WWUTT 2090 Q&A Importance of Membership, Whom Jesus Regarded as More Important, Growing in Godliness

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Responding to questions from listeners about the importance of church membership, did Jesus count us as more important than God, and how we may grow in godliness. Visit wwutt.com for all our videos!


Why is church membership so important? Did Jesus consider us as more important than himself?
And what can a new believer who has turned from sin do to grow in godliness? The answers to these questions when we
Understand the Text. This is
When we Understand the Text, a daily Bible commentary to help encourage your time in the Word, that we may be more like Jesus.
Tell all your friends about our ministry at www .utt .com. Here once again is
Pastor Gabe. Thank you, Becky. You're welcome. That's been a theme we've been talking about at our church, becoming more
Christ -like. I think last week in your intro you said that we may be trained for godliness, and that was exactly the passage that we were in on Sunday in 1
Timothy 4. So for those of you who've been following the sermon series on Sunday morning, that'll be coming up this
Sunday, since I'm always a week back on the sermons. So that one will be on the air this Sunday.
I'm speaking at the Men's Breakfast tomorrow morning at Grace Covenant Church in Gilbert, Arizona.
And then preaching at my own church on Sunday. Providence Reformed Baptist Church.
If you want more information about our church, you can look up ProvidenceCasaGrand .com
Spelled Casa Grande. Spelled Casa Grande. But yes. Casa Grande. Big house.
When we came moving into Casa Grande, I was blasting big house by audio adrenaline. That's what
Zieg and I were listening to when we pulled up to our house. The moving truck was already being unloaded when we moved up.
It was. That was amazing. So we're in Psalm 9. Last week we read the first 10 verses of Psalm 9.
Today I'm going to read verses 11 -20. This is out of the Legacy Standard Bible. Sing praises to Yahweh who abides in Zion.
Declare among the peoples his acts. For he who requires blood remembers them.
He does not forget the cry of the afflicted. Be gracious to me, O Yahweh.
See my affliction from those who hate me, who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation.
The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made. In the net which they hid their own foot has been caught.
Yahweh has made himself known. He has executed judgment. In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared.
The wicked will return to Sheol, even all the nations who forget
God. For the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.
Arise, O Yahweh. Do not let man prevail. Let the nations be judged before you.
Put them in fear, O Yahweh. Let the nations know that they are but men.
Selah. And as I had said last week reading through Psalm 9, with all the bad news that's going on and seeing the decline that's happening in our nation, maybe happening in yours as well, these are great psalms to come back to, to be reminded that God is still
Lord over the nations. Amen. And though the wicked have their day, it doesn't last. Right.
Righteousness will prevail. And consider the line here in verse 12, for he who requires blood remembers them, remembers his people.
He does not forget the cry of the afflicted. So those who are afflicted, the
God who requires blood, he will bring judgment upon those who have dealt wickedly, who have afflicted the afflicted.
Right. And we share in the sufferings of Christ, for he was afflicted. And if we suffer and endure and give praise to his name and continue to preach his gospel, though the world will hate us, yet we know that we are held in the hand of God.
He will lift us up. We will be delivered from death into his eternal kingdom. And he will bring judgment upon the wicked forever.
Yes. Well, Becky, you are here with me for just half an episode today. Right. Yeah. If you can't tell by her voice, she's a little worn out.
I've got a little bit lower of a voice. Lower register here. But you really wanted to be on the podcast with you guys.
I did. So here's what we're going to do. And you. And me. Right. Of course. So here's what we're going to do.
These first three questions, we've got something complimentary that we're reading at the beginning. Okay. And then a couple of more comments that we're going to respond to.
Okay. And they both have to do with church membership, by the way. Oh, okay. So remember, as we read about church membership last week, these two questions that I've got coming up, one of them was actually on my list to read last week, but it ties in with church membership.
And then the other one is a follow up to what we had read last week regarding church membership. All right.
After that, after the first half, I'm going to come back to the Alistair Begg issue. Okay.
There's some other comments that I want to make in regards to that. And I want to play some other teachers and what they have said, including
Stephen Lawson. And I got an email about something that Dr. MacArthur had said.
So we're going to make a comparison between something John MacArthur had said and what
Alistair Begg had said with regard to the advice that he had given. So I'm leaving all that for the latter half, since there's more video to play in there.
Sure. You don't necessarily have to be here for that. So we'll interact with these first three and then I'll let you go.
Okay. Sounds good. To bed, I'm guessing is where you're going to go when we're finished with this.
I will cough outside. You'll cough up a lung somewhere. So this is the Friday edition of When We Understand the
Text. And we take questions from the listeners. Yes. You can send those questions to whenweunderstandthetext at gmail .com
This first one comes from Stephen. I'm going to read his last name as well, but I'm going to save his last name for the end of the email.
Okay. Okay. Dear Pastor Gabe, I am writing to say how much I enjoyed and am benefiting from the
What Podcast. Finding you was really an answer to prayer. And writing to you is a way is my way of acknowledging that and giving thanks to God and I hope also an encouragement to you.
My wife and I are working in a Bible translation project with Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Praise God for that. Oh, that's awesome. That's fantastic. For a group of people in Western Asia, we are based in the
UK, Glasgow, Scotland, but we are regularly, we regularly travel to the region and although we belong to a good church where the pastor is a faithful Bible expositor, we are often away and I especially feel the need for help in personal
Bible study when we are on our travels. I brought this need to the Lord saying it would be great if I could find a teacher on the internet, preferably
Reformed, who submits to the Word of God, whose aim is to work systematically through the
Bible books, letting Scripture be his guide and letting it set the agenda for his teaching. Quite a set of demands.
Maybe I'm a natural pessimist, but my hopes weren't high as I had been searching the web for a while.
