austin: pastor john, this is, i don't knowthe number. no one knows the number. you have operated in innumerable q&as in yourministry. john: that's true. austin: you did one at the college the otherday. we've done this before. you've sat with phil johnson more times thanyou can count getting grilled. you've had questions and answers at shepherds'conferences, at the ligonier conference. have you always done this?
do people just come up to you asking questionsyour whole life? is this something you did on purpose at thechurch to just help people? give us a little background of the q&a. john: well, i guess you always have the fearthat you're saying what no one wants to know. austin: hmm. john: i prepare, i come up, and i preach asermon whether you want to know it or not. i don't even ask. so, in order to sort of move away from thereality that i may be saying things that nobody cares to hear, early in the ministry at gracechurch, i started setting aside sunday nights
pretty frequently to just hear from the congregationbecause i wanted to know what they were thinking. i wanted to know what was on their heart. i wanted to know trends. i wanted to know issues, things that theywere concerned about. so, yes, we started that very early. i came in 1969. so i don't know if we did one in 1969, butif not, we did one soon after that. through the years, we've done question andanswer sessions. i think the vulnerability is important.
i think it was important in the early yearswhen i didn't know all the answers to find out what the questions were so i could findthe answers. so i would maybe often say, "i'm not preparednecessarily to give you a complete answer on that, but that's an important question. if it's important to you, as a part of theflock god has given me, i'm going to find the answer to that." so through the years, that has grown and developed. and then as the world has become kind of amedia world, and the only thing that people do tend to know about you is what is pre-recorded,i think it's important for me to be more than
a pre-recorded sermon for the same reasonso people can tap a little bit into my heart, and again hear the answers to things thaton their hearts. so, yes, i've always done this. i've always wanted to do it. i always felt it was part of my shepherdingof my own congregation and a part of helping anybody. so, i've done them all over the planet, allover the world. i think of some pretty amazing q&as in moscow,in russia with some russian pastors trying to figure out the world and figure out godand figure out the bible when they had had
such limited resources. i've done them everywhere i've gone throughall the years, and i hope they're helpful. i want them to be helpful, and i want themto be as personal as you can get when you have so many people to deal with. austin: yeah, and i think they are helpful,and i think that's the feedback that we get when we asked for questions this morning,with no preparation, no forewarning. we had hundreds of questions come in justfrom this morning. so it's something that people appreciate. it's something that's helpful and practical,so we're grateful that you do this for us.
before i ever came to grace church, i rememberwearing my headphones and listening to q&as. they were one of my favorite things. it was before the age of the download to spin. we would listen to those, and just the equippingthat takes place from getting so many different questions answered. showing people that you'll answer their questionsnot from some deep well of personal knowledge, but from the bible is a testimony to - john: yeah, i think there's something elsethat's at work here too. effective biblical preaching raises as manyquestions as it answers.
austin: hmm, what do you mean by that? john: i mean that when you're dealing witha text, the people can see what you're saying, but they can also immediately discover thatthat leads to something else that they want to know. it's an inexhaustible source of truth. people were commenting on the message thismorning that so much more could have been said about every single point, and that'sabsolutely true, so much more. i was reading a biography today of georgewhitefield, and he was talking about his friend by the name of harris who preached four-hoursermons and sometimes preached all night.
i felt this morning like i could preach allnight, like i was raising as many questions as i was answering. so biblical preaching that drives people intothe scripture answers questions, but it also raises questions. so i think anybody who is going to be an expositorhas to respond to that. typically, even after i preach a sermon, peoplecome up to me and have had questions raised by that very sermon at that very time. so i think that's part of completing the shepherdingprocess. austin: this morning is a prime example ofthat, and i think everyone would be in agreement
that this morning we heard a phenomenal sermonfrom john 12. i don't think i can look at john 12 in thesame way again because of the way that you explained that to us. i think that's a good illustration of justwhat you're saying. all the questions that are answered in anexpositional approach to scripture, but all of the questions that are raised. you are exploring the depths of theology there. this was not the kiddie pool. this was big boy stuff, right?
[laughter] john: well, yeah. it was important though because just expositionitself is a series of questions. you know this because you do it. what i do with a text, every text i ever preach,i just keep asking questions. i ask questions of what does this word mean? what does this phrase mean? what does it imply? how does it connect with the previous?
how does it connect with what's coming later? how does it connect with other passages? how does it connect with the old testament? how does it connect with systematic theology? how does it connect with biblical theology? all i do in preparation for every sermon ipreach is go to a text and ask a myriad of questions. questions and questions and questions. and i can't finish until all of the questionsthat i've asked are satisfied.
now, i know there are more questions, butit's enough to give you a grasp of the text. but even for me, bible study is a series ofquestions that i have to find the answer to. the questions are raised by the text, andthey're answered somewhere in the text. austin: yeah, what we saw this morning werethose three enigmas. john: yeah. austin: massive looks into complexities ofthe incarnation and of justification, deep theological truths that you answered accordingto this passage. you showed us the connections in passageswe've seen and will see in the book of john, but it leaves people with more questions about,well, how did this work practically in jesus's
life? what was it like for his omniscience to functionin that way? john: yeah, those were - austin: what he thought about his suffering. john: those were enigmatic because they were,in reality, the opposite of what they appeared. the first one, anguish, that's enigmatic becauseit appears as if he is god, so why is he troubled? the answer from the father is enigmatic becauseyou would think if he was going to be bearing sin, it couldn't glorify god, but it did. the cross is enigmatic because the peoplethink they're judging christ, satan is judging
christ, and this is the end; when, in fact,he's judging the world, judging satan, and this is the beginning of him gathering allmen. so it just seemed to me an enigmatic - i meanyou know that. that's something you have to sort of craftas you're working through a text to try to pull something together that leads peoplesystematically through what you're covering. austin: sure, and it's helpful and it's insightful. i think we all could have handled one of thoseall night sermons this morning. john: [laughs] austin: i actually had i think visible --
john: yeah, everybody but the people in thenursery. austin: yeah, i mean, yeah. john: i mean you've got a bunch over therethat don't want to - austin: yeah, we fill the place. austin: but, yeah, it's just one of thosesermons where you could keep listening and keep being provoked by the truth, and justa really helpful, clear exposition. it's in my top five. john: but you see, that in itself is a testimonyto the divine authorship of scripture. austin: absolutely.
john: because when you've heard what i'vesaid about it, it still feels transcendent. it still feels inexhaustible because it is. that is the scripture giving testimony toitself. i was reading a book by an atheist. this guy reza aslan has written this bookdenouncing christianity , and saying that the four writers of the gospels contradicteach other because one writer says jesus was born in 6 a.d., and the other writer saysjesus was born in 4 a.d. so we know these books are not inspired becausethose writers are wrong. no writer says he was born in 6 or 4, so theguy hasn't even read the bible.
