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November 1, 2019 1:00 am
I was in my 20s and I went into the office of one of my dear professors who's is XTs and I said to him you know it, it must be wonderful to be an older man and he got a laugh and a lab slip and not have the struggle with things like the lost or or the fleshly temptations and he looked at me and I'll never forget it. He said Stephen the older I get, the more difficult it becomes today instead of bringing you one of our normal Bible lessons. Stephen takes the time to answer some questions that he's received from listeners were going to do that today. I'll come back in a few moments and give you the number that you can call if you have a question about the Bible that you'd like Stephen to answer.
But let's get started with this question from one way to linger happening in our history. Thank you Kate for calling that question Stephen, you've probably been asked this before thought about this before, people in heaven looking down on earth. Scott is a good question and there are some passages that give the impression that there's a grandstand there in heaven and people are looking over the banister, and of watching us. I personally think they got better things to do, namely worshiping the Lord. But there is the text in Hebrews 12 verse one that talks about the great cloud of witnesses that were surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses, as we run a race. I think the great cloud of witnesses is the testimony of these Old Testament saints who demonstrated faith and following the Lord and and were surrounded by their testimony, and sunlight of their testimony.
Let's be faithful in our race of faith as well and all the means that Ian Aiken know and Abraham are watching us again II think that they would prefer to do something else in God hasn't made them are chaperones through life nor some sort of special blessing to us.
If we can somehow become aware or tap into the power of the present that begins to become mysticism and animism, and in all sorts of strange views and beliefs in spirit power so those witnesses are not witnesses of us is much as they are witnesses for us yet. That's wonderful well put Scott. There's another Texan be Luke 16 where the man in Hades is aware of his brother's unbelief. And he wants Abraham to send someone to testify to them were not told there that that man knows what his brothers are doing.
He's just aware because of his memory that will certainly have when we die and were given our bodies and our spirits live in either a place of torment or with the Lord as believers, but that text is simply saying that he is aware that his brothers don't believe any wished there was a testimony given to them.
And in Luke 15 that talks about angels rejoicing over one sinner who comes to repentance. Now that's a little different.
I I think there is a celebration there seems to be awareness and the angels are messengers, their servants of the Lord, so there seems to be some sort of communication are system where there aware and I think of their rejoicing. I believe that the saints in heaven are probably given some kind of information and they'll be certainly rejoicing as well. Just keep in mind that there are people coming to faith in Christ.
Every second. So without like okay we have a party at 2 o'clock for that guy got saved 230 were gonna rejoice.
I think it implies something differently than we might initially perceive Revelation is probably one of the more significant text and and that's the text in Revelation chapter 6 where it talks about the martyrs praying before the throne of God asking him when will he send vindication for their death. So there seems to be a sense there that they know that that vindication hasn't occurred there, aware of what God is doing as a relates to planet Earth, and this prophetic timetable where God will eventually destroy these armies and triumph in the kingdom.
So all that to say Scott that there's usually some communication and they seem to be aware of what God is doing.
The angels certainly are where people are coming to faith, but that doesn't mean that all of our relatives up there are watching us, that's a leap that the Scriptures does not reinforce Ari. Thank you Steven and thank you so much Kay for taking the time to call in your question, I hope that that was helpful and we were really glad to hear from you friends if you ever have a question about the Bible or faith that you would like Stephen to answer. We have a special number that you can call to record your question.
If you'll dial 910-808-9384. Now, you do need to understand that we don't answer that number and you're not going to receive a call back if you leave a question at that number. It's simply an opportunity for you to call and leave your question on a recording for us to play on a future broadcast and Stephen will answer it again that's 910-808-9384 Stephen is your answering case question.
You took us to Revelation.
We had a caller with another question from Revelation and Daniel along question about witnesses found in the book of Revelation that will kill the two witnesses basically like that of glory, great old and New Testament that was rejected when HO got a reason over the word of God.
Thanks so much Danny for calling and with that question, Stephen. I've never really thought about that or heard that before these two witnesses in Revelation, are they literal matter, are they an allegory for something else very good question. Then Danny whenever you read the book of Revelation and friends eat understand we take the Bible literally and when you interpret the Bible literally. What that means is you literally interpret a metaphor as a metaphor.