We understand that. And although there are great teachers out there, I couldn't find anything with this
Bible centered approach. The next day, I did an internet search for a review of a well known podcast and your review was at the top of the list.
From there, I found your podcast and I was amazed it was exactly what I had prayed for.
I've been listening now for about two years. Thank you for your faithful ministry.
Be assured of my prayers for you and Becky and for the family and in a new location.
That's right. Because at the time you found us, we would have been in Texas. And now we're in Casa Grande, Arizona.
Yours in Christ, Stephen Lawson. Or as I'm now known, not the
Stephen Lawson. Oh, funny. I was going to say, isn't he from Texas?
Yeah, but he lives in Dallas. His church is in the Dallas area. Steve Lawson, who we're talking about there.
So this is S -T -E -P -H -E -N. Are you sure you're pronouncing it correctly?
Yeah, Stephen Lawson. I don't know. Well, since he said not the Stephen Lawson, I would guess it sounds the same.
I don't know how they pronounce that name in Scotland, though. Well, yeah, but is he
Scottish or he's just there working in Scotland with Wycliffe? That's what I would assume.
That's true. I don't know. Anyway, he goes on. P .S. Great to see you contributing to the cessationist film.
Wow, look, it's Pastor Gabe, I yelled. I was one of the many sponsors and I managed to get my name in the credits.
The closest to fame I will ever get. That's awesome. Well, brother, with the work that you're doing with Bible translating for this group in Asia, I mean, your name is known in the heavens.
That is wonderful. And we will all be celebrating together the work that you did in reaching this group in Western Asia with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yeah. Translating the Bible. Yeah, absolutely. What a great work you guys are doing. And I so appreciate this email.
I read it to Becky already. We were laying in bed together and I pulled it. I can't remember if I actually told you his name, though.
I don't know. I remember a little bits and pieces, but yeah, it was. Yeah, because you were in bed.
You always come to me whenever your mind is going. Oh, yeah. That's right. After my mind is stopped.
Listen to this. Listen to this. I want to tell you, Stephen, emails like this really are hugely encouraging to us.
We've been doing this podcast. This is our ninth year. So 2024 is year nine. And what are we at over?
I mean, it's over 2000 episodes. I can't remember what the number is right now. But anyway, this has not always been easy.
And I think that goes without saying. Many of you would probably assume I'm sure they've had to really push through some tough stuff to keep the podcast going.
There was even something that happened last year that was hugely discouraging. And it made me wonder, can
I continue to do this? Is it more trouble than it's worth? And emails like this,
Stephen's not the only one. There are other emails that we get that are like this, too, that will talk about just how meaningful the podcast has been.
Families that will email us and say, we start our mornings with this. We're a homeschool family.
And so we start with these Bible devotions. And then we go throughout our day and other things. And it's great that, excuse me,
I'm catching your frogginess here. They'll say it's great how consistent it is, where we have
New Testament on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We know it's Old Testament Thursday. And then Becky and Gabe are in our living room with us or in our kitchen with us on Friday morning.
And it's so wonderful to get these kinds of emails. I would be lying if I said that we don't need to.
We're just going to keep doing it. No, these things really help fuel our fire. They really do.
And so we appreciate that very much that you would take the time to email that to us and to hear that finding our podcast was an answer to prayer.
When I started doing this nine years ago, and I was just going to do Bible exposition because that's what
I knew how to do. I thought, there are guys out there like John MacArthur doing this, like Stephen Lawson doing this,
Sinclair Ferguson's program, R .C. Sproul. Although when you listen to Sproul, renewing your mind is not expository.
They'll have expository episodes in there, but it's not one episode after the next is going through a book of the
Bible or something like that. And so I just thought there are better teachers out there doing this. Who's really going to listen to me do it?
And nonetheless, we've had many people come to us and say you'd be surprised to find there are not many people out there that are actually doing what you're doing.
So sometimes, even like John MacArthur's show, we'll get into systematics. It won't be just straight through a book of the
Bible or something like that. My aim was when I started this if I could just get twice what
I get in my own congregation. If I could just double the number of people that are in my congregation, that would be sufficient.
Which at the time would have been about three to four hundred. That's how many listeners
I was looking for. But we're above that now. Of course. Anyway, like I said, love that you listen and thanks for the encouragement.
You started it because we lived in a military, next to a military base.
And there were a lot of deployed husbands and wives. So the family would come to church, but then they would talk on the phone and they wouldn't have anything to talk about.
And so you started the podcast to help them and encourage them to talk about the same thing that they listen to.
So they listen to it in church and then they also get it from the podcast. While the husband's deployed, he can listen to the same devotions that she's listening to and then they have something to talk about on the phone.
Because he can't talk about his work while he's deployed. She's just talking about the kids and bills and all this other kind of thing.
So how can they foster a good spiritual communication with one another?
Where they're uplifting each other in the word. That was the aim with the podcast when
I started it. But I thought for it to be worth it and to continue that I would have listeners in addition to what
I had in my church. And so that was kind of the aim. The aim and the number was 300.
If I get 300 listeners, then I'll feel like I'm making it worth it. And when we made 300, it was awesome.
I think we were well over that when we first went on. And all of that was because people had watched the videos.
And the Lord was good. Love being able to do this and great to be part of Providence Church here in Casa Grande where we're encouraged to continue doing this.
Once again, thank you for your emails. And if you have any questions, you can always submit them to whenweunderstandthetext at gmail .com.
So this next one, this is from Caroline and John. Okay. Dear Pastor Gabe and Becky, my husband and I have listened to your podcast from if not the very beginning of what at least close to it.
Oh, wow. I think we originally heard about you from Wretched Radio. Uh -huh. Yeah, that's where we got the exposure.
