Should My Pastor Run My Life?

Should My Pastor Run My Life? LIVE Q&A for June 1, 2023

Should My Pastor Run My Life?

From Grace via email:

Hi, my name is Grace and I have a question. To what extent can a shepherd or leader “interfere” in the lives of the sheep?

This is a very good question to ask, but it isn’t an easy question to answer, because a lot depends on what someone means by “interfere.”

Some of it depends on the context of your relationship with your pastor. Trust is earned over long periods of faithfulness – not perfection, but faithfulness.

If someone walks up to me and says, “I’m a pastor, let me tell you what to do and you must obey my word because it’s the word of the Lord,” obviously that’s not going anywhere. The same is true if that persons says they are an apostle or a prophet.

If I’m fairly new to a church, and don’t have much familiarity with the pastor or the church, that will affect how much trust I have in that pastor and how much I might feel that I would do what he says.

If a man has been a godly pastor (not perfect, but godly) for 10 years in my life and I have seen and received from his ministry week in and week out, then that gives a lot more weight to what he says.

There really is something to Hebrews 13:17:

Hebrews 13:17

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

We need people in our life to whom we will be accountable. We need people who when they tell us “You’re wrong in this” that I will listen to them carefully and consider what they say even if I hadn’t thought I was wrong before.

However, this comes with two big additional factors:

  1. A pastor’s true authority flows from God’s word.

If a pastor tells you what to do – if he “interferes in your life” – there must be a firm Biblical basis for it. As a pastor, I’ve dealt with people in the sin of adultery, and have had the response from them either in their words or in the attitude: “Who are you to interfere with my life?”

The answer is, “I’m nobody. But God’s word is true. Your adultery is sin, and I don’t hesitate to confront you with it and tell you to repent.”

The problem, of course, is that God’s word isn’t as clear on everything as it is on something like adultery.

The Bible tells us to spend our money wisely, to steward it for God’s glory. Does the pastor have the right to tell you “Don’t buy that car”? Does he have the right to carry out church discipline to you if you do buy the car?

The Bible gives us general commands to walk in wisdom and to glorify the Lord. Does the pastor have the right to tell you “Don’t go to that college”? Does he have the right to carry out church discipline against you if you do go to that college?

I think that those are clear examples of overstepping bounds. The pastor has the right to say, “Grace, the Bible says that you should steward your money wisely – please remember that when you go car shopping.” But then he leaves it at that, and genuinely leaves it.

I believe that for a pastor to command such things is overstepping the authority God has given them, and it is lording it over God’s people, which pastors are strictly commanded not to do.

1 Peter 5:2–3

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock

When pastors act as lords over God’s people, they are in error. Again, I can see the person whom I confront with adultery yelling, “You’re lording over me!” and that of course is nonsense. Yet there are definite ways that pastors can lord it over their people, and God doesn’t recognize the pastor’s authority to do such things.

  1. No person has dominion over your faith.

2 Corinthians 1:24

Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.

Paul was careful to point out that he was no one’s lord in the church, even though he was an apostle.

It has been said that God reserves three things to Himself:

  • First, to make something of nothing.
  • Second, to know future events.
  • Third, to have dominion over men’s consciences.

Sadly, there are far too many that are entirely willing to take dominion over other believers in a manner that Paul would not.

“The SACRED WRITINGS, and they alone, contain what is necessary to faith and practice; and that no man, number of men, society, church, council, presbytery, consistory, or conclave, has dominion over any man’s faith. The word of God alone is his rule, and to its Author he is to give account of the use he has made of it.” (Adam Clarke)

Fellow workers for your joy: Instead of seeing himself as some kind of “lord” over the Corinthian Christians, Paul gives a great description of what ministers should be: fellow workers. Leaders among Christians should work alongside their people to increase their joy.

We should respect and value pastors, especially those who have shown themselves to be godly servants (again, no perfect). But that doesn’t mean that they have dominion over our faith.

  • The pastor should not run your life.
  • The pastor has the right to bring the truth of God’s word to your life.
  • The pastor shouldn’t “interfere” except where God’s word is really clear, and the issue is plain.

Why will the new Jerusalem need walls and a gate? Is it to guard the precious jewels?

I don’t think that the New Jerusalem needs walls for the sake of protection against attackers. God can rebuke them with just a word, so there would be no real threat. The first century audience who first read the book of Revelation understood that no proper city would be without walls and a gate. Walls and a gate meant that it couldn’t successfully be attacked or conquered. No proper city lacked them. And if anything, the New Jerusalem is a proper city.

