churches. I didn't know the gospel. Neither one of us actually heard the gospel in a clear way until two years into our marriage in 1994. Over the course of about eight months, God just did the miraculous and brought us to faith. And if you had asked us before that, if you were Christians, we would have said, yeah. And if you would have asked us about heaven, we would have said, yeah, I think so, or I hope so.

Whereas the Bible tells me that I can know so. Essential Christianity is the name of the book we're going to talk about today. The heart of the gospel in 10 words. If you're going to give somebody that's a nominal believer, you're not sure about their faith or they just are not a Christian yet at all, but maybe they have some interest. What book would you give them? So if you're if you're my age, I turned 57 last month, old as some dirt, then maybe more than a carpenter or the case for Christ or the case for faith, something like that.

I'm going to change that paradigm for you. I'm going to suggest that you get several copies of Essential Christianity by Pastor J.D. Greer, because those books are great, but I think they're unnecessarily cumbersome. They were also written quite a while ago. And this is a great tool for reaching unbelievers and empowering yourself to do that, as well as your own beliefs.

Are you sure that your faith is set in stone? And not only is J.D. Greer the pastor of the Summit Church, he's a friend of mine, he happens to be my pastor. Hey, buddy, how you doing? Man, I'm doing all right. Thanks for having me on there.

You're welcome. I'm sorry you're feeling a little down today, but I appreciate you still calling in and being a part of the show. So that was kind of a long setup, J.D., but in terms of writing this one, The Heart of the Gospel in Ten Words, and then diving really into the Book of Romans, what kind of got this one on the front burner for you, writing Essential Christianity? Well, I had two things based on your introduction. Number one was, I cannot believe you're 57 years old. I'm hoping I look half as good as you when I'm 57.

Oh, keep talking, baby. Second is, I really thought you summarized the trajectory of the book, like, really well, because it was originally written as a help for people in our church just to share the gospel, knowing that, you know, there are a lot of people that are asking very intelligent questions, and you mentioned some really incredible books earlier, just that served a previous generation. One of the ones I used to give out was called Basic Christianity by John R. Stott, and it was so helpful for me when I read it as a believer in college, and I gave it probably to a dozen people over the next 10 or 15 years, and I thought, man, that book was fantastic.

Mere Christianity is fantastic. I'm not putting my book in the league with those, of course, but I just thought, you know, it's something that really kind of addresses people where they are, what the questions they are. And what was fascinating to me is, when I was preaching through the book of Romans, I sort of just kept a notepad style of, like, what are the major logic points that Paul is using in Romans? And then looked at it when I was done and thought, you know, I think those major logic points are the same in every culture in every, you know, time period, and I thought, what would it look like to use those logic points to then, you know, present the essence of Christianity to our generation? And so it's basically thinking the oldest gospel, you know, book in the world, which is the little Romans, and saying, let's kind of rethink that now, not everything logic of Romans, but let's, let's re-express it in 21st century terms.

So that's maybe a short mid answer. Yeah, I think that for a lot of people, a lot of believers, the one book that a lot of us would not send somebody into, and we always start, hey, but read the book of John, you got saved, you become a Christian, you're born again, read the book of John. And we would say, yeah, wait till you're at like maybe college level before you dive into Romans. But Romans actually, and you bring this up in the book, we're talking to Pastor JD Greer about essential Christianity, Romans, which actually, you talk about this in the book, JD, is actually kind of deals with these major issues that most people have when they're contemplating Christianity. And for us as believers, it does shore up the base, but a lot of people are just afraid of the book of Romans.

Yeah, no, you're right. Well, you'll see this in the front cover of the book. And I think it's what you're referring to is, you know, like, just listen to, here's the questions Paul deals with systematically in Romans. Because, you know, many people have pointed out that Paul's logic there just, it's pretty, he kind of just builds a case.

In fact, you know, for the first hundred or so years of Harvard Law School, I used to use Romans as an example of how to build a case, anticipate objections and questions and answer it. And so he starts with questions like, how do you know there's a God? And then, you know, if there is a God, and there's evidence for him, and you can know there's a God, why doesn't everybody believe in it? Why doesn't everybody understand it? You know, once he gets through that, then he turns to the question of, well, if there's a God, and we can know that he's there, how do we please him?