Yeah, that's where the boom came from was because Todd Freel was playing us. Yeah. And I have really appreciated listening to how you are growing even closer to the
Lord and in standing firm in the scriptures. I do pray that God blesses your family each day. We live in Canada in a very tiny town and drive an hour one way to get to church.
We usually keep the Q &A to listen to on our drive on Sunday.
That's awesome. So thank you so much for all that you do. We have many lively discussions because of it. Finally, the question is we were wondering if it is possible to have your
Bible reading YouTube episodes on your podcast platform for offline listening.
Hmm. Anyway, thank you again for all that you do. Okay, so Caroline is asking about the videos that I'm doing right now on the
What Channel on YouTube where I'm trying to read through the Bible every day.
I got sick, ended up losing probably a week or two. Yeah, at least. And now that I'm back on it,
I'm still not hitting it every day because I'm trying to catch up with work and some other things, and so I haven't been able to get on it every day.
And now I'm ill, so you have that too. Yes, right, right. So last night in particular, very busy as I was.
And I took the kids to school yesterday to their homeschool group because Becky couldn't take them.
Yeah. But it was great. I got to watch my daughter do her debate. So that was pretty fun. It was perfect timing. It was good timing.
And my nine -year -old do her presentation and yeah, all of that was very fun. Anyway, the things
I don't usually get to do, but I got to do those things yesterday. And I got to be locked in the garage.
Oh, yes. That was hilarious. I kept Bubz at home with me and I wouldn't let him out in the garage with me because I didn't want him getting into stuff.
And so I was like, you just stay there. And I closed the door, but not all the way. And he closes it all the way and he locks it.
Oh, man. And I was like, no. Our two -year -old. It's just Becky and our two -year -old at home.
And the two -year -old. And I didn't have my phone. I didn't have my keys. I didn't have anything. He locked you out of the house.
Because of my slippers. I mean, who gets dressed to go to the garage? Oh, my goodness.
But thankfully, praise the Lord, he also knows how to unlock it after giggling at me.
He is such a little clown. Anyway. He is a prankster already.
And he's not even two and a half yet. That is astonishing. I was almost panicking.
Almost. I could see that. I was so close. But you're a good communicator. And he loves his mama.
And so she managed to convince him to unlock the door and let her back in the house. Thankfully, he wasn't too mad at me to keep me locked out there.
Well, he's laughing at you out there. So that says something about it. Oh, it was eventful.
Yeah. Well, okay. So back to this question about the daily Bible reading. So I've got that on the
YouTube channel. It's not on the podcast. I don't really know how to get it on the podcast. There's only two ways that I can think about doing it.
I think of a few ways. But here's the two main ways that it would be done. So the daily
Bible readings would just be inserted as, like, another episode. So you'd really be getting two episodes a day.
Oh, I gotcha. You would get the reading that I would do, the regular teaching that I'm doing, and then you would have another download that would just be
Bible teaching or Bible reading. Doesn't have an intro. Doesn't have an outro. It's just cold
Bible reading. Okay. That's kind of weird to say that. Cold Bible reading. Yeah. It's hot Bible reading. It's on fire.
So that's one way I can think of doing it, because I can't create another channel. I actually looked at doing this at one point and actually having another side to the
What podcast where it would just be Bible reading. I thought of doing this a couple of years ago.
So you would have the What podcast that would have just the daily Bible reading with no commentary, and then you've got the side where I'm teaching through a
New Testament book and an Old Testament book and, of course, the Q &A. Right. But that actually costs me the same amount of money to start another channel.
Oh, yeah. So basically I'd be doubling my cost on having the provider that I use doesn't just allow me to start another channel.
I can start another channel and link it with the present one, but it still costs the price of another channel.
Right. So anyway, there's that. They don't give you a discount. Yeah, they don't. Right. So it's your regular podcast episode and then a
Bible reading, so you'd have two downloads in a day. That's one possibility. The other possibility is something that I had done before.
I had actually done this, I think it was in 2021, and I did it through Genesis and Exodus, and then
I didn't keep going. But I was just uploading the entire book on Saturday.
Right. And so over the course of the year, 52 weekends, you would eventually get all 66 books of the
Bible. But yeah, like I said, that was I started that.
I did part of it, and I didn't keep going because when we had moved to Texas, we didn't have our own studio anymore.
Right. I was having to do that in my office. It was harder to do extra projects on top of what I was already doing.
So that's why that didn't consistently keep going. Let me sit on that,
Caroline. I don't really have a good answer for you right now. I appreciate you asking. You're not the only one.
Right. There have been others who have requested this as well. In fact, even before I started doing the YouTube stuff, there were people that were saying, could you do something where it's just like regular text,
Bible reading, that kind of thing? So given that you're driving a long distance on Sunday, maybe
I can do that again on Saturday, so that way you've got two episodes you can listen to.
The Friday Q &A, and then you've got the Bible reading on Saturday. I'll see about that.
Let me give that some thought. This next question. So this one continues thinking about church membership here.
So this is from Genevieve. Follow up to church membership.
Thank you for answering the question about membership last week. I have always been a member of the churches that I've attended, and I believe it's important.
Things are different in Bush, Alaska, where I live now. So we had an Alaska question last week. Yeah. And this is a different Alaskan.
Neighbor to the Canadian. Right. Yeah. This one's Bush, Alaska. Yeah. So you're like way up there.
Our family has been attending a small Moravian church since we moved here two and a half years ago.
I'm very involved and act very much like a member, but I'm not officially a member. Then at the annual meeting last weekend where about ten people attended,
I didn't feel like I could say yay or nay to various motions because I wasn't a member. At the end of the meeting,
I voiced my thoughts about that, and two or three people turned to me, shook my hand, and laughed, declaring, here, now you're a member.