In the modern world, since the invention and implementation of gunpowder into modern warfare, that really hasn’t been the same. Modern cities don’t need walls or gates to protect themselves. Walls and gates around the city are pretty much useless. But until the more modern inventions and implementations of gunpowder, every proper city had walls and gates as part of the defense of the city.

So, I think God wants to show us that the New Jerusalem is indeed a proper city. It really belongs. It’s an important city. And as such, it has walls and gates.

Do we sin when we worry?

Do we sin when we worry? I’m 60 years old and have been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. I’ve been a closet Christian all my adult life and I’m scared I’m not going to heaven. Will you please pray for me?

I’m going to pray for you right now. If you’re listening to this later, join me and pray for Tommy who has lung cancer. Father in heaven, we pray for Tommy. Lord, we pray that You would help him with this terrible diagnosis of lung cancer. We know that You are a God who heals. We know that You have the full ability to heal, sometimes through medical intervention, and sometimes just through a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. But we also know that the ultimate healing for every one of us, body, soul, and spirit, is found in the resurrection of our body. I pray God, that You would give Tommy a genuine assurance of his salvation. Lord, if he’s not right with you by faith in Jesus Christ – by trusting in who Jesus is and what Jesus did to save him, especially in the work Jesus did at the cross to pay for our sins, and His resurrection to triumph over death – if Tommy hasn’t put his trust in Jesus that way, I pray that You would lead him to do so, and that You would give him a genuine assurance of his salvation. Lord, bless Tommy, and show Your goodness to him in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Regarding your question, is it a sin to worry? Well, it certainly can be a sin to worry. I don’t know if every instance that we would call worry is a sin. There are times when we have legitimate concerns, but it’s not so much worry. It’s prudent sometimes to say, “Hey, something could go wrong here. I want to do everything I can.”

But there are certainly other situations when our worry and anxiety is a sin. We’re choosing not to look at God’s promises. We’re choosing not to look at God’s assurance that He would be with us in such things. I can’t say specifically whether or not your instance of worry is sin, but I would just tell you to bring it before God. There’s a beautiful prayer in Psalm 139:23-24 that has suited me very well throughout life: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts. See if there be any wicked or anxious way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

That’s my prayer for you, that if there is a sinful worry in your life, God would help you to see it, and that you’d confess that sin before the Lord and find forgiveness in the generous mercy of God. Blessings to you.

In 1 John 2:16, what does “the pride of life” of mean?

1 John 2:16 – For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

Here’s a link to my verse-by-verse commentary on 1 John 2.

You’re asking a very good question. What is the pride of life? I don’t know if there’s a difference between the pride of life and any other kind of pride. 1 John 2:16 describes the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Enlisting those aspects of the world’s influence against believers, John may have been thinking of the very first pursuit of worldliness and rebellion against God, experienced by Eve in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3 says that when she looked upon the fruit, she saw that it was good for food; that’s the lust of the flesh. It also says that the fruit was pleasant to her eyes; that’s the lust of the eyes. And it says she saw that it was desirable to make one wise, that it would, in some way, make her smart; any Bible interpreters see this as an appeal to the pride of life.

It’s any expression of pride, of wanting to be noted, to be exalted, or to be preferred above other people. I wouldn’t make a big difference between general pride and the pride of life. I think it’s a powerful and poetic way to describe the sin of pride.

Are the people who God gave up to a debased, reprobate mind unable to be saved (Romans 1:24-28)?

Can the people of Romans 1:24-28 (the ones God gave up to a debased / reprobate mind) be saved? There’s a teaching going around that says they are unsavable.

Romans 1:24-28 – Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.

It is true that they can’t be saved if they remain in the place having a debased mind, rejecting and resisting God. It’s true if they remain in the uncleanness described in verse 24, if they continue to dishonor their bodies among themselves, if they continue to exchange the truth of the God and embrace a lie, if they continue to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator, or if they continue to practice homosexual behavior. You could just go down the list. If a person stays and remains in all those things and does not repent, they can’t be saved.

Now, can such a person who practices every one of those sins be changed by the power of God, be forgiven their sins, gain entrance into eternal life, and begin a walk of day by day becoming more and more set apart to God’s purpose and obedience? Absolutely, yes. I don’t believe in repentance is impossible for anyone, except for the person who won’t repent. God can do amazing, transformative work in the lives of people. We shouldn’t give up on people; we should pray for them. We should pray that God would bring powerful changes toward godliness and holiness in their lives.

I wouldn’t say that it is impossible for such a person to repent, be changed and to honor and serve God. But if the people described in those verses do not repent