And why aren't all religions basically the same? And so then he uses that to set up the gospel. Then he asks, like, what is saving faith?

And how do you know that you have it? Is Jesus really the only way? Why would you say there's only one way to heaven? Then he even covers things like, if Christianity is true, why is it so difficult? You know, what, so there's, you just find that there's incredible questions. Those Romans is so dense theologically, I understand why it can be a little intimidating, just hand somebody that. You know, it's Scripture, it's good for all of us, but what I thought is maybe if you could take some of those questions and show how contemporary people wrestle with them, that maybe that would be a help. You know, one of the things that I'll mention here, and I know we've got to go to break here in a second, but is, one of the things that's fascinating, Steve, is that you've got two things growing simultaneously in our culture.

One is you have a growing interest in spirituality, religion, belief in God. You know, all the prophets of yesteryear were wrong. They were saying that with the growth of science and technology, you know, John Lennon famously said, you know, like, hey, nobody's even going to discuss this in 50 years. Well, somebody forgot to tell the millennials in Gen Z, you know, because they're more spiritual than that.

But simultaneous with that, simultaneous with that, is a growth in an anti-institutional. That's right. Hold that thought.

Yeah. Hold that thought, J.D. We'll be right back talking to J.D. Greer, Essential Christianity. Don't go anywhere.

Welcome back at Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show, the coolest bump music in all on Christian radio. There's no doubt about that. It's a hands down. Don't even have to play around with that one. Don't have to ask the question.

It's just an undeniable fact. All right. The 10 the 10 words that we're talking about, Essential Christianity, the new book by Pastor J.D. Greer, the Summit Church here in the Raleigh-Durham area, the heart of the gospel in 10 words. What 10 words? And this is all working through the Book of Romans. Announcement, undeniable, refusal, religion, rescue, faith, inclusion. Before you get triggered. Chapter seven, inclusion is deals with basically aren't all religions essentially the same. All right.

So end your little trigger there with the word inclusion. Number eight, struggle. Number nine, spirit. And number 10, therefore or essentially.

Now what? When you go through all of this, this is a great tool for those of us that are believers already in terms of really kind of sharpening yourself to be ready to do. These are these are this book deals really well and very simply straightforward right out of the text, right out of Romans with the biggest questions, the biggest concerns, the biggest areas of attack, quite frankly, that people will take when they're going anti-Christian. But there's a lot of people out there and J.D., you were talking about this is a lot of people out there that are interested in spiritual things. Most people describe themselves as spiritual. And even though in this country, as you know, J.D., we've got about 20 percent of our fellow citizens will identify as nuns. That doesn't mean they're atheists. That just means they're not comfortable identifying with specific religion or a specific denomination. But there's a lot of spiritual people and worldwide, I was just talking about this on the break, worldwide, atheism is actually shrinking.

So it would appear that Darwinian evolution is selecting them out. But that's what you were talking about before the break is that we've got a lot of people that are actually interested in spiritual things. That might be a shock to a lot of believers out there. Yeah.

Yeah. That that number of nuns is not growing nearly the way it was predicted to grow. And that's because there's something incessantly religious, to lack of better terms, in the heart of all humanity and every culture. And what you've got simultaneous with that is this, you know, with this growth in spirituality is you've got an anti-institutionalism, especially in Western societies, particularly here in the United States. And that's given birth to a movement called deconstruction, where now you're in, you know, question all the things that you've learned in, you know, whatever power structures you grew up in, because these, you know, parroting people like Mikhail Foucault and some of the philosophers of postmodernity, they're basically saying all these truth claims are really ways of maintaining power.

And it's people who use religion to be able to maintain the status quo and keep themselves in power. And so, you know, one of the things that I do as a pastor in a very secular area, the Raleigh-Durham area with UNC Chapel Hill and Duke and NC State is, is I want to say, I'm not anti-institutional. I mean, I'm part of the local church, but I want to be able to say, hey, what is the essence of Christianity? Maybe you've been hurt by the church. Maybe you've been confused. Maybe you have seen religion used harmfully.