That's one way to do it. That's one way to do it, yeah. And I guess when you're in the Bush, Alaska, you could probably be a little more informal about those things.
That's what I was thinking, too. And we've encountered this before. We've had actually in every church that I've been a pastor of, we have said to guests, hey, we've got a members meeting tonight, but you can come if you want.
You can't vote, but you can attend. And they're coming and attending the meeting and hearing the stuff that we talk about and suggestions that are made and votes that are had and all this.
It really puts in their hearts, I want to be part of this. And I remember talking to a couple one time who said, man, it ate us up that we couldn't vote.
And this was such a critical matter for the church. And so it really motivated them to want to become a member.
So stuff like that is really good. It's good that you were attending those meetings and you experienced the same thing.
Yeah, and you get to know the heart of the church, too. Not just oh, here's the outcome. It's like, how did you get to that outcome?
Because if you don't agree with it, just by hearing that one phrase, then it really helps you hear both sides of it and how much they dug into it and put into the decision that they made.
Right, right. Yeah, if you're not going to attend the business meetings, you can't complain about the decisions the church makes.
You had to be there. So anyway, Genevieve goes on. It led to a slightly heated discussion about membership.
Basically, I learned that a lot of people in this area have been hurt by the churches that require membership, like the
SDA, which is Seventh -day Adventists, or the Russian Orthodox churches, which have a huge presence in rural
Alaska. Really? Yeah, that's interesting to hear. Well, I mean, Russia's right there, but still I'm surprised.
It's not really right there, but yeah. It's pretty close. It might be closer than America, like lower 48.
I think the Russian Orthodox influence is actually more from the Canada side than it is from the
Russian side. All right, fair enough. I mean, even around here, there's Russian Orthodox churches.
That's true. That's very true. The Russian Orthodox, it's pretty plentiful. Yeah. Anyway, I had a story to tell about that, but I'm eating up your time.
Yes, you are. It's good. It's good. So going on, the pastor does have a membership process, but he doesn't enforce it.
He fears membership would turn people away from coming to church. Our town has a reputation for being the most rebellious in Alaska.
Oh, that's fun. The need for ministering here is definitely very great, and my church does a lot more than what is officially on paper.
I don't know, maybe it's a unique situation, but I still feel that membership is important, even here, for all the reasons you mentioned in the last episode.
Any thoughts? Yes, I concur. Well, I mean, it doesn't have to be as rigid, but it does need to be put as an importance, and maybe it's the kind of thing where they can take their time and warm up to it, rather than, oh, you have five weeks to attend, otherwise we're going to come knock at your door again.
Because every community is different. We weren't in Bush, Alaska, but we were in Alaska, and it was much different.
It was much more relaxed, and people were just friendly. They loved to talk. They loved to get involved with the community, even though it wasn't something that they agreed with the other churches and stuff like that, but they still worked together, and so it was...
Like I said, every community is going to be different, and it's going to look different, but the membership does need to be there, and I think you would agree with that.
Oh, yeah, absolutely. You've got to think of it this way. You are giving more personal information and making a deeper commitment to signing up for an account on Facebook, then you're probably giving to your church.
Or to get that blue check. Yeah, the blue check on X, or whatever. Yeah. Or to register for a
Sam's Club card, or to get a gym membership. There are so many different things that we will apply our memberships to, and yet it's funny how hesitant we will be about joining a church.
Part of that, though, I want to say, part of that is, because maybe deep down in your conscience you understand, this is a way bigger commitment.
Yeah, it's accountability. Yeah. It's a bigger deal than just signing up for a
Facebook page. So that could be the reason. Maybe that's what's on your conscience that's causing you to hesitate.
Well, I mean, they're becoming part of the Bride of Christ, in a way, like in that area, in that building.
Sure. I mean, if you're in Christ, you already are. I understand, but people don't understand, not everybody understands that concept.
Yeah. You know, that you are together. You are a family. You're committed to this group.
Yeah. Absolutely. And they're still deciding if they want that family. And you say you're committed, and then you stop coming, and suddenly they start hunting you down.
Yes. Now, yeah, like you said, you don't get a choice, like you just said right there.
So you don't get to pick your family. You don't get to pick who your brothers and sisters are. Right. You don't get to pick who your brothers and sisters in the
Lord are. Right. This is the group you're with. This is your church. Commit. Be members.
And the Lord is great. And so He has the perfect everything. So He's just,
He picks the perfect family. That's right. Even though we're completely imperfect.
Yes, absolutely. We are made perfect in Christ. And when you join a membership, your church is not going to expect you to be perfect.
Exactly. Because you're joining a bunch of imperfect people. That's right. That's right. Yes. You just became a member of the church.
Guess what? Your church has sinners in it, because you became a member of it. Yes. So anyway, that wasn't the end of Genevieve's.
Oh, I'm sorry. We haven't even gotten to the question yet. Oh, dear. Except she just said any thoughts. And yeah, there's our thoughts. Yeah. Question.
My question is in regard to something that my pastor continues to say from the pulpit and that I believe is incorrect.
Okay. He says the following. God considered us more valuable than Himself when
He died on the cross for our sins. He defends this with Philippians 2 verses 3 through 5.
He connects the second part of verse 3 regarding one another as more important than yourselves with the imperative in verse 5.
Have this way of thinking in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus. My pastor claims the reason that we are to consider one another is more important than ourselves is because Jesus did the same thing pointing to verse 5, especially in the act of dying on the cross for our sins.
He often uses this reasoning when giving thanks and prayer for Christ dying on the cross for our sins.
This strikes me as being against the nature of God. He is sovereign and holy and though he emptied himself and took on the nature of a servant, he would never consider someone more valuable than himself.
I consider my pastor very orthodox, so his continual use of this phrase is very confusing. Am I wrong?