so he's writing a book debunking the bibleand saying things that aren't even in the bible. if he were to read the bible honestly, hewould find the same thing that you all find, that it's divine character is just overwhelminglyclear. austin: it's the perspicuity. it's the clarity. it's the obvious inerrancy - john: consistency. austin: - of scripture when it comes throughin a way that's so understandable as god reveals
himself to us through the word preached. it's a great ministry. we're grateful for you and particularly gratefulfor this sermon this morning. john: well, i'm grateful to have the privilegeto do this because i get the most out of it. i have to listen to every word i say. [laughter] and i get the joy of processingall that hours and hours into one hour for all of you. austin: yeah, well, we're grateful and well-fed. on november 5th, you dusted off your twitteraccount, whatever that is, and -
john: by the way, until november 5th - austin: yeah. john: i had never, ever done anything witha twitter account, whatever it is. austin: no, you had it. it wasn't under your control though. i think the folks at grace to you were tweetingon your behalf. john: yeah, they would put on there a comingseries or radio program or something, but i never said anything. austin: no, we connected you personally totwitter on november 5th, and we went live.
i saw it with my own two eyes. it happened in your office upstairs. the twitterverse, as they call it, will neverbe the same. [laughter] it's a social media site that talksabout followers. they use something called a hashtag. i looked up a definition of hashtag because,for the life of me, i couldn't explain it. it's a word or phrase preceded by a poundsign used to identify messages on a specific topic. hopefully, that's helpful.
our hashtag was #askjmac. and when we put this out there, we talkedabout it maybe a week in advance that we're going to have a q&a live on the internet withjmac, #askjmac. we thought there would be a good response. there was an overwhelming response. we had far more questions than we could everanswer that were coming at you live, firing from a couple of laptops in the room at youat once. it was like watching someone box. it was really quite an experience.
so #askjmac, the hashtag, was fifth in theunited states. it was the fifth most popular topic in theunited states during this q&a hour. people were just really grateful for the opportunityto interact with you personally. that's just another example of what theseq&as are. get to know you a little bit more, the manbehind the pulpit, and how you would apply these things to real-life situations. the limitation - john: the challenge for me is to give an answerin 140 characters. austin: exactly, exactly.
[laughter] you said it, 140 characters isthe limit. so getting these answers down to a sentencerequired you to say things like - somebody asked a complicated question about financesand missions and how to go to seminary for a young man without going into debt. you answered concisely, "have a rich uncleor marry up." [laughter] he's not wrong. so there was some of that fun stuff in there,just interacting with folks. then there was some profound things like,"do you ever deal with spiritual lethargy, and if so, what do you do about it?"
your answer in less than 140 characters was,"the best way is to get your eyes off yourself and pour yourself into others for the sakeof the gospel." that's profound, and we got a lot of questionslike that from the church. so i think what we should do is rather thanhave you expand all of these 140 character answers is we just launch into the church'squestions, and let you - we're not going to count your characters. we wouldn't ask that of you, but i say wetry to cover as many of these questions as we can. we have questions from every avenue and everycategory: bible questions, ministry questions,
personal questions about you, theologicalquestions. we got a dozen questions, more than a dozenquestions on eschatology. we have questions about the church and a lotof questions about personal evangelism. so i say we just dive in. john: let's go. austin: all right, let's go. let's talk about some current issues. this is under the pastoral category. one of the issues is this, "in light of themichael brown verdict, is protesting wrong
for a christian? are we to exercise our freedom of speech?" and then this, "how can we share christ andglorify god in this situation?" john: yeah, i think clearly scripture sayswe are to be subject to the powers that be because they're ordained of god. we are to honor the king, all those in authorityover us. we are subject to them. this is how we demonstrate that we have beentransformed by the gospel. this is romans 13.
this is what peter says in 1 peter. we are to live quiet, peaceable lives. that's what scripture says. we don't foment protests. we don't foment rebellion. we don't start revolutions as believers. we understand that god in his providence isin charge. he's in charge of what happens in america. he's in charge of what happens in ferguson,missouri.
he is in charge of everything. we have the right to take a position againstsin, but not to violate law, and not to try to overthrow government, and not to do damageto anything. we have a right to speak of the need for justiceand equity and fairness and honesty and integrity. those are virtues that bring honor to god. we want to uphold truth. we don't know what the machinations are workingin a situation like that. we don't know the details of what happened. we don't know what went on in a grand juryroom and all the discussion and the 70 hours
of testimony and 60 eye witnesses supposedlygoing on in all of that. but we do know this: that god has ordainedgovernment, and we're called to be subjected to government. there's no place for rebellion. there's no place for reaction that does destructivethings. there's no place, i don't think, for collectivelycoming together to denounce government even in what you would call a peaceful protest. that is a denunciation of government. you don't have to do that.
i just probably need to say i understand theterrible, terrible things that have happened in urban areas to black people. i understand the frightening demise of thatculture. i understand the horrors of 75 percent ofthe kids being born without a mother and a father in a home, born illegitimately. i understand that. i understand all the issues there; socialissues, political issues. it's a horrible situation. i understand that they may suffer becauseof it.
inequities, i understand that. i've been in the middle of that. when i was back at southern seminary, it wasreally interesting. i was back there three weeks ago, and i wasdoing a series there. when i came in to do my opening message inthis series at southern in louisville, there i saw in the front row, john perkins. john perkins is a black man and john perkinsis 86 or something like that now. john had been there the day before, and hestayed because he wanted to see me. he wanted to see me.
so when i walked in to take a place in thefront row waiting to preach, he came out of the second pew. the place was full of people. he walked up to me, and i walked up to him. i threw my arms around him, and i just heldonto him for a long time, and he held onto me. we just kind of talked in each other's ears. there was so much emotion, so much love andaffection that we had for each other because we go back so far.
people were stunned by that because they don'tnecessarily know that part of my life. so we had a lunch afterwards with the leadershipof southern seminary, and they were all in there. john said, "let me tell you about my experiencewith john macarthur," he calls me in his mississippi drawl, john macarthur. when i was a student, when i was a kid inseminary, i went back there and i worked with him in mendenhall, mississippi, before thecivil rights movement had really changed america. it was at the heart of the civil rights movement. it was a devastating time.
there was a pastor there who had a bible study. he was a white pastor in a southern baptistchurch. he had a bible study with a black man whowas a custodian. the leaders of his church said, "you can'thave a bible study with a black person." that's how intense that separation was. so he said, "i'm going to do that." so he couldn't buy gas; he couldn't buy groceries. he had a nervous breakdown, went to the hospitalin jackson, dove out of the third floor the third or fourth day and killed himself.
that was the pressure that was on in thosedays. it was really intense. but anyway, i happened to be in jackson withall the black leaders when martin luther king was assassinated. i was in the room with all of them. i was the only white guy, but i was therepreaching in all the black schools everywhere and living in john and vera's house with theirfamily. it was so interesting because john remindedme at the table of something i'd forgotten. he said, "when martin luther king was killed,we had to go preach the next two days.