Maybe you've seen it used to justify things like slavery or bigotry or, you know, some kind of abusive thing. Is there a way to get to the essence of Christianity behind those things in a way that Jesus is just as real and relevant? Because Jesus was very, you know, the religious institutions of his, they weren't a big fan of him either. No, they were not a big fan. And to say they were anti-Jesus is an understatement.

That's why they had to kill him. But, you know, like in chapter two, when you talk about undeniable, how do we even know there is a God? The one thing, you and I have never talked about this personally, but I would just want to float this out there. When I hear people say I'm an atheist or I don't believe in God, I always refer back to what you're focusing on here in essential Christianity, which is the book of Romans and particularly chapter one. And I actually believe there's no such thing as an atheist. God's the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

Everybody knows he's there. And it's just a matter of what you do with the reality that he's made plain to reference what Romans one says. And so how do we deal with that with people? I think that intimidates a lot of people that, oh, somebody's an atheist and they don't believe in God as if we have to prove it. You said this in the book, fingerprints rather than proof. So help us out with that one.

Yeah. So Romans gives you a little bit of a cheat sheet, Steve, because it shows you that people are naturally wired to believe in God because God just, he created them that way. They know that it's there. And the word that Paul uses to explain why there are atheists per se is he uses the word suppression. We suppress the truth. Suppression is different than ignorance. Ignorance means you don't know it. You know, suppression means you know it and you're keeping it down. Now I want to be clear. There are people who have genuinely convinced themselves they are atheists.

Sure. But Paul would say that is because you did not want to know the truth. And so you, you, you knew, but you didn't know because you didn't want to know. And Paul is going to, you know, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit identify that the reasons for that is because of a heart problem and that ultimately you've got to deal with your heart before your head's going to know the truth. If there's any good thing that comes out of postmodern philosophy, it's this awareness that's what the head understands is what the heart wants the head to understand. And so, you know, postmodern philosophers patted themselves on the back when they arrived at that conclusion and they, you can see Paul sitting around, you know, 2000 years ago going, guys, what took you so long to get here?

I've been saying that the whole time. And so what Romans does is it focuses the gospel laser where it needs to be, which is not just on the head, but it also is going to say, does your heart, does it want to know God? So I go into conversations and this is, I think helpful if you're talking with somebody, I don't go in triumphantly or arrogantly or condescendingly, you know, Oh, you really believe what I believe? I just, but I'm aware that there is a heavenly father who's speaking to them and they have been resisting it.

And I'd say, Hey, you know, it's, you, you you've heard him, you know, he's there and open your heart to with humility to what he might be saying to you. Yeah. And that's, and that's where, you know, part of this is kind of affects our approach towards the unbeliever. And part of it is above the water. They want to use an iceberg analogy.

Part of it's above the water. That's the part of the conversation you're going to have with them and bring things up. And, and, but it's so important to understand who you're dealing with. You, you said a minute ago, it's not necessarily a head problem.

It's a heart problem. You don't want Christianity to be true because Christianity brings with it from a secular un-regenerate perspective, a lot of baggage, an undeniable and non-changing moral law. God is the ultimate tattle tale. Nobody likes a tattle tale. I was just talking to students in one of my classes today about it. I'm like, who likes a tattle tale?

Nobody. Yeah, because you don't want to be held accountable. So I think it's important for us to understand what people are dealing with and to remember that at the root, it's a heart problem, it's not a head problem. I think we sometimes overplay, well, I gotta be able to convince them. I gotta have the right apologetic.

It really is always a heart problem, isn't it? Right. Which is why the spirit of God is essential in giving sight. You know, one of the, one of the things that I'm, is a relief to me is I cannot, I'm unable to convince somebody the truth about who God is. And I know that doesn't sound like it'd be a relief, but it is because it, it means that yes, I give reasons. I try to show the reasonableness of, of, of what I believe, but, and what the Bible teaches.