I'm perfectly willing to be wrong. It just feels blasphemous. How would you explain this section of Philippians?
Any help that you can give would be appreciated. I thank you for your time and ministry. P .S. I have approached him about this and he stands by his reasoning as shared above.
Okay. So she's listened often enough to know that that's the first place we would point to. That's what we would say.
Yeah, that's right. You need to go talk to him about this. I would say if I was talking with your pastor, I would tell him that he needs to read a little further.
Okay, let's go to Philippians chapter 2 and I'm going to start at the very beginning here. Okay. Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the
Spirit, if any affection and compassion, fulfill my joy that you think the same way by maintaining the same love, being united in spirit, thinking on one purpose, doing nothing from selfish ambition or vain glory or vain conceit as it might be in your translation, but with humility of mind, regarding one another as more important than yourselves.
Okay. Paul is addressing the church. So regard one another as more important than yourselves.
Not merely looking out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Verse 5, have this way of thinking in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.
Now let me stop there. So your pastor is taking verse 5 and he's reading that into verse 3.
Have this way of thinking in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus and he's reading that into do nothing from selfish ambition or vain glory, but with humility of mind regarding one another as more important than yourselves.
So the Christ -like mindedness, he's reading into verse 3 as thinking of us as more important than himself.
But verse 5 doesn't read into verse 3. Verse 5 starts 5 through 11.
So you're not reading 5 back into 3. You're going the wrong direction. Yeah. It's not the end of it.
Right. You gotta start at 5 and go down. Cause 5 is beginning this thought. Here's what
Christ did for us. And so therefore, we need to be willing to do this for one another.
The instruction to us to consider one another as more important than yourself is not the same as saying that Christ considered us as more important than himself.
Yeah. I have a problem with that. Right. So that's an address to the church that's not meant to be understood as the same thing as Christ thought of us as more important.
And now what he did was great sacrifice, of course. In John 3 .16, God so loved the world, he gave his only son.
But does he consider us more important than his son? No. Not at all.
Okay. So let's continue on. Verse 5. Have this way of thinking in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although existing in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a slave, by being made in the likeness of men, being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore, God also highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is
Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Amen. So what ultimately was Christ's motivation in everything that he did?
Not counting us more important than God. Right. But he did everything for the glory of God.
He did it all for the glory of God the Father. That is Christ's motivation for the work that he did.
It should be our motivation for the work that we do. We would even love one another for the glory of God.
Right. But it's not the same as counting as Jesus counting us more important than God.
Right. In Colossians 1 .18, Jesus is described there as being preeminent, meaning that he is top, and there is nothing above him.
So in no way should we think of this as God actually placed us as higher than himself.
Right. In kindness to your pastor, but that's absurd.
Well, I mean, it surrounds us. It's everywhere. Right now. Not in the
Bible. That kind of thinking is what you're talking about. Yes. But everywhere else. Because everything is me -centered.
Everything is, I'm important. I need to have me time.
I need to have self -care. I need to do this. I need to do that for myself. I need a vacation by myself.
I need to, you know, everything is for yourself. And it's encouraged. It's highly encouraged.
It's everywhere. It's on commercials. It's as you walk through the mall. I mean, it's everywhere.
Right. So just to say that the world is trying to brainwash us into thinking that we are important, a .k
.a. more important than God, because God died for us. So that raises us up.
But that's pride. That we have the itching ears. That we want to hear all of this.
That we are important. That, you know, it sounds good. It feels good. But to be so humble as to realize that we are not.
And we're not worthy. We're not worthy. Right. So not worthy. We deserve death.
And so he just needs to come a little further. Right. And like I said, keep reading.
Yes. Because verse 5 doesn't read back into verse 3, like I said. Now, we're still following the example of Christ.
Because he served us. He's actually serving us now.
The fact that he's seated at the right hand of God and interceding for us on our behalf.
We have the king of kings who is sitting enthroned in the heavens, who on our behalf is interceding for us before the father.
He is our advocate before the father, as said in 1 John 2 .1. We have an advocate before the father,
Jesus Christ, the righteous one. Meaning that he is speaking favorably of us before the father on our behalf.
But not that we're supposed to sit in those thrones. Yeah. Right. But in no way do we interpret that as he's considering us as greater than himself.
There's no way. He's holy and we're not. Right. He is perfect. We're not perfect.
He absolutely loves us and has done so much for us.
Yes. But this is not to be understood in a way to think of us as being more important than him.
The father did not regard us as more important than his son. Right. It's because his son is important that he gave his son to die for us.
Yes. As Stephen Lawson said, not the Stephen Lawson that we read from earlier. Not the Stephen Lawson. But the
Stephen Lawson. No. No. It is the Stephen Lawson. Not the not
Stephen Lawson. Now we're just confusing everybody. Okay.
It was Stephen Lawson who said this. Of Dallas, Texas. Yeah. Stephen Lawson of Dallas, Texas.
Sin is so heinous that it required the horrific death of God's son to forgive it.
Yes. What we had done against God was so evil. What we deserve is hell.
And yet God is so gracious that he gave his son to die for us.
Not because we are more important than his son. Right. But because it took something that important.
It took Jesus to die for us in order to redeem us. Yes. From the sin that we had committed against God.
Psalm 138 too. I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness.
For you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
Amen. So no, you cannot say that we that God had considered us more important than himself.
There is no one greater than God. I appreciate it,
Genevieve. Baby, you got time for one more? One more email? Can you make it? Yeah, one more.
All right. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hughes. Aww. Because see, both our names are in there.
So you got to hang on for one more. Sounds good. I hope you've had a blessed Christmas time. I got this one in January.
Okay. I am writing to wish you a happy new year. Thank you so much for your biblically faithful ministry.
Your podcast is a blessing from which I have learned and continue to learn so much. 2024 is going to be another year of consistent listening for me.