we had to go preach in black high schools." he said, "while the world was trying to figureout what was happening, the black kids were weeping. every high school we went to," he said, "theblack kids were weeping because of the death of martin luther king." and he said, "you had to conduct a memorialservice in all those high schools for martin luther king." well, i look back on that and my heart wasto reach those people, so i've got a lot invested through the years in that kind of thing.
i understand some of the feelings, the residualthings that are there, but as christians, we bring christ to every issue. christ is the only thing, the only realitythat can change anything. so i would never engage in any kind of assaulton government, either a peaceful one or a violent one. i would rather trust god as the sovereignover everything and believe in his providence to accomplish his purpose, and be known onlyfor preaching the gospel. austin: hmm, and you'll speak, as you justsaid, god's word. you'll speak christ to both racism and becauseracism is a terrible sin.
john: terrible. austin: and you'll speak christ to those whoneed to understand their obligation to submit to the government because of romans 13. john: yeah, well, the first places i preached;when i was a young preacher, i preached on weekends in the black churches in the south. i loved it. i absolutely loved the feedback, instant feedback,instant feedback. [laughter] i loved it. i would preach sometimes a sermon, and theywould say, "preach another one," and i would
preach. sometimes two, three hours, i would preach. then we'd eat. i mean we'd really eat, all that good southernstuff. so i really started my preaching in blackschools in the south, black churches all over the south in the country, little country churches. i have a great burden that we train men whocan go back into those churches and have an impact on those communities through the gospel. we can't mix the message.
we can't get caught up in the politics. we've got to be singularly the voice for thegospel and the word of god. austin: so good, and i think that's why yourministry has had an impact in inner city locations from here in l.a. to in the south. i think that's probably not a well-known factthat famous evangelical pastor, john macarthur, is friends with famous evangelical civil rightsmovement leader, john perkins and lived in his house. somebody said to john, "when did you enterthe civil rights movement?" he said, "that is a stupid question.
i didn't enter the civil rights movement;it happened to me. it happened to me." and i was there, and it happened to me. we were caught in it. i was arrested. i was taken down to the local jail. they took all my money, the sheriff. i couldn't eat in a restaurant in that town. i mean we were in it up to our eyeballs, andwe were trying to figure out what do we do
here because so much of this is wrong, butwhat is the answer? john, his brother was killed in front of hiseyes in the street. so just embracing him again, and it was reallya wonderful moment just to kind of pull those years together. i just want to bring christ to that wholecommunity. it's my burden. austin: that's good, and it reminds us whyso many of the questions that came in were about personal evangelism because that isthe accent. you've said that's why god left us here isto win the world for christ and to reach the
lost with the gospel. a lot of the questions folks had were about- even that question about ferguson was about, "how do i minister the gospel in this situation?" let me give you a few of these, and you canreact to them. "how can i evangelize my close friend whois a catholic? my desire is to help her see the truth ofthe gospel. what are some key points seen in scripturethat show catholicism to be false? any good resources to point me to? is this even a primary matter to focus onwith all of the attention given to the pope
these days?" so those were some very thoughtful questionsabout catholicism. are our roman catholic neighbors and friendsto be won to christ or is that unnecessary? john: i think the way you approach a romancatholic is not to attack catholicism because you immediately make them defensive. they're going to defend that. why? it isn't even the personal aspect of it. it's the generational aspect of it.
very few people are converted to catholicismas a first generation catholic, right? i mean the catholic church, they're not ina very strong position to be making converts. they've got scandal after scandal after scandalafter scandal. they've got a pope who sounds more like apagan, who believes nothing, who is a fraud in every sense. just listen to what he says and you wouldknow it. they're not doing very well at promoting theirsystem. the nations of the world that have been historicallyroman catholic are abandoning catholicism with a fury.
france, italy, parts of europe that were romancatholic are virtually secular to the core. it has proven to be an invalid system, andwhere it has failed is on the personal level. it hasn't changed the world. it hasn't changed society, but more importantly,it hasn't changed their lives. so you don't need to attack the system. the corruption of the system is legendaryat this point. it always was. i was talking to a young man whose parentsare catholic. he said he was raised catholic.
i said, "what do your parents think of thecatholic church?" he said, "they deeply resent the catholicchurch. they've been in it their whole lives. they deeply resent it. that's the only way i could define it." it isn't just the corruption of the system. it isn't just that it keeps everybody in poverty,and that it demands money. it is that it doesn't give anything to theindividual. so when you're dealing with a catholic, whatyou want to do is find out whether that individual
has confidence in their eternal life. the question that you need to probe is thesame question that was on the heart of nicodemus: "what do i do to inherit eternal life?" orthe rich young ruler. that's where you go. well, you don't go to the system. they already know the system doesn't deliver. they live in that. they don't have any hope of heaven. they don't have any security.
they live in fear, a kind of mortal fear. they try to do a few good deeds, go to massor whatever to buy their way into the system to secure their future. so you probe them on the issue of, "are yousure that if you were to die, you would enter into heaven?" of course, the catholic church demands thatif you ask that question, the person say, "no, no," because that's presumption. that in itself could be a sin. so leave the system alone.
i mean you can give them - i've done studieson the priesthood, the pope, mary, the mass. we've got all of that kind of material available,but that is more useful i think. i mean somebody might be willing to listento that. but that's more useful for somebody who hascome to christ from the catholic church and needs to understand how to get disentangledfrom all of that, but i think you go at the heart of the individual. jesus didn't specifically assault judaism. in the sermon on the mount, he attacked itssuperficiality; phony prayers, phony giving, and all of that.
with catholicism, you can talk about the factthat the giving is superficial, the ceremonies are superficial, the mass is superficial,it's all externals. but what about your heart? what about your heart? do you have confidence that you know god,that you have eternal life, that your sins are forgiven, you're on your way to heaven? if that confidence isn't there, then you'renot accepting a gift that god has already promised. "these things are written that you might knowthat you have eternal life."
that you might know. do you want to know that you have eternallife? if you're a catholic, you're a catholic becauseyou want eternal life, right? right? otherwise, you'd be a pagan. why are people catholics? catholics because they think that's the wayto heaven, and they want that. but do you have the assurance that you havethat? so i think you go at the individual, and youdon't necessarily assault the system.
you can talk about its externals like jesusdid. you've heard it said, "don't commit adultery,"but i'm telling you what about your heart? you've heard it said that you're not to killsomebody, but what about your anger? so what's your life like? you're doing all this stuff on the outside,but do you have victory over sin? the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes,the pride of life. do you love god? do you love his word? are there manifestations of transformationthere?
if there are not, then you've got religion,but you're not on your way to heaven. then matthew 7, "many will say, 'lord, lord,'and i will say, 'i don't know you.'" again, this is what whitefield said and justliterally fried the leadership of the anglican church in the 1700s. whitefield was going around and saying, "justbecause you go to church doesn't mean you're a christian if you haven't been regeneratedby the holy spirit." he was vilified. he was attacked. he was assaulted.