You literally interpret a simile is a symbol you literally interpret something parabolic or parable is a parable as you as you interpret Scripture. You literally interpret those genres and figures of speech as their intended. So when you come to Revelation chapter 11. The question is, is this a metaphor is this an analogy could this possibly represent something else and it's a good question to ask.
I think when you read the text you find that he speaking of them as literal men.
In fact several times.
It talks about their testimony in the war against them that I could relate to the new and Old Testament, but there killed verse eight says, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city, those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for 3 1/2 days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate. That is are going to have a real big party because her dad and ASN gifts to each other's like Christmas time because these two witnesses have been killed. Why, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. After 3 1/2 days the breath of life from God will come into them and they will stand on their feet and others are going to come back to life. This cannot then relate to the old and New Testament. This has to be literal men, literal bodies, literal death and literal resurrection.
Thank you Stephen, thanks a lot Danny for calling and with that question. I hope that you found that helpful friends. The number that you can use to call us is 910-808-9384 and we would love it if you had a Bible question that you would like us to answer just leave it there and we will answer it on a future broadcast, here's another one Georgia addicted to the freaking pornography drugs or pleasures of the flesh will God still send them to hell, even though they're constantly fighting the addiction and they don't want to be a part of it. Do they have to overcome the addiction. In order for God to save thank you will, Vincent. Thank you so much for calling. I don't know if you're calling in reference to a personal struggle or maybe for someone a friend in your lifeboat want to be as helpful as we can. Stephen and this is more than a yes no answer really help Vincent with this, yes, and I think this is a question that every believer has frankly and I think it's an excellent question. Thank you so much Vincent will first of all let lessee with a little vocabulary I struggle with the word addiction addiction, has the concept or it can can convey and I don't know this is your attitude or overview of events and I'm not saying it is but it has the idea that hey I get this disease in Kelly, MS, and I'm gonna struggle with it is just part of my life were not addicted to sin in the same way that we might be addicted to muscular dystrophy as a personal disease. We happen to be sinners were sinners and Paul says, in fact, we are bound to this body of death. We have a sinful nature and our sinful nature is always going to want to sin. So let's make sure the we we don't couch it in terminology that might excuse it, or say well you know this is just my personal problem and there's really nothing I can do about it when people talk about being addicted to sin. Oftentimes, at least in my ministry, they they use it in the context of being unable to fight it or unable to have victory over it or maybe even unwilling to fight it. So with that said, let's talk about the issue of sin in a believer's life in general. As we mature in Christ.
As you grow in Christ. Keep in mind the battle with sin does not get easier it becomes more difficult. I remember as a young man in seminary prepare for the ministry I was in my 20s and I went into the office of one of my dear professors, who is in his 60s and I said to him you know it, it must be wonderful to be an older man and he kind of laughed and elastically them and not have the struggle with things like a lost or or the fleshly temptations and he looked at me and I'll never forget it.
He said Stephen the older I get, the more difficult it becomes and it was a great lesson for me as a young man I think we as older men need to present a biblical realistic view of the battle for sin.
The older you get, the more difficult and we tell you this, the more sensitive you will be to sin.
As you grow in Christ. The more you grow in Christ and the more you you grow in holiness and the more the character of Christ is is formed in you to be less sensitive to sin anymore sensitive to the least of sins. There are things that bother me now. That didn't bother me when I was a 20-year-old white because I'm growing in Christ and I could manage that, or I could think less of that big a deal and now it's a glaring issue that I need to to deal with. So do believers sin.
Yes, do believers continue to sin, yes. Do believers fall prey to sin.
Yes. Do believers have a besetting sin that does consistently seem to dog their heels yes and for every one of us is gonna be different and unique does a believer learn to get along with that sin does a believer cherish that sin does a believer learn to love that sin will believer doesn't do any of that the person does that is not a believer because they don't have the character of Christ that that cringes that hates that despises the despairs that learns to quickly confess those sins. So as we mature in Christ.
The battle doesn't get easier and her attitude toward sin actually becomes more serious.
Given Minos events of the sin is always a choice. God's spirit were told is always allowing with every temptation, a way of escape, so we never have an excuse.
We don't just fall into sin helplessly. We walk into sin, we make an appointment with sin.
We click on the mouse to sin.