But at the end of the day, it's not because of my superior logic. If somebody comes to an awareness, it's because God enlightens their heart. And the gospel is the tool that he uses to bring light to their heart. One of my good friends, who's one of the most effective, um, you know, shares Christ and brings people to faith. If anybody I've ever known, he said, really, what makes an effective evangelist, so to speak, is he says, is you have two convictions. One is that salvation belongs to God, that only he can illuminate the human heart. And the other conviction is that faith comes only by hearing and hearing about the word of God. And so then I, then I understand that my role is to get the word out there and let the word of God do the work.

Yeah, we get a pretty good deal. We get eternal rewards for being faithful. We leave the results up to God. Talking to Pastor J.D. Greer about essential Christianity.

The links are up on Facebook. We'll be right back. Welcome back at Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show talking with my good friend and happens to be my pastor as well, J.D.

Greer. The Summit Church here in the Raleigh-Durham area. Essential Christianity is the new book that J.D. wrote, The Heart of the Gospel in Ten Words, which is really a great kind of a primer for us.

If you're a believer, if you're a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, then engaging the people around you. And hopefully we all know some unbelievers. If you don't know any unbelievers, you're doing it wrong. OK, you got to know some unbelievers.

You got to engage the culture around you. And in the book of Romans, you really go through all the essentials of Christianity, which is you're going to have to work through that, whether somebody's coming to faith or they're a brand new Christian. There's so much in here that would shore up your own faith, re-establish that your faith is actually set down on the rock of Jesus Christ by reading through Romans. And you don't have to go all that deep and to get all of this out of it.

And so there's ten words here all out of the book of Romans, Essential Christianity, Announcement, Undeniable, Refusal, Religion or cross that out, religion, Rescue, which we're going to talk about here in a second, Faith, Inclusion, don't get triggered, Struggle, Spirit and Therefore. And it's just great to have J.D. back on the show. It's been a long time, but I appreciate you being here, buddy. Thanks so much. Yeah, thank you for having me, Steve.

You're welcome. OK, so let's deal with this one. And by the way, everybody, this is a great book, again, like I said, for yourself or this is one I just ordered five copies earlier today because there's a bunch of people that I want to give this to that are somewhere on the path, I hope, and pray towards faith. And sometimes anybody but you, anybody but me, that's why a book like Essential Christianity can be very helpful because it's not so uncomfortable. You give it to them, they read it, you follow up and talk about it later. But I'll also help you shore up your own understanding of these really important issues.

But this one goes back for me. Chapter five, J.D. and Rescue. Why do Christians talk about being saved?

And air quotes there. Back in 1994, Gene and I have been married for two years and God just took about eight months to bring both of us to faith. We're not actually sure who got saved first. But I do remember being at some guy's house and the house painting company I worked for back in Columbus, Ohio. We're walking around the house and God just orchestrates these conversations and things come up. And I remember this guy who had to be a Southern Baptist or an independent Baptist.

I didn't know it at the time. But he was like, you know, Steve, you can give your life to the Lord right here on the side of my house. You can be saved today. And I'm like, saved from what? And that went for the culture today, J.D., if we talk about, hey, are you saved? You're not necessarily going to understand that.

That's right. Yeah, I get the image, Steve, when I use the word saved and I use it without apology, but I get the image of some, you know, Baptist preacher in a too small suit, you know, with his eyes popping out of his head and names and veins in his neck. And, you know, just honestly, it feels a little uneducated. And I talk about this in the book. I've searched for a different word to use, you know, like, well, what would give the same thing?

But, you know, I mean, enhanced, reformed. None of those words really, really capture what God actually did when when we talk about the gospel. I mean, the gospel is an announcement.

It's not good, not good advice. It's good news. It's the the announcement, not that you need to go and do something amazing for God, but it's the announcement that God has done something for you that you've got to receive. You know, the word gospel, interestingly enough, is wasn't originally a religious word.

Now it's almost exclusively religious. But back when it was first used, it was often used when a general, a Greek general had won a battle. He would send a gospel or a gospel carrier out into the countryside to say, Hey, good news, General so and so won a battle.

He wasn't, you know, asking you to come and help. He was saying, respond with joy, be joyful over this general's battle, give him glory and thanks for the battle he won for you. On the other hand, you know, if he'd lost the battle, you'd send out a different, you know, message, which was a bad news, you know, like, you need to get ready to fight because because this general lost the battle and here comes the invading army. Well, the our gospel writers, the Bible gospel writers chose that word to say, that's what God has done.