it's always a fight throughout every age inany formal religious context to come to true personal conversion. so that's what we work on. how many folks here tonight - and i know ourchurch is full of people like this - how many folks here tonight came out of the roman catholicchurch? that's probably a majority maybe. austin: i mean that's a lot of folks. well, you know, the good part is they knowabout the trinity. they know about the cross.
they know about the resurrection. so the facts are there, but the applicationof those facts is completely misrepresented. austin: what you're saying i think appliesto a lot of these other evangelism questions. people asked, "how do i evangelize my jewishfriend? how do i evangelize my jehovah witness neighbor? how do i deal with my mormon co-worker, andhow do i best present the gospel to them?" i think what you're saying right now is atranscendent answer about evangelism. what whitefield said is we're calling men,women, all, no matter what background, whatever they have, whatever religious system.
whether they grew up in this church, we'recalling them all to be born again. john: yeah, and i think if i was dealing witha jewish person, i would say, "who can enter the holy hill of god?" psalm 15, "he that has clean hands and a pureheart." so let me ask you about your heart. you're jewish, you go to the synagogue. do you have a pure heart? do you have holy longings, holy aspirations,holy desires? do you have the confidence that you have eternallife?
do you have the confidence that your sinshave been forgiven? you're not going to find any of them who willsay that unless they are literally buried in sort of hypocritical idea. so i think you have to go for that anyway. if someone says, "yeah, i'm fine. i'm good. i'm okay," that's not a candidate for conversion. you want to expose their desperation. of course, when you're dealing with peoplein judaism, you're dealing with essentially
pharisees. so you can follow how jesus dealt with pharisees. he basically unmasked the superficiality oftheir religion, and he got very clear and unequivocal in matthew 23 when he said, outsideyou're clean. inside you're full of dead man's bones. you're always going with people in the cultsto the inside. you're talking to a mormon? okay, you do this. you don't do this.
you behave this way - or talking to a jehovah'switness or whatever it is - but what about your heart? do you have holy longings, holy desires? can you sense that there's some power in youthat causes you to want to love god with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength? do you have a longing to hear from him, tohear his word? do you desire obedience to him? when that's not there, now you've got to exposethe fact that whatever your religion is, your heart is not changed.
your heart is not changed. until a person desires a transformation onthe inside, you're not going to be able to lead them to the truth. the other unequivocal reality is they haveto have a true view of jesus christ. jews don't. mormons don't. jehovah's witnesses don't. the only ones who do, i guess you could say,would be other forms of christianity like catholicism who would have a true view ofthe nature of christ.
so those are just some - you don't want toget caught up in a formula. i know a lot of people use formulas. formulas sound good to the guy that uses them,but one size fits all is never a new testament model for evangelism. you don't have jesus running around usingthe same model on everybody. you don't have him presenting the gospel inexactly the same way with the same questions and the same answers with everybody. in fact, it shifts and moves throughout hiswhole ministry. when you come into the epistles of the newtestament or follow through the book of acts,
the apostles, they don't use a formula. paul even says, "i became all things to allmen." i meet them where they are. he doesn't mean i shift and alter the truth. he simply means i find the entrã©e. i find a way in. so it's just knowing the truth about christ,knowing the truth about the gospel. and not necessarily reducing everybody tosome kind of a pin on a bowling alley; you knock them over with the same ball.
there's going to be different approaches,but always you're going toward christ and toward the heart. if the person has no sense of holiness, loveof virtue, forgiveness of sin, secure hope of heaven, you have to expose that in evangelism. austin: i think this could be enormously helpfuland freeing for people, who potentially are intimidated by the details of other religioussystems. i think one of the things you're saying isyou don't necessarily have to be an expert on how many arms the hindu god has to leada hindu to christ. instead, you're telling us that the gospelis what's applicable in every one of these
situations, the speech about christ. two things happen: one, you shatter theirconfidence in their religion, and you don't do that by attacking the religion. you do that by attacking their personal condition. you go at them and let them disclose whattheir heart is like. the parable of the soils is as good an illustrationof that as there is. you can sow the gospel seed, but the conditionof the heart is what produces the fruit. god has to do the heart work. you can't do the heart work, but you can beused by god to do that heart work.
so then it becomes presenting christ. you know enough about christ, all of you knowenough about christ to present the fact that he died on the cross for our sins and providedan atonement to satisfy the justice of god. by his substitutionary death, god is thenfree, having punished your sins in christ to forgive you of all your sins. you can give the gospel. you don't have to be clever. it can be that simple, but what is necessaryprior to the truth about the gospel is to break into the person's hidden place; to getpast their religion.
in fact, that would be the last thing i wouldever attack in talking if i met a guy who was a mormon. i told a story years ago about meeting a muslimon a plane and having a long conversation with a muslim. i didn't attack islam. i went right into islam for their view ofsin and then their view of judgment, their view of hell. then i went right to the issue of what's goingto happen to you? if sin produces divine judgment from allahand allah sends people to hell, how are you
going to avoid hell? do you have any hope of heaven? "no. how could i have a hope of heaven?" so that's what you're after. austin: that's the simplicity of the gospelmessage. austin: i think that's what's so freeing abouthearing this is i think we're greatly helped by apologetics. we're greatly helped by those who have becomeexperts in the cults, but an ordinary person
in a christian church knows the gospel andtrusts christ, has what they need to evangelize their neighbors and their family and theirfriends. john: let me just take it a step further. if you go for the heart, and the person says,"yeah, i am a mormon, but i don't have any peace. i don't have any hope. i don't have any security. i don't have any sense that i'm going to heavenor that my sin is forgiven. i fight sin all of the time.
i battle evil desires. i don't know what to do about it." now you're prepared to say, "let me give youthe gospel." then you begin to overturn the error of theirsystem by presenting a true christ and a true gospel of grace rather than a system of works. so you don't even get to that point of takingthem from their error to the truth until you've exposed some kind of a need. that's the richer young ruler. the guy comes and says, "what do i do to haveeternal life?"
jesus went right to his sense of self andsaid, "well, you know. keep the law." "well, i've done all that. i've done all that." end of discussion. jesus never went any further. the guy turned and walked away, and there'sno remedy for that because you don't need a savior unless you know you need a savior. austin: that's good.