Aww. Thank you so much. I am a very new Christian. For the past few years, to my shame,
I have lived a godless life of immorality, slothfulness, and addiction. I repent of that life and I have dedicated or I have decided to put it to death and learn to mortify my sin at its root.
Amen to that. That's Romans 8, Colossians 3, put to death what is earthly in you. I have a whole new lifetime of learning and growing in grace.
Oftentimes the damage that I have inflicted on my soul and relationship seems insurmountable.
I now cling to the atoning work of Christ's blood on the cross as my only possible hope. In the final analysis, the gospel of Jesus Christ is all
I have. I am convicted and convinced of its truth. I cannot quite explain it, but I just know that one day
I will stand before God and give an account this is more true and assured than that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.
You're absolutely right. That's the truth. My conscience forbids me from denying
Christ and his gospel. There is no going back for me. What would be your advice as to where to begin for a man wanting to leave such a godless life?
How can I possibly salvage a godly life out of the depraved and infantilized life that I had been living?
How may I become a godly man? How may I become truly masculine as God created and defined masculinity?
I'm entering my new life with so many questions. Please keep me in your prayers as I put off the old man and put on the new.
Again, thank you for your wonderful ministry. Your podcasts and sermons have been pivotal to the growth that I have made so far as a recent convert.
I pray that God willing, you will be able to continue your ministry for many years to come. God bless and keep you and your children through 2024 and beyond with all my love, your brother in Christ, Thomas.
Well, Thomas, I think your question goes really great with what we've been talking about regarding membership last week and this week.
This is where being a member of a church and being plugged in with those men and being committed to those men and opening your heart up to those men.
And studying. Yes, studying together with them, letting them pour into you, having them let you lean on them.
This will be huge and pivotal for the growth that you want to make, especially when it comes to growing in masculinity, when it comes to knowing what a godly man should look like, growing in godliness.
You need help here. Yes. And as I've often quoted from Tim Challies, sanctification, growing in holiness, growing in godliness, it is a community project.
This is something that we need each other to do. I mean, you just think about the fruit of the spirit.
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self -control.
And you can't do any of that. You can't do any of that by yourself. Right. You've got to have people around you to do that.
Now, maybe you could say self -control, you need to get yourself under control, but even there, you've got to have the accountability to be able to keep you in control.
Love? You can't just love by yourself. You've got to have people to love. Joy? Experiencing joy together?
Patience? You've got to have people to frustrate you so you can be patient with them.
That's commitment to a church body right there. I mean, these things, you've got to have brothers around you that you can grow in these things with.
In order to obey the one another's in the New Testament, you've got to have a body of Christ.
And this is where being a member of a church, and especially being able to find those good godly men, that you can be personable with and let them disciple you and grow you in the
Lord, studying the scriptures together, being conformed to the image of Christ that we have there written in the Word.
This is where that church body becomes so vital to your spiritual growth.
Yeah, and I know whenever we've had particularly new converts come into the church, and they're just hungry for the
Word and hungry to know, and it's revitalizing for the church too.
It's exciting, because then you get to feel that all over again. So maybe, you know, once you get comfortable in your church, you can kind of feel out who will keep you the most accountable, and who will give you the straight truth and take you straight to the
Word whenever you have a problem or a question. And you can pair up with that gentleman.
And you know, Romans 15 -1 tells us, we who are strong ought to bear with the weaknesses of those who don't have strength, and not just to please ourselves.
Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Right. And this goes back to the question that Genevieve asked a moment ago, because the very next verse, verse 3, for even
Christ did not please himself, but as it is written the reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.
So Christ giving of himself for our benefit. For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction so that through the perseverance and the encouragement of the
Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God of perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And so if you are mature in the faith you got somebody that comes into your church who is less mature.
Don't be looking down on them. Right. Don't be thinking to yourself, they belong in that group over there, with the less mature
Christians. We can't be thinking in such cliquish ways. No. James 2 says that because of our love for the
Lord Jesus Christ, we are not to think of one another with partiality. Christ doesn't show partiality to us.
Right. And so we must not show it to one another. Instead recognizing if we're mature and there's somebody who is immature, the role that we have been given in the church is to help those who are weak.
Help to build them up. So look for those who are in need of more sanctification, more spiritual growth and humble yourself and be able to build them up in love.
And I would just also recommend being in the word a lot. Of course. A lot, a lot.
Yes. Which we should anyway. And doing that together. But yes. Yeah, we do that together as the body of Christ. Well babe, we're really coming up on pretty close to an hour here.
Alright. Here's what I want to do. I want to pray for Thomas. Okay. So as he has requested prayer he says he's praying for us,
I want to pray for him. Sure. So we'll conclude with that and let's see here.
I'm not going to get to the Alistair Begg stuff this week. Let's wait until next week. Okay. Because you managed to tough it out.
I did. You made it with me for the length of a whole episode just about. Yay! I want to read a poll question here because this still kind of has to do with church membership and I thought of this when
Genevieve said that she drives an hour to get to church. I had asked this poll question on X.
How far away is the church that you attend given in minutes of driving time? I don't think it was
Genevieve that said she was an hour. Oh yeah, you're right. It was Caroline. She said that that's right. Her and her husband drove an hour to church and so they would listen to the
Q &A. Right. Yeah, you got that right. Genevieve's out in the middle of nowhere. Right. But it sounds like Caroline and John are too.
Yes. Have to drive an hour to church. Anyway, so I asked this question about how far away is the church you attend given in minutes of driving time?
And I said minutes of driving time because I figured I had some international listeners that are probably measuring kilometers.
Oh, I was thinking more like Kansas 15 minutes is much further than L .A.
15 minutes. Oh yeah, right, right. Drive a mile in L .A. will take you 15 minutes or more than that.