God has won a battle on our behalf, and he's calling us to respond, not with, you know, fervent religious actions, so that we can we can save ourselves, but he's calling us to respond with joy and to receive what's been done for us. So at the end of the day, I don't have a better word. And so I just stick with the word saved.

And I'll say sorry to sound like a, you know, Southern Baptist redneck, but that's the word. That's the word we got to use. Yeah, because you got to deal with what it's only good news if it deals with bad news. And that's where the moral law and judgment and yes, he double hockey sticks comes into play. And and to avoid that is to avoid the essential truth in the teachings of Scripture. Now there is a time and a place for it. I'm not going to start with hell in a conversation with an unbeliever, but sometimes you don't have much time.

Like if you're on an airplane, we'll talk about Berta later. But and this goes into this other part of the chapter six, which I texted you about this and asked you if you just read bizarre Supreme Court cases in your spare time. But this was really interesting to me, this case, the Supreme Court case, really bizarre United States versus Wilson in 1833, a guy, George Wilson, pled guilty to several counts of robbery and endangering the life of a male driver. He was let off. He was actually burdened by the president, but he refused to take that. So Andrew Jackson pardoned him.

So help us understand that just in terms of the gospel that I thought that was a great illustration for understanding what's going on here between being saved and faith in general. Yeah, well, so it left the warden in a dilemma because he's got a pardon from the president and a prisoner who refuses to receive it. And so he says to the guy, I can't, George George Wilson, I can't execute you. And George Wilson fought it in court. That has to be the most bizarre thing that's ever happened in the U S court system where guys go into court fighting so that he has to be executed. And the United States Supreme Court in 1833 rescinded this judgment. They said a pardon is only good if it's received. It's a contract. And in order for a contract to be accepted, both parties have to have to ratify it. And so George Wilson was hung in 1833.

And when I heard about that, I just thought, man, what an incredible picture. I don't know if the Supreme court justices were thinking about the gospel or not, but according to, according to Romans, according to the new Testament, Jesus has already done everything necessary to pay for your sins. They literally, the words on the cross, where it is finished, nothing else needs to be done. He has purchased your salvation. But if you don't receive that, if you don't make that your own, then to say it sort of bluntly, the tragedy is you will die and go to hell with your sins paid for with a pardon sitting on the warden's desk. But right.

Yeah. Cause that that's the beautiful thing as opposed to somebody that claims atheism is, is I know that there's ultimate justice. Every account will be settled. Every sin will be paid for.

The only question is who's going to pay it. You refuse that part. You pay it for yourself forever in hell, or you accept that Jesus paid it on your behalf, which is awesome. And generally for me, JD, over the years talking to people that are nominal believers, unbelievers, people that go to church that aren't believers, one of the, one of the ways that I've always noticed that, that it gives me great hope if I'm talking to them about gospel things, whether it takes a couple of days or a couple of weeks, whatever the case, when you start talking about the gospel and you start talking about forgiveness and we read in the scriptures that the kindness of God leads people to repentance, you start to, once, once you know that the Holy Spirit's dealing with them with respect to conviction of sin, this is exactly what happened to me. And then I'm like, I know I'm guilty of all this. I know I'm not nearly the good person I thought I was. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty much dung and, and God loves me anyway. And he did that for me anyway. I mean, I don't understand that level of love. I still don't, but that's that kindness of God. And that's when that starts to touch a person's heart.

The head has nothing to do with it at that point, which is awesome. Let's, let's jump to this one inclusion, which I cracked a couple of jokes because people will get triggered by that word. This is a big, this is a big challenge for people because inclusion basically deals with one of the biggest challenges of Christianity in this culture is the, is exclusivity. Are you telling me JD that all these other religions and billions of people, just because they don't agree with you, they're all wrong. They're all condemned. They're all going to hell. The exclusivity of Christ, uh, can be a real stumbling block.