in the same vein, one young lady asked thisquestion, and i think she's thinking about evangelism here. how do i explain god's sovereignty to an unbeliever? john: i think it's good to explain god's sovereigntyto an unbeliever. i think it's really good. i think it's extremely helpful to explainit to an unbeliever for this reason: who wants a savior who is not in control? do you understand that? if i say to somebody who is not a believer,let's say this is somebody who is, i don't
know, in a false religion. most people are. "i want to invite you to embrace the lordjesus christ as savior, but oh by the way, the world is out of control under the powerof satan." i think i would say, "you know, i think i'lllook around further and see if i can find a savior who is in control." because how secure am i or how secure is anythingif he's not in charge? so, i want to say to the unbeliever, i wantto introduce you to the god who is sovereign over every molecule in the universe, the godwho not only gives life, but sustains it forever,
the god who keeps his people forever, thegod who fulfills his word, fulfills his promises, the god who is over satan and all demons andall people, and who orders and ordains all history. i want to introduce you to that god, thatabsolutely sovereign god. oh, by the way, i want to introduce you tothe god who is sovereign over your salvation. and if you desire the salvation that he hasprovided, you can plead to him. you can ask him. it is his decision, but i can say this toyou, if you come to him, he will not turn you away.
i think telling people about the sovereigntyof god is exactly what jesus did in john 3 when he's talking to nicodemus. nicodemus says, "what am i going to do tobe born again?" he says, "well, the holy spirit blows wherehe will like the wind. you hear the sound of it, yet you don't knowwhere it's coming from or where it's going. you're born from above." i think you say to a sinner, "this gift isa gift. it isn't earned. you can't even earn it by your repentance.
you can't even earn it by your desire. you can ask for this gift. it is sovereignly given by god. it is given on his terms in his time fromheaven. but, oh by the way, 'come unto me all ye thatlabor and are heavy laden, and i will give you rest. call on me and i will answer you.'" so i think telling sinners that god is absolutelythe sovereign of the universe is so powerful in attraction.
man, the whole world is flying to bits. it's chaos out there. even unregenerate people know that, and whatkind of savior do they want? a truncated, superficial kind of evangelismgets truncated superficial kind of responses. john: i think the more you say about god assovereign, the more attractive he becomes. don't you? john: the more powerful the invitation becomes. austin: to know that even the unbelief ofan unbeliever is under the auspices of a sovereign god, i think that would fuel a person's confidencein evangelism, just knowing that god is in
control of the outcome of this conversation. it's not all up to me, but i can share thegospel with my coworkers, with my relatives, knowing that the lord is able to change theirhearts. it's not up to my persuasiveness. john: no. look at the luke 18 passage, which alwaysjumps into my mind. you have this tax collector, outcast, un-synagoguedsocial pariah pounding his chest. he knows god is sovereign. he knows he's unworthy.
so what is he saying? "god, be merciful to me, a sinner." he's pleading with a sovereign god. that is the clearest or simplest, i guess,illustration of a conversion, and old testament conversion. jesus hadn't died and risen again, so he'snot trusting in that, but he knows god gives salvation sovereignly, and he knows he doesn'tdeserve it. so he's pounding his chest as a symbol ofhis contrition and repentance and agony over his sin.
he's pleading with god to show him mercy. "be merciful to me." you find that with the blind bartimaeus. "son of david, have mercy on me." so the jews knew god was sovereign, and theywere pleading for his sovereign mercy and grace on their behalf. i think in evangelism, that's what you'reafter. you're after repentance and a pleading witha sovereign god to give salvation. then you say, "and if you pray that prayer,he will hear, right?
he will hear." austin: and the publican and bartimaeus gohome justified because they had been humbled in their sin. john: yeah, right, right. austin: yeah, amen. what about this question, keeping in the samevein. what about sharing the gospel at work? this person asks, "is it okay to share thegospel at work? is it stealing from an employer if you sharethe gospel on the clock?"
no, it's not stealing from the employer. you're going to be talking about something. what better subject? if you stop working and pin somebody againstthe wall, and take a half hour to drag them through some kind of formula, you don't wantto do that. but i mean you're smart enough to know whatyou can do and what's acceptable. i don't think anybody is cracking a whip overyour head, hopefully not. but if you're on an assembly line, you don'twant to stop the line to do evangelism. you don't want to interrupt the class if you'rea teacher in a school.
but i think in the normal, casual conversationthat happens, i think the first kind of breakthrough is going to be your life, your joy, your peace,your contentment, the facility and the ease with which you talk about the lord and talkabout scripture and talk about life in the church and things that you love. and this becomes apparently your life andyour love, and i think out of that, your conversation is filled with things about how thankful youare to the lord and how grateful you are that your sins are forgiven, how grateful you arethat you have the hope of heaven. you have no fear of death. i've had that conversation on an airplane.
you can try this question. this is one that a friend of mine used. "what would happen to you if this plane crashed?" [laughter] that's a little bold, but justto make the point. my friend would say, when somebody panicked,"sounds like it would be a serious event." "uh yeah, it would be very." well, he would say, "it might be a seriousevent for you, but it would be a glorious experience for me." "what?"
[laughter] that's because you view death sodifferently. i mean there are a lot of ways to probe inand rather than trying to drag somebody through some kind of system at first, and then whenyou get a little time at the lunch hour or on the break time, you can be a little morespecific. john: but you're here for that. that's why you're here. austin: on the planet. john: on the planet. austin: amen.
so evangelism transitions well to new believers,and we have lots of new believers in our church. john: wonderful. austin: some of them wrote questions, andwe're glad they're here. we want to be helpful to them. how about a question like this one? "i'm a new christian. where do i start?" john: where do you start? you mean like, you start here at grace communitychurch, and you don't leave.
[laughter] you just stay here. yeah, it's pretty simple. start praying, and start reading your bible. come hear the apostles' doctrine. read the word, pray, fellowship, come to thelord's table. that's what the early church did. what did they do when they started? they met together every single day for theapostles' doctrine, fellowship, prayer, and the breaking of bread, which is the lord'stable.
worship, prayer, fellowship, study. those are the simple basics of the christianlife. i did a series many, many years ago on thebasics of the christian life. i forget even what the name of it was becausei don't always name those things, but it covered prayer, fellowship, bible study, those kindsof things. there are a lot of good basic books. there's a little book i did years ago called,keys to spiritual growth , which is a great launching point for the foundational aspectsof glorifying god, which is now what you're able to do called, keys to spiritual growth.
it came to mind because i just got a copyof it in portuguese or something. somebody had translated it, and i was remindedof it again. austin: back to basics: the abcs of christianliving. john: there you go. austin: that's what it was called. john: thank you. austin: google. john: wow. austin: credit where credit is due.
john: okay. austin: other new believers are asking questionsabout how to grow, how to increase their love for christ. would you give these same answers? pray, read your bible? austin: why are those essential? is that something just for new christiansor are they entering into a whole lifetime of these four things? john: yeah, so it's a whole lifetime withincreasing delight.
yeah, those are the things that i would againsay the book the keys to spiritual growth lays out a foundation of the basics. that series "back to the basics" would bereally good just to tell you what bible study is like, what prayer is like, what fellowshipmeans, and all of those basics. that would be a really good starting point. but listen, let me tell you this; you're ina great place for all of that to take place because we provide all of that for you allthe time. we get it. we don't entertain you.