We talk on the phone with sin we we put into our budget sin, we sin not because we have to, but because we want to and we can never accuse God of any of that and we should feel guilty when we said we we should feel terrible when we said in the older you get in the Lord you're going to feel more terrible than before. We we should quickly confess when we set. I've often said that the market maturity is the distance of time between your sin and confession. How long does it take you to take it day does it take you in our it only should take a moment, that's maturity.
I don't have a problem. By the way with someone struggling with sand. I have a problem when someone loves their sin or sins and doesn't really need to confess it for some time.
We've covered a lot of information here, but let me leave you with this as we wrap up this question. Look at the apostle Paul. Go to Romans chapter 6 he says don't let sin reign in your mortal body, that you obey its lusts. Don't go on presenting the members of your body. The parts of your body to sin as instruments of those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to get noticed dedicate your body your hand your eyes to God. Your your mind. Then you go over into chapter 7 and Paul deals with a little of his own personal testimony.
I know nothing good dwells in me. Verse 18, that is, in my flesh the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good isn't in me, that is, it is an automatic that I'm always going to do the good thing or the right thing.
After the battle this old flesh and then he goes on to say the things that I don't want to do.
I do the things that I do want to do.
II don't, who will deliver me from this body of death and you get into Romans chapter 8. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus never was the blood of Christ is cleansed, the penalty of my sin that I committed yesterday that I'll commit today the document tomorrow. It's already paid for.
So why do we confess well.
We want to confess, not for son ship but relationship we would have a right relationship with the Lord we want to grow in the Lord as we can learn from the testimony, that of Paul. We never have an excuse to give the members of our body to lost in the sin we will struggle with sin as long as were alive and we long for the glorification and perfection of our bodies in heaven one day in the meantime, as we do struggle in battle with sin, and confess sin. We know were not condemned because Christ is already paid the penalty for every sin.
And here's the progression in the life of Paul as he matures early on in his ministry and prescriptions. 15 he preferred himself as the least of the apostles and so that's a that's a small community of of believers and he says I'm in last place.
Later on in his life. In Ephesians 3 he says I am the least of the Saints will now is broadened that he's saying you take all the Christians in the world in last place and then before he dies in his last two letters to his son in the faith Timothy first Timothy chapter 1 verse five he says I am the chief of sinners you informing the least of the handful of people to the chief of sinners and I think there's maturity in that as you battle it, and you understand who you are and who Christ is, who by the way the Lord was tempted in all points to temptation is not sin, but he was tempted in all points, yet without sin. Hebrews 415.
So where are you today Vincent and friends listening are the least of the apostles are you the last place of all the saints, or are you the chief of sinners battling said I think we need to be moving in that direction. Thank you so much Steven and thanks a lot Vincent for Colin and with that question. Recognizing that you are a believer struggling with sin.
I think Steve and I would just say welcome to the club case is exactly where we are and I hope that you have godly men in your life that you can talk to and who can help you or if you called in reference to a friend. Maybe you need to be that man to someone else and help your brother who struggling with his sin. The number that we've set up to make it possible for you to ask your question of Stephen related to the Christian faith or a particular passage of Scripture is 910-808-9384 910-808-9384.
We don't answer that phone number were not able to call you back but you can call into that number anytime 24 hours a day leave your question, we will get it listen to it and be able to answer it on a future broadcast just like this listener were great. My question is this in Revelation chapter 9 verse 15, 16, it talks about an army or does this army come from be anxious to hear what you have to say thank you. Thanks a lot Larry for Colin and with that question Stephen willing to give a real quick answer. I believe it is an army of demons 200 million demons. I take the numbers literal and believe that this is where the Army is coming from and I have a sermon. Scott might be good to help people in a moment, but I the servant called the abyss unlocked and I give a lot of reasons why come to the conclusion Larry, thanks so much again for calling and with that question and friends.
Let me let me give you a little bit of information regarding a resource that we have available for you on our website. Stephen just mentioned that he preached a series through this section of Revelation. That series was called the trumpets of seven archangels and then the message where he dealt with that particular passage is as he said, called the abyss unlocked, but if you go to our website which you'll email@example.com you can navigate to a section called resources from the resources section, we make available the transcripts of all Stephen sermons so if you go to the transcript section.
