Over the past two weeks we released nine new Ask Pastor John episodes, including milestone episode number 100. We also released two episodes which quickly generated over 25,000 plays (each) in the last week: an episode on cussing (97), and an episode on whether a white woman can marry a black man (98). Those two new episodes quickly became the most played of all the other 102 tracks we've released to date.
What follows are brief excerpts from each of the new episodes (click the hyperlinked titles to listen).
Paul says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4). At the end of that verse it says, “but instead let there be thanksgiving,” which I think means this: if your heart is right and brimming with gratitude to God in all things, that will be a monitor on the kind of crudeness that comes out of your mouth. People that tend to use a lot of four-letter words, scatological talk, a lot of harsh, crude, rough, crass talk, are generally sounding pretty angry. They are not content, not thankful, not happy in Jesus.
There are two basic marriage restrictions for a woman in the Bible. Number one, she should marry a man. Number two, he should be a Christian.
Is it a bad thing to have exposure to knowledge that might reveal unhelpful things in your pastor? My answer: that may be a bad thing, or it may be a good thing. If it makes the pastor acknowledge that he has to make a good case so that people can see in the Bible what he is saying is really there, and that his plans for the church are really biblical, then that is a good thing for him to feel that pressure. But if going on the Internet makes a person or a family disrespectful to their pastor, or cynical to their pastor, or disengaged from their church, then I think it is hurting them.
Being a flashy communicator, being a great orator, doesn’t necessarily lead to edification. It doesn’t necessarily lead to the conversion of sinners. It doesn't necessarily lead to the glory of Christ. In fact, it can get in the way of glorifying Christ. What builds up the church is a clear, heartfelt, faithful, explanation of what the Word means, sentence by sentence — an exultation over the Word so you reveal how precious and valuable it is to you. And I think a man who is anointed with the Holy Spirit and has a love for the Word of God and a measure of gifted explanation, as pedestrian as he may feel his communication style, can take a people deep into the Word of God.
If Christ really is the center and the apex of redemptive history, for that apex to happen, the rest of history has to be known and understood and celebrated as well.
I would take the Bible. I cannot live without the Word of God, and though I have enough of it stored up in my mind to survive — maybe — I don’t want to just survive. So I would take a Bible. And then I would cheat …
I would say, ask these two questions. First, which way is the transforming influence flowing? When you are with someone, are they being transformed, or are you being transformed? Are you being drawn to minimize the value of holiness? Have your standards been compromised? Are you being made callous and hard towards things in movies, say, or on television, or in language that you were once sensitive to? And the second question is this: Are we loving these people for their sake? ...
Yes, Christians can lay claim to this and they do it because of Christ. And here is the way I see it fitting together …
A lot of people think eternal security is like a vaccination. When I was six I prayed, God vaccinated my arm, and I can’t get the disease of damnation. That is not the way it is. Rather, it is more like entering lifetime therapy with a doctor who says, “You are my patient, you will do what I say, and I will get you to the end whole in the last day.”
Jeremiah 32:40 has got to be one of my favorite all-time yes verses to my perseverance. The New Covenant Jesus bought with his blood is a covenant of preservation. It is not just a security in some mechanical way. It is preservation in an active way. … You will wake up a Christian tomorrow morning because God is faithful. God will wake you up and awaken in you his faith.
Ask Pastor John is a daily podcast series of 3–8 minute conversations released each weekday at 10:30am (EST) through the DG Facebook and Twitter feeds. You can tune in to the new episodes through the new Ask Pastor John iPhone app, which can be downloaded for free here. We’re currently hosting all the recordings on SoundCloud, a website making it easy to listen to several of the podcasts in one sitting. They’re also archived on the DG website and syndicated in iTunes.
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