as clayton was saying tonight, we're hereto worship. we're here to honor christ. that's what we do. here you are having fellowship tonight. you're hearing truth from the word of god. we pray when we come together. those are the things that we as a church do. the reformers used to talk about the formalprinciple. those things that the church has to do becausethey are laid out in scripture.
it's not complicated. you do what the early church did. we talked about that, didn't we, a few monthsago on the ordinary church. we're just can ordinary church. this is what we provide for you. you don't have to search the world for this. you don't have to search the internet forthis. this is what we are as a church. we provide that basic pattern for your growth.
yeah, i think obviously hear from some ofthe older people, but when you begin to desire the word of god, that desire doesn't diminish. it should increase and increase and increase. you go from being a spiritual child to a spiritualyoung man to a spiritual father. the delights of scripture continued to expandand the joys of the christian experience continue to develop and fellowship becomes richer ifyou're in the right place. just talk to christians who aren't in a placelike this who are starving for the very things that are essential to their life and growth. so that's why we're here to provide that.
austin: so this is a good church for a newbeliever to grow? it has to be. it has to be or we're not faithful. austin: because the things that are for everychristian to grow are what we're about each lord's day and trying to emphasize those basicthings. you come on a sunday morning, and you hearthe apostles' doctrine, which is just a reference to divine revelation. you hear the word of god expounded. you engage in fellowship.
we have fellowship groups and you meet people,and you stimulate one another to love and good works. we lead you in prayer. i try to lift you up before god in the pastoralprayer. we have the lord's table last sunday night. we bring you to the point of confession. we provide resources for you through the internet,through the book store, through classes, seminars, conferences. all of it is basically geared to fulfill whatwe see as the biblical model.
austin: another question from a new believer,"why do i have to be baptized to join the church?" john: well, it's a question of obedience. you don't have to be obedient, but the biblesays, "repent and be baptized." it's not hard to understand. repent and be baptized. so when the church was born on the day ofpentecost, 3,000 people repented, put their trust in christ, and were immediately baptizedthat day. that's the pattern, and that's a visible demonstrationof your union with christ, public demonstration.
jesus said, "if you confess me before men,i'll confess you before my father who is in heaven." i kind of think that obedience can be a littlebit mystical. obedience can be a little bit sort of private. maybe we're not sure if you're a believerbecause we don't see into your life. you're here, but we don't know what your heart'slongings are. we don't know how obedient you are in yourpersonal life. so you have a very simple starting point todemonstrate your willingness to be obedient, and that we can see.
that's when you step into the water and yousay, "this is an act of obedience. it is a simple act. it's an uncomplicated act, but it is requiredas a starting point for my obedience, a public confession." it sort of parallels. there's an interesting parallel back in exodus24 where god had given his law to the people, and the people said, "we will obey. we will obey. we will obey."
they all said, "we will obey. now, that sounds really good. well, let's see if we can't demonstrate that. so they had a sacrifice, and they got blood,and they filled these big basins with it, and then they sloshed all the people. peter even refers to that. they were sanctified with blood. at the time, that was the people saying, "wewill obey. we are making a public demonstration, publiccovenant."
the demonstration of a heart of obedienceand that open covenant, that symbol of that open covenant with god to be obedient to him,and to be identified with him, and to step out of the world into the church is baptism. austin: that's helpful because for a new believer,if you didn't grow up in the church seeing this christian ritual of baptism, it's quitestrange pushing each other under water after all, in front of all these people. why is it like that? why did god choose baptism as this sign? is it because it's to public?
is it because it's so obvious? john: well, yeah, but a lot of things couldbe public. austin: sure. john: you could do a lot of things publicly. why that? because water has always been since the creation,a cleaning agent, a washing. we all know that. water washes everything, and it's the symbolof cleansing. the old testament had all kinds of washings,so we understand the idea of being washed
and being cleansed. baptism pictures the washing of the soul ina more full way, not just the washing, but the washing that comes by union with christ,being buried with him and rising with him. it's a beautiful symbol. the church, we're not full of symbols, right? people aren't walking around with incensedoing this, and nobody is doing the sign of the cross, and we don't wear weird stuff. we're not into symbols. the further you get away from the truth, themore symbols.
note that. the more symbols, the less truth. the more symbols, the less reality. the less symbols, the more reality. we're not into symbols, but we are obedientto the one public covenantal affirmation that symbolizes the washing of the heart. then with the lord's table, that too is againa public identification ongoing. baptism comes once, but the lord's table comescontinually, which then carries our testimony on in a regular way saying, "i stand at thefoot of the cross again and acknowledge that
christ has paid the price for my sin." this is a form of worship and a renewal ofmy covenant. austin: baptism is saying something. when a new believer gets in the water, thisact in and of itself symbolizes and represents something. what's a baptized person saying? john: he's saying, "i publicly identify withjesus christ, dying with him, rising with him to newness of life. i confess to jesus."
i told you that when you guys were talkingabout heaven. what should we ask people? i said the great christian confession hasalways been, "jesus is lord." i am confessing jesus is lord. romans 10:9-10, "if you confess with yourmouth jesus as lord and believe in your heart god raised him from the dead, you will besaved." so you're making that public confession. someone who is unwilling to make that publicconfession is content with a level of disobedience. that's not a good way to start the christianlife.
the lord has given us that kind of simpleact of obedience so that you can have a point of assurance and the church can have a pointof assurance. austin: to identify it's that initiatory rightor symbol that identifies that this person has identified themselves with christ. austin: so when they've done that, then weadmit them into membership in the church. john: right. austin: on sunday night, they line up here,and we have questions about that. we want you to be obedient because that'sthe path of blessing, right? so we don't want to say, "oh, we don't carewhether you're obedient to baptism.
we'll make you a member of the church." well, how could you do that? that doesn't make sense. we already know you're not obedient, so whywould we want to make you a member of the church in good standing? we need to talk to you first about baptism. we don't want to make it impossible. it's not a big deal. people say, "oh, i don't know if i can getup in front of people."
i would think that for a new believer, itwould be a stampede to the water because of all that the lord jesus christ has given. austin: amen, good. here's a follow up question that someone asked,"is it a sin not to be a formal member in a local church?" john: well, i don't know what a formal memberis, but it helps to wear a tie, but it's not necessary. austin: sure, yep. john: yes, yeah.
it's not right to not identify with a church. austin: i think that's what they probablymean by formal is that identification. why do i have to go through a process? can't i just come here every week? doesn't that count? john: for what? austin: for - [laughter] john: i don't think god's counting the attendance. austin: i don't have this question.
it's this person. john: no, i know you didn't. austin: i'm a formal member of this church,and i'm wearing a tie. john: the new testament knows nothing of someonewho is just a floating entity. don't knowanything about a person like that. there were added to the church daily thosethat were being saved. they were added to the church. they weren't just added. how did they know there were 3,000?
how did they know there were 5,000 men inchapter 4? how did they know that when a believer wentfrom one city to the next, he was going to take a letter to introduce him to the churchat the city that he arrived at? they tracked all of that. hebrews 13 says that the elders are over youin the lord. they're over you in the lord, and they haveto give an account. they're the shepherds of your soul. they're your overseers. so you can find membership.