Or more. Yeah. So I said less than 15 minutes, 20 to 30 minutes, and there's gaps in here because I said about.
I had a couple of friends of mine that were making fun of me on there or like, what if I'm like 18 minutes?
You didn't include a category for me. I said about how far. Yeah. About. What would you consider that? That's right.
So less than 15 minutes, 20 to 30 minutes, 40 to 50 minutes, or about an hour or more.
There were over 1 ,000 votes. Oh wow. 1 ,011 votes. 54 .6
% said less than 15 minutes. Oh wow. Okay. So that was the vast majority.
Yeah, that's surprising. That would be, is that us? It takes us, yeah,
I think we're a little less than 15 minutes. It's about that. The church is a little outside of town for us. So it's not like right in our neighborhood.
But it's about, it's less than 15 minutes for us to get there. Next 20 to 30 minutes, that was 34 .9%.
Oh wow. Said 20 to 30 minutes. Okay. 7 .5 % said 40 to 50 minutes.
And we even have some people at our church that drive at least that far. Yep. To come. Yeah, we do. To come to our church.
And then 3 % said about an hour or more. Oh. Honestly, I think those percentages came out about like I thought they would.
Oh really? So less than 15 minutes, over half. And then the next half was divided between the other three and kind of descending order.
I was surprised there's so many that live that close. That's nice. Yeah. What a blessing.
Yes. That you have a good church that is that close. Yeah. But as Charles Spurgeon said, go where the gospel is preached and go often.
We had somebody come to our church once that said, well the reason why I'm driving so far to come to church is because Paul Washer said, don't go to the church that's closest.
Don't go to the church that's closest in distance. Go to the church that's closest to the gospel or something like that.
To the Bible. Yeah, closest to the Bible. And so that's why she was driving the distance that she did to our church, which that was a blessing.
I hate that you have to drive so far. I know, right? But I understand.
I understand wanting to go a long way to be able to attend a good church. I did it when
I lived in with my folks. Yeah, that's true. We drove about 50 minutes to get to church. That's right.
And we went like three times a week if not four. Yeah. And that's how we met. Yeah, it is.
Alright, in conclusion here, I actually have some bread next to me here. My wife made this bread. Uh -huh.
And it's been a long time since we've done a taste test thing. It was a bread maker. Yeah, in a bread maker.
Not like an oven done. Not oven bread. I didn't have to knead it, in other words.
That's right, it does the whole spinning thing and that whole thing. It does. We haven't done like a taste test thing on the podcast in a long time.
At least not this year. Yeah, that's true. Hasn't been this year. Nobody's sent us any food lately.
Nothing new to try on the podcast. Nothing beats trying the Vegemite. Oh my goodness, that was awesome.
That was disgusting. She says awesome, I say awful. Yeah. Appreciate whoever sent that to us, but it was gross.
So here we go. I'm going to try some of your bread here. Should I mention that your first one didn't come out so great?
Oh, go ahead, yeah. Oh, it was terrible. How did that happen? Okay, so I think I figured it out, but I didn't know if it would make a big of a difference or not.
So what I did was I heated up water, because the water in the desert is not good water.
It's not good drinking water. So I heated up water in the teapot and I used that and I waited a little bit for it to cool off some, but apparently
I didn't wait enough. And so I put the quick rise yeast in there and it didn't do anything.
And I was like, maybe it just takes a while, because it said to let it sit for 10 minutes. I'm like, okay. So I added the sugar and everything and still nothing.
I was like, okay, well it didn't do what it was supposed to, but we'll just go ahead and try it. Yeah, I should have scrapped it.
It was so bad. It really was not good. It was like literally a lump. Yeah, it was. It didn't rise.
And so it was just, it was extremely... And it didn't cook all the way through either, because it was so thick.
The kids came and woke me up that morning. They woke me up that morning and they said, daddy, this bread's gross.
Try it. And they kept eating it. They did. They kept eating it going, oh, this is so gross.
They ate the whole thing. Did they really? Oh my goodness. They did.
They were laughing. Some of them really liked it though. That's so funny. They were laughing and harping on how bad it was, and yet they kept eating it.
They ate the whole thing. It was so bad. I tried a little nipple and I was like, oh, and I spit it out. I was like, don't eat that.
And they're like, what? It's fun. I'm like, oh my goodness. That is hilarious. Well, so anyway, so I've got part of the bread here.
I had to cut part of it off, because I couldn't get the whole thing. I just had to.
I had to sample a piece here, because it wouldn't fit in the container otherwise. So here we go.
I'm going to try your bread. But anyway, as you're chomping,
I want to explain to those who aren't familiar with yeast, quick rising yeast
I think is what it's called. You can't have the water too hot. It's got to be like.
Yeah, kill the yeast. Yeah. Yeah, that's what it did. Makes sense.
And then your bread doesn't it just doesn't rise. Well, this is great.
This is a terrific piece of bread. Did I make it well? Yes. I cooled off the water a bit more.
Yeah, this is really good. Now, really, I have to be honest. I had already tried it before.
I'm eating the heel, though. So this is different. I was looking at the heel going, I don't want that to go away.
So I brought it in here with me. Decided I was going to eat a little bit on the air here.
Do people still use the word heel for the ends of the bread? I don't know. Hey, let's make that a question.
OK, so are there various vocabulary words for the ends of bread?
Do you call it a heel or do you call it something else? Because I've never called the ends of like French bread heels.
You know, it's always like the loaf of bread, right? I don't know. I don't know.
I heard somebody the other day. Is that an area thing or is that like an official term? Somebody the other day said something funny about the heels of the waffle fries that will end up in Chick -fil -A fries.