There is a place for you to search by any Scripture. And if Stephen has preached a message on that passage of of Scripture you will be able to see the transcript of that sermon and perhaps get the answer to your question right there.
So once again it's www.dotwisdomonline.org when you get to that website, navigate to the resource sections and then you will see an area called sermon transcripts from there you can search by reference. You'll find the transcript to that message that Stephen preached and you can download that transcript absolutely free anytime.
So Larry, there is probably much more that could be said about those couple of verses and you would find it in that resource. The number that Larry used to reach us is 910-808-9384 and you can call that number anytime you have a question, because we'd love the opportunity to answer your question over the air.
If you have a Bible question you can call us anytime 910-808-9384 here's another question we received. My name is Victor. There are a lot of false religions out there you consider Catholicism, false religion, even though they believe in the Bible to go to heaven… But a lot of people in my life are Catholics and I'm concerned about their spiritual security. Thank you, thank you so much Victor for calling and with that question. Stephen your take on Catholicism yes very good question I'm asked often about this and frankly there's always new information based on what the Pope might be doing or the Catholic Church.
Let's start with the difficult side of the answer. Victor, let's just take what happened. For instance, in the year 2015 with the Pope called in the year of the indulgence of Jubilee year, so to speak.
The Catholic Church believes that you receive grace and mercy from God. Over a period of time and you basically over your lifetime when you go to mass you get a little grace when you go to confession that adds to your merit and when you take indulgences at the Pope might offer going to a particular door.
By the way, in a cathedral that he is ceremonially opened the you get time off from purgatory and you're always doing things to gain the mercy and grace of God, the Bible doesn't teach that grace is a gift for by grace you have been saved through faith, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not as a result of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 289 if you dig a little deeper you find out that the theology of even this indulgence for this year of Jubilee is related to Mary. She is and in a very real way, worshiped the Pope said.
In fact, in one news release. He said were were entrusting this year of Jubilee to the mother of mercy and I'm quoting him because she looks to us with her gaze and watches over our way. Our penitential way our way of open hearts during the year to receive the indulgence of God to receive the mercy of God, so he, in effect, is also saying that the source of receiving the mercy of God, which may be sourced in God, but it comes to the conduit of Mary and of course then the church.
This is false teaching. This is not the gospel of Christ as a relates to people you're very concerned about is a relates to Catholics that you may know how I've often said that a Catholic can be saved but they're just going to be a bad Catholic is a regular really understand the teaching of the Catholic Church and they may have received. In fact, Christ, and they may understand that it's his atoning work on the cross. Only the delivers to the person and imputation of righteousness. At that very moment it isn't infused over time. It's imputed at a moment in time.
So the Paul could say that Philippian jailer who asked him what must I do to be saved. He didn't say do these 10 things he said. Place your faith, trust and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.
Salvation is a transaction that occurs, we place our faith in Christ. It is in the process that we gain over a lifetime and we hope we've done it well enough. In fact for the Catholic Church is never completed. That's why you have to go to purgatory and spend time in torment and suffering as you burn away those sins are those penalties of those sins know Jesus said to this dying thief, today you will be with me in paradise.
Not in purgatory in paradise. Why, because he was saved by trusting in Christ. Thank you. Steven and I want to thank all of you called in with your questions today and let me give you that number one last time. In case you have a question about the Bible or faith that you want Stephen to answer that number is 910-808-9384 and you can call that number anytime if you would actually like to speak with us, though, please call us at our office. Our office number is 866-482-4253. An easy way for you to remember is to simply dial 86 648 Bible were in the Eastern time zone in our office is open from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM each weekday and we'd love to be able to help you in any way that we can, so feel free to give us a call if you want to write to us.
Our address is wisdom for the hearts. PO Box 5729, Cary, NC 27512 we enjoy hearing what God is doing in your life and learning how God's word is transforming you write and tell us. Our address is wisdom for the heart PO Box 5729, Cary, NC 27512 if you own a smart phone. I encourage you to install the wisdom for the heart. It's available in the iTunes and Google play stores. Once installed, you'll be able to take the teaching you hear on this program wherever you go. I hope that you have a great weekend when we come back on Monday. Stephen will get back into our series so make plans to join us that right here on wisdom for the heart