membership simply means, i submit to the leadershipof this church, and i offer myself to serve in this church. again, persons who flee baptism and hesitatein membership may have a reason to hold back, and it may not be a good reason. there isn't a good reason. there could be some bad reasons. i know this is a time when people don't wantscrutiny. they don't want accountability, but the churchoffers that accountability. the church, we want to shepherd you, not sothat we can find out what's wrong with you.
but so that we can meet your needs and seeyou grow in grace in the knowledge of christ. when you say, "i'm a member of the church,"all you mean by that - it isn't really formal. i mean you don't get a mark on your wrist. you don't get some special benefits or reducedinsurance policy. what you're saying is, shepherd me, and iwill serve. that's what you're saying. if you don't want to say that, then why don'tyou want to be cared for, shepherded, and why aren't you willing to serve? there's no real positive reason for not wantingthose things.
austin: the nature of membership is that it'sa benefit and a blessing to the member and to the congregation. john: yeah, but it never was intended to somehowaccrue to your financial benefit or any other temporal benefit. it is to your spiritual benefit to be shepherded,and it is to your spiritual benefit to come into a congregation of people who will loveyou and care for you and be mutually loved by and cared for by you. it is to your spiritual benefit. it is not to your spiritual benefit to isolateyourself and to be free-floating and to go
wherever you want, and wherever may attractyou for the moment. that's the old story of you remove a coalfrom the fire and it dies. you keep it in the fire and it stays warm. a person removed from the fire from the communiongrows cold. sin wants to isolate you. it wants you alone. it wants you outside accountability. that's not to your benefit. austin: good.
john: i think those of you at grace church,this isn't oppressive. we're not legalistic. we're not chasing you around trying to lookinto every aspect of your life. there are churches like that. there are churches like that where the leadersof the church know how much you have in your bank account, and they want to look at yourcheckbook once a month. crazy things. see where you're spending your money so theycan look at your life. we're not doing that.
we want to care for your souls and shepherdyour souls, and we want you to serve with us. if you find another place where the lord wantsyou, go there, but you want to be sure that they're fulfilling that function, that it'snot an event you're attending. but they're shepherds caring for your spirituallife and a place where you can serve and flourish because all of the necessary elements of churchlife are provided. austin: so good, not an event you're attending. this person asks, "how do i respond to peoplewho claim to be believers, but who don't go to church because they say it's full of hypocritesor legalistic christians?"
i wonder if those churches are events thatare being attended? john: yeah, yeah. there are a lot of weekend events that happenevery weekend in the same place led by the same people, but they're not churches. they're entertainment events. it's kind of a christianized entertainment. it's been all convoluted by the complete importingof pop music. pop music is a tremendously powerful force. you add that to the light show and all theshtick that goes with it; you can create an
event, but an event is not a church. a weekend event repeated every weekend isnot a church, but it appeals to people because of its anonymity. there are churches by design that do not everwant people to give up their anonymity. they don't want anybody to ask you any question,to confront you. they don't want you to stand up. they don't ask visitors to identify themselvesbecause they think that they need to be comfortable well, that is a complete rouse. that is a complete con because if an unbelieveris comfortable in a church, then it's not
a church. if it's a worshipping group of people, unbelieversshould feel alien to that environment. somebody who doesn't go to church, doesn'tattend church, and criticizes the church as full of hypocrites is most likely not a christian. austin: and they need that admonishment tobe a part of a congregation because in that association they're going to see what realchristianity looks like. john: yeah, with all its strengths and weaknesses. austin: it is a congregation of imperfectpeople. austin: but we're here, and we're here foreach other.
we're here for the glory of god. john: but we also know the only hope we haveis imperfect people, is in the resources that the lord has given to his church. we want to make sure that they're all working. austin: that's helpful. pastor john, we're out of time. john: really? austin: yeah, it blew by, didn't it? you know, you're fun to talk to.
[laughter] we've talked about evangelism. we've talked about ecclesiology a little bit. we've given some discussion and helpful stufffor new believers. this is a fruitful time. we're grateful that you'd make this time forus. john: you don't have one more compelling questionin your list there? austin: yeah, i can ask another compellingquestion. john: okay. [applause] austin: yeah, no.
female: one more hour. austin: one more hour? it's not like anybody can go home with thetraffic and the rain. austin: but i just landed the plane, so nowi'm having to pull it back up, so i don't want anybody to get airsick here. want to do some rapid fire? john: you said there were some questions abouteschatology. austin: big time. john: well, we had a lot of questions abouteschatology, the end of the age?
austin: a lot of theological questions, biblicalquestions, and questions on eschatology. you want me to touch one? john: well, let me just kind of generallysay that this is another thing, and i guess maybe i really wanted to say this. i just gave you the option, but - [laughter]a church without a solid biblical eschatology, meaning understanding of the end of historyhas got a huge loose end. it's huge. i said something about that this morning wheni was kind of wrapping up. i said, the jews wanted to force all the prophesiesregarding the messiah into his first coming.
we have christians who want to take all theprophesies concerning christ and push them back into his first coming. they're called pretrerists, amillenialists. so they have this theology with this totallyopen end. it just has no closure. they don't seem to care particularly. it's almost like a badge of reformed loyaltyto be unsure about how everything ends. i don't know about you, but that doesn't workwell with me. first of all, i don't think god gave a clearbeginning and just kind of lost himself at
the end. i don't think if genesis 1 says that god createdin six days and there's no question about it, and he lays out exactly how he did it;and you get to the book of revelation and you hear about periods of certain weeks andcertain months and certain years and a thousand year millennium, and then an eternal state. i don't think god lost his way at the end. i don't think he was confused at the end. i think the end is as precise as the beginning. to be honest with you, i am far more concernedabout the end than i am the beginning.
the beginning is over. i'm glad it was what it was, and it explainswhy things are the way they are. but i don't think you can over estimate thevalue of a church with a clear ecclesiologyand a clear eschatology. clear understanding of the church, and a clearunderstanding of what the bible says about how things are going to end. it does say something. it doesn't say everything, and it doesn'tsay whatever you want it to say. it doesn't have ten views or five views orfour views.
there's just one view. i've been all over this world. i remember flying 35 hours to kazakhstan onetime, getting off a plane, talking to 1,600 people from central asia, who had never hada pastor's conference. after russia had seen its freedoms, thesepeople came together, 1,600 of them. it was an unbelievable event. it was raining the whole time, and they weretrying to feed 1,600 people. the way they did it, they had these huge pots,the kind you boil a missionary in. they were outside in the rain rained in thepots, and they kept throwing potatoes in all
week. that was what - the rain made the soup. we were there for a whole week, and they askedme if i would explain the end of the age. i had never met any of these people. i got off the plane at almaty at 7:00 in themorning, and i was teaching at 8:00, and i taught for about eight hours for seven daysin a row, six days in a row. they wanted to know about the end. i laid out; i went through the book of revelationsystematically and showed them the end. they said to me after that - i took a dayto do that.