Oh, yes. OK. They had a really funny name for that and I wish I could remember what it was, but they said, when
I become president, these will be outlawed. None of the Chick -fil -A fries will have the heel of the potato.
I have had a lot of those from Chick -fil -A. It happens sometimes. And sometimes they're all right, but other times it's like, who stuck this shoe leather in my
French fries? I think the potatoes are getting smaller. It seems like portion sizes at restaurants are getting smaller and the prices are getting higher.
That's the way things have been. OK, so I said I'm not going to get the Alistair Begg stuff. We won't be able to do that today.
Maybe I'll save that for another time. But let me do say this. Let me say this. So last week I spent more time on it than I intended.
Really, all I intended to do was play Begg's clip and respond to it and then the comment that was made by or read the article from Carl Truman just to explain not necessarily to dig on Begg, but to say, here's why
Christians can't attend a gay wedding. And I think Carl Truman responded to that well with his article.
Since then, I've had some comments from some folks that have come in and I had a comment from one of my own elders.
One of the things I said last week was I hope that Begg will listen to his own elders because he said in the sermon that he had preached on Sunday night a couple of weeks ago that even some of his own pastors didn't agree with the advice that he gave to the grandmother about attending the trans wedding.
And so I said in the process of these things, what I hope should happen is that he would listen to his own elders and maybe he would be convicted to realize that his advice was bad.
And so, I have received counsel from one of my own elders. And following what
I said last week, my elder said to me that he felt like I went a little hard on Begg.
And we don't want to cancel culture each other. Right. And I agree with that. And I tried to make it clear too that I don't think that Begg is a false teacher, that he's unqualified.
I don't think that at all. I wish upon him, I pray for him that he would continue to flourish in the ministry that he has been faithful to do for decades.
Continue to flourish in that. Preaching the gospel. People have come to Christ because of the ministry of Alistair Begg.
And so last week, I really just should have gone as far as saying I disagree with his counsel and just kind of left it at that.
But digging into him the way that I did just went too far. And so,
I apologize for that. And I want to pull back on some of those things that I said about Begg.
I don't have any comment in particular that I'm thinking about that I would say I would pull back. But just to say that I went too hard on it.
And I could have been a little bit softer on it. There's some other things that people have sent me that if time permitting, when we get to next week's episode, maybe
I'll play some of those things and we'll respond to that. But for the time being, I at least wanted to say thank you to those who did push back on me a little bit for some of the stuff that I said last week.
And I appreciate the counsel of my elder who listens to this podcast. And from his vantage point hearing,
I think he went a little hard on Begg. And so, I receive that and I apologize.
I disagree with Begg's counsel. Still think he's a godly minister. Yes. And hope that he continues to flourish in his gospel preaching.
Alright. With that said, that's the end of our episode. If you would like to submit a question to the episode, you can send it to whenweunderstandthetext at gmail .com.
In closing, let's pray for Thomas. Yes, let's. You're getting me to cough too.
Sorry. We're going to pray for Thomas. We're going to pray for the others who had emailed us as well.
Praying for Stephen and the work that he is doing with Wycliffe. For Caroline and John and for Genevieve.
And we thank you for everybody who submitted emails this week. We hope to be able to respond to some more messages next week.
Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you for this opportunity this time to be in your word, to be shaped by your word.
That we might be conformed to the image of Christ. Make us more Christ -like. Grow us in godliness.
And Lord, I want to pray for those who have expressed that very desire. Even here in these emails that we have received.
For Stephen and the work that he is doing with Wycliffe. I pray that you would bless him and his wife. And that he, even in that work and in his travels, would have opportunity to listen to more good
Bible teaching and be able to grow in the word. As he is translating the word.
To be able to deliver it to another group of people on the globe. We pray for Caroline and John. The distance they have to travel to go to a good church.
But we're thankful that they have one. And that they would be blessed in their driving time.
With good conversation and listening to some good podcasts and Bible teaching. I thank you for Genevieve and the message that she sent.
And I pray for her and the work that she's doing in the small church that she's in. In the bush in Alaska. And may they sanctify one another and grow each other.
And that perhaps even her pastor would receive good counsel from her with regards to the way that he interprets particular passages.
I pray for his ministry. Because that's a hard job to do. In a very rural place in the world.
And yet he is committed to those people and giving them the word of God. I pray that he would be blessed to continue to do that.
And we pray for Brother Thomas. As he desires to put off the sin that so easily entangled him.
And grow in the new man that he has become in Christ Jesus. I pray that you give him the strength to squash that sin.
And to endure in the faith that he may grow in godliness and in Christ likeness.
And give him a good group of men that he can be with. Who will challenge him. Who will grow him.
Who will convict his heart. Who will encourage him. That they may grow all the more in Christ together.
Help us do that with one another. With our respective churches. And Lord complete this work that you began in us.
In Christ Jesus. When we attain to glory together in your eternal kingdom.
It's in Jesus name that we pray. Amen. Amen. Oh and I pray for my wife's cough.
That she would feel better. In Jesus name. Amen. Alright.
I'm gonna even though I've already tried this. I'm gonna try some of your bread on air.
Oh yeah? Yeah. My headphones aren't very loud.
How are yours? I don't know. I gotta put them back on. Check. They're fine.
Don't make mine any louder. I had a hard time with my head today.
A hard head? You had a hard head today? I did. Yep. Well good news.
You only gotta do half of this today. I guess. We're at Psalm 9 and we read through 10 verses and we got the other 10 to go.
Okay. Have I really been on two weeks now in a row? That's right.
Two weeks in a row. Yay! Look at you. This will technically be a week and a half in a row.
True. Alright. Alrighty -dighty. Oh don't do that.
You used to think that was funny. I know but it hurts my head. Not when I have a headache. Not when
I have a headache and I have earphones. Alright. Whenever you're ready.