Yeah. You refer to them to go to a, uh, a young lady named, but you get, she said Berta, but she rolled the R, but she was, I was on a flight with her and basically we had had this conversation and this was years ago, but, um, you know, where she really was, uh, genuinely attracted to the gospel. She, uh, was impressed with what it had done in my life, how to transform me and seemed pretty open to it. But when we got to the point, you know, the part where Jesus says, I am the way, the truth and the life, nobody comes to the father excepted me.

She went through this, I mean, I've never seen somebody visibly changed that fast, you know, where she went from like, how on earth could you possibly think that this is the only way, what a backwards thing to believe. And I, you know, try to explain to her like, look, this is not, you know, I'm just a mailman here. I'm not the, I didn't come up with this and I compared it to, uh, I compared it to our flight was about the land. And I said, you know, I really am. I'm glad that the pilot of this airplane doesn't look like, doesn't look at the runway the same way that you do heaven.

She's like, what do you mean? I said, well, let's just say that the, you know, the, uh, the pilot comes on the intercom and says, Hey, I've decided we're not gonna, uh, we're not gonna land on that little narrow, arrogant strip that, uh, they call the runway. We're gonna, we're gonna be open-minded and, you know, choose our own way into the, I was like, we all die. I mean, the point is that the airport chooses the way we get, uh, uh, onto the, onto the ground one, the same way God chooses God chooses the way we get to his house, to his kingdom, which is, you know, heaven. And so that way is Jesus.

And, and, and it really is, there's no other way to be saved. Um, yes, that is an exclusive message. But what I try to show in that chapter is that all, all religions end up being exclusive because if you say, well, good people of every religion will make it to heaven. Well, who defines what's good? I'm guessing you do.

And I'm guessing, you know, sexual abusers and, um, you know, people who, uh, you know, litter, I'm guessing they're not on the, on your list of good people. Um, but, uh, you, you, if you say that, that, that all religions are exclusive, hold that thought, hold that thought, rub against the brake. We're going to pick it up right there.

Hold that thought. Welcome back. It's Steve noble, the Steve noble show talking to my friend, pastor JD Greer today from the summit church here in Raleigh, Durham, uh, and area around there.

A lot of different campuses, a lot going on there. Essential Christianity is the name of the book, the heart of the gospel in 10 words. What are those words, Steve?

I'm glad you asked this all out of the book of Romans announcement, undeniable refusal, religion, rescue, faith, inclusion, struggle, spirit, and therefore essentially now what, but we were talking, uh, JD, before I so rudely cut you off at the knees that about the exclusivity of Jesus. And that's something that can cause some, uh, awkward moments out there. So I wanted to give you a chance to finish your thought on that.

Yeah. Well, I, I thought you were supposed to give only seven of the 10 words to leave them, you know, in suspense to go by the book, but, um, inclusion is what we were talking about. And basically the idea is once you understand that all religious claims are exclusive, what you discover is that the gospel is the most, and I'll use, I'll borrow some words here from Tim Keller, is the most inclusive exclusivity there is because what the gospel teaches is that what makes us included before God is not our ethnicity. It's not, you know, how educated we are. It's not how good we are.

Uh, it is solely a gift that God has provided to all people that we just received by faith as a gift. And instead of producing the arrogance that usually goes along with exclusivity, I mean, if, if I think that who gets to heaven is all the good people, then, you know, I think I'm one of the good people that makes me proud. I'm better than all of you people. That's why I'm going to go to heaven. That's that leads to arrogance. If I think it's the smart people that succeed in life, and that makes me arrogant because I, I think I'm one of the smart ones, but if I realize that what makes me, um, what qualifies me for heaven, what makes me God's child is a gift of grace that he has given, then that leads not to pride. It leads to humility. And instead of self exaltation, it leads you to pour yourself out for others as Jesus poured himself out for you.

Yeah. Our mutual friend, Greg Laurie, I heard him talk about this at a crusade years ago. I was wondering where he was going with it, with this topic of exclusivity. And he goes, Hey, this might surprise some of you, especially if you're a Christian, but I actually, a lot of people like to say that all roads lead to God.

I actually agree with that. All roads do lead to God, except only one road leads to heaven. And we know that's because the scripture teaches us this. It's it's, uh, the deal is we all die once and you face the judgment. Every single person, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Christian, atheist, agnostic, I don't care who you are, when you were alive, every single person is going to face God. So in that way, all roads do lead to God, but only one road leads to heaven that goes through Christ.