the end of that day they said, "you believewhat we believe." i said, "i believe what you believe?" same bible. guess what? it's so clear that people with no training,no seminary, and no commentaries could understand what the book of revelation said. i think it matters how it all ends. i think god is glorified when we acknowledgehim as the creator, the beginning; and i think he is glorified when we acknowledge him asthe consummator, the end.
i think that's a huge benefit for christianslooking at the world and wondering where is this going? where is this going? in talking to al mohler when i was back therea few weeks ago, he said he's more eschatological than he's ever been. he's almost apocalyptic because he sees aworld that just there is no way to reverse this. this thing is in a massive free fall, andthere is no way to stop this. he's pretty well-attuned to the way thingsare, and he says, "i've never felt so eschatological,
so apocalyptic about the way the world isgoing." well, if you want to understand where theworld is going, you can as a believer. that gives us such a powerful confidence thatall that is coming is laid out for us on the pages of scripture. i think that's a treasure that a church can'tunderestimate. there are a lot of resources on that. i've preached all that, preached through revelationseveral times, through daniel, through zachariah, through the olivet discourse in matthew andluke and mark. we've covered all of that.
there are books because the time is near , commentarieson revelation. all of that perspective on the end has stoodthe test of scrutiny, and it's the conviction of every professor at the master's seminary,and these guys are incredible scholars. i just think that's a treasure this churchhas that is underestimated. we know where the world is going because scripturelays it out. austin: that's really helpful, and i thinkthat's why what you're saying about what dr. mohler observed that it's just the world seemsto be falling apart around us. maybe that's why there's so many eschatologicalquestions. austin: so when people are asking, "explainthe mark of the beast.
will there be a new heaven and a new earth? why didn't the church fathers write aboutthe rapture very much? which isn't true. what about revelation 20? when jesus ascended, did he know what dayhe'll come back? what is the next sign of christ's coming? how do i know my name is in the book of life? these questions go on and on. austin: you're saying these are good questions.
they're good questions and the reason i wantedto end on that, i wanted to end at the end, because i get it. i'm seeing this world unravel. there doesn't seem to be any way back. i mean this is totally out of control. this is a free fall down a black hole. so, you can't just say, "well, eschatologydoesn't matter." that is not helpful. people want answers.
where is this thing going? it's not fair to god, it's a dishonor to godto say, "well, the bible is not clear." it is clear. it is absolutely clear. i did a single message, a jet tour throughrevelation. that was one sunday night i did preach anhour and a half. then we turned it into a booklet. you can get it from grace to you. that was one message through the whole bookof revelation, so coherent, so consistent.
then two volumes through the book of revelation,and then another book, because the time is near, through revelation. all the studies on the olivet discourse inthe gospels, the whole book of daniel. you want a fascinating study, listen to danielor listen through zechariah. what i've found through the years is thatthis is absolutely consistent with scripture. you don't have to tweak anything. you don't have to do headline exegesis. you're not playing off the world and what'shappening, but inexorably, the world is going down the path that's charted in scripture.
i think that makes us very valuable to thesociety in which we live. i just wish that the church was unified onwhat the bible says. i don't like it that there are christianswho don't believe in creation, but believe in some form of evolution. i think that dishonors god and confuses people. i don't like it that there are christianswho don't accept what the bible says about the end either. but i think it's wonderful that we do, andthe answers are there. the reason i gave you the illustration aboutkazakhstan is because that is as alien a place
as you could ever be. thirty-five hours to get there. you step off the plane. i've never been there. i don't know what's going on. i teach them a whole day on the end times,and they tell me that's exactly what they believe. how did they come to that? they don't have seminaries.
they don't have books. they don't have anything. that's what the bible says. you have to go to school and listen to somebodywho deceives you to undo that because that's what's there. i'm glad we've gotten some traction helpingpeople understand that, but i think that's a great thing for you to know. god is in total control of this thing. read the book of revelation, and you knowhow it's going to end.
that makes you a pretty valuable person inthe world because that's an answer people want to hear. austin: eschatology matters and your questions,we have so many resources in this church to answer those questions, and they're available. because the time is near is a book he's mentionedseveral times. it's a paperback, one volume, fast commentarythrough the whole book of revelation. very helpful resource. you're saying eschatology matters. john: by the way, eschatology means the studyof the eschaton, which is greek for the last
things. austin: last things matter because what isthe chief end? what's the goal of the study of the end? john: glory of god. austin: the glory of god. what's the benefit to the believer? john: to glorify god for what is coming, justlike we glorify god for what is passed. he gets glory for the creation. he gets glory for the consummation.
austin: i think that's why you're hopefuland not morose because you know how this story ends, and that's our great hope. john: i'm not looking for the anti-christ. i'm looking for christ. john: i think i just want to be faithful toscripture. he that has this hope in himself purifieshim. so it's a purifying hope. he's coming. we know that.
it's also a glorious hope, a comforting hope,an encouraging hope, a hope of reunion, a hope of glory, a hope that he will right allof the injustices in the world in his glorious kingdom when he sets up his throne in jerusalemand reins over the earth. all of the injustices will be reversed. righteousness will reign over this planet,and christ will take his throne. that's how history ends. he will be honored by that. austin: come quickly, amen. pastor, thank you for your faithful teachingand your shepherding of this congregation.
we love you. all the notes said, "we love you, pastor john,"smiley face. "we love you pastor john," smiley face. [laughter] i just thought it'd be weird toadd that a bunch of times, but know that that's what people wrote on the cards because that'show this church feels about you. john: you know, that reminds me of a guy whowas preaching in a pulpit that was a precipice. he had memorized his sermon. he was a young guy. he came to the end of his sermon.
he was preaching on the second coming, andhe said, "behold, i come quickly. the lord said, 'behold, i come quickly.'" he went blank, and he couldn't think of whatthe next line was in his sermon. so he thought, "i'll say it again. 'behold, i come quickly.'" nothing. third time, "behold, i come quickly." he hit the pulpit so hard, it fell, and helanded in a lady's lap. he said, "i'm so sorry.
i'm so sorry." she said, "why are you sorry? you warned me three times." [laughter] so on that, we ought to end. austin: i think so, yeah. [applause] thank you. will you close us in prayer? john: sure. we thank you, lord, for the wonderful timetogether tonight.
thank you for your mercy and your grace tous in christ. thank you for your word. so astounding that we can hold in our handyour entire revelation, and we can read it and understand it. you give us the faith to believe it, the wisdomto grasp it, what a treasure. the world by wisdom can't know you, but weas simple and humble as we are, know the mind of christ, understand the deep things of heaven. what a blessing. thank you for your mercy to us in christ andfor our wonderful fellowship tonight.
we give you praise in our savior's name, amen. end