And so that I found that in conversations, uh, at least puts a little pebble into their shoe and they go, I never really thought of it that way. Okay, cool. To me, that to me, that's a win. And we can keep moving ahead there. You mentioned this right at the beginning of the show. And again, we're talking to Pastor J.D. Greer, Essential Christianity.

I've got the links up on Facebook, so you guys can go get it for yourself. Like I said, I bought five copies earlier today because there's people that I want to give this to that are, I would, I think are not believers yet and have some interest. This is, this is a third person in the conversation. Okay. That gets the pressure off of you.

It's not so personal. And then it's, it's, you know, it's a great book and really all these things are essential to faith, which is thus the title, Essential Christianity. So it's a great tool for that. Plus for yourself, just in getting, shoring up your ability to share these essential truths of Christianity to maybe nominal or new believers or certainly unbelievers. And like I said before, hopefully, you know, some there's, there's a lot of Christians I know that really spend no time with unbelievers whatsoever. It's hard for me because of what I do. And you have to go out of your way to do it. And, but it's so important. But you mentioned this earlier at the beginning of the show, J.D., a lot, a lot of people are spiritual, but they're not necessarily religious. So how do we kind of deal with that one? I actually think that's a great thing.

Yeah, me too. Cause especially when you consider that religion was one of the two big enemies of Jesus, you know, it was the secular establishment, um, the Hollywood and the New York times, you know, they were one side of the, of the people who resented Jesus, but the other side was the religious institution. Cause religion is basically, um, I'm good enough. Therefore God accepts me. And that leads to pride.

It leads to the unhealthy versions of exclusion, at least the self-sufficiency, smugness, violence, and all those things. And, um, what Jesus shows is something different because, because the gospel, and this is what Paul explains in Romans, is the gospel is not about what you do to be accepted by God, but receiving what, what God has done. I've heard it said like this, every religion of the world operates off the premise. I obey, therefore I will be accepted. But the gospel flips that. It says you are accepted, therefore in response to that, you obey. And that leads to the most profound difference in how you live. One leads to pride and insecurity. Um, the other leads to grace, humility, and love. And the gospel is something absolutely different from every other religious passage of the world.

Yeah. And amen for that. So at the end, when we kind of get to the now, what, and, and you mentioned Romans 12, one, which starts, I appeal to you therefore brothers by the mercies of God. And so that's where we have to, do we have to land the plane JD and our conversations with unbelievers and actually get to the point where we ask them to make a decision. And then if we do, uh, some people bristle whenever you say the Lord's prayer, the Lord. So help us to understand that because people will go, Oh, you know, those are just words. That's just something somebody made up. That's actually not scriptural. You can't find the Lord's prayer in the Bible anywhere. Uh, they're kind of missing the point, but help us to land the plane. Then I have one other question for you after that.

Yeah. Well, I'm assuming you mean the sinner's prayer, which is basically where you, you, you, you profess your faith in Christ. And it's true. I mean, you know, there's no like prescribed words of prayer of that kind, but, but, but what God is offering you as a gift that he wants you to receive the word belief that Paul uses in Romans means to lean your weight on and often compare to sitting down in the chair. And you know, when you sit down in a chair, it's like you're transferring your weight from your legs onto the chair. That that's, that's what you're doing with Jesus is you're transferring your hopes of heaven from your own ability to get yourself there to him. Um, it's very natural to express that in a prayer. And absolutely when I'm presenting this to somebody, if you haven't presented the decision point, if you have a call for response, you haven't fully preached the gospel. And so we end, we end with invitation.

And then the therefore is now that you've received Christ, what's your life supposed to look like from this point on? And that's where Paul turns to in the last after Romans. Yeah, which is so strong, but that that's a great reminder for all of us. You can, uh, I actually don't like the quote that's attributed to Francis of Assisi that, you know, at all times preach the gospel when absolutely necessary use words.

I'm like, no, that's actually not biblical faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God. Yeah. It's like saying, Steve, tell me your phone number, but just don't use digits, you know? Right. Yeah.

That's not going to go so well. So that's where, uh, what's your hope? Uh, just JD in terms of you've heard me several times during the show, talk about how I think we can use the central Christianity, the book we're talking about today that JD wrote the heart of the gospel in 10 words.

How would you like to see people use it? There's twofold. I mentioned John's thought at the beginning. I read that when I was, you know, a young, young, young adult, and it was, I incredibly profound for me, just helping me master the basics of, of salvation. It's, you know, it was more than a gospel tract. It was like a meaty gospel tract, but it was still accessible.

And then I gave it away to people that I was sharing Christ with. Um, this, what I wrote essential Christianity is using Paul's logic line in Romans it's written for the unbeliever. But I think the believer yourself as you're going through it will find your own faith clarified as you master some of these concepts of the gospel. But hopefully, you know, I believe written in a way that you could put in the hands of somebody who is very unfamiliar with Christianity and they can get the essence of the gospel. I had one of my good friends, a new friend, um, professor, uh, UNC, who was not a believer at the time we started read along with me as I was writing. And she just said, you know, it is amazing how the fundamental questions of human existence haven't changed in 2000 years. And the course of this book, she became a believer, baptized at our church. And I hope that is how this gets used, um, wherever, wherever people get it.

Yeah. And the only power that you can find in this book, no disrespect to you, JD, isn't innocent in your prose or your ability to write or your research. The only power found in this book or any other book is the word of God. And it works because it's based on the word of God and it gets into Romans. Side question, what'd you think of Jesus revolution?

Man, I loved it. I, you know, when you say the words Christian movie, people hear that root canal, let's just be honest. But, um, you know, it just, it's, it, it, it, whether you're a believer or not, it tells a compelling story. As a believer, I was multiple times moved to tears just thinking about how God poured himself out on a very unlikely group.

This bunch of hippies that, that ultimately shaped how you and I see today do church. And it made me hungry to say, God, do it again. So if you haven't seen it, go see it. You won't be sorry.

Yeah. That was the thing when Gina and I watched the trailer a long time ago, it's probably, I don't know, October or something. And I watched it first and immediately the next night, I'm like, okay, you have to come watch this movie. And we watched it and we were both moved to tears. Like you were several times.

It made us both revisit our own salvation, especially the baptism scenes. But the other question that Gina brought up at the end of it was, you know, who are the hippies today? Who are the people out there that assume that they're not welcome at the church, that us Christians would have no interest in talking to them, that they're so disgusting to us that we wouldn't bother? So let me ask you that question, got about a minute left. Who do you think in 2023, in this culture in America, who do you think the hippies are today that would assume that we have no interest in them?

Man? Well, that's a great question. I mean, certainly you've got the hostility that exists with the LGBT community. We cannot have, you know, we cannot communicate to that community that their sin is okay. But I do think what we see is not just preaching truth, but as the intro to your show says the grace and truth, you know, showing that, that there's something that's one, I think the ability of different races to get along together. And that I think that's, that's one. I think some of the, you know, the, the people who've been scarred by past sin, like the bad ones that are disqualifying, when we show that, that, that they're, that God extends grace to all of us.

I think that's a, that'd be a powerful testimony. That's a great question by Gina. Yeah, that's a great question.

And then I always turn it around when we did some screenings, I said, all right, here's the other question. Who's the hippie in your life? Who have you written off?

Who do you not want to deal with? And so you won't even share the gospel with them. Powerful questions for all of us. That's why central Christianity is such a helpful tool. The heart of the gospel in 10 words by Pastor J.D.

Greer. Central Christianity, you can grab it on Amazon. You can find it all over the place.

I put the links up already today. So check that out. It's great encouragement for yourself, short for your own faith.

But especially I think it's effective in helping reach people that don't understand what we know is essential. Pastor, great having you on buddy. I appreciate it. Thanks so much. Thank you, Steve. Love your show, man. Appreciate what you do. You're welcome. Thanks, pal. We'll talk later. This is Steve Noble on The Steve Noble Show. God willing, we'll talk to you again real soon. And like my dad always used to say, ever forward.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-11 18:35:16 / 2023-03-11 18:53:28 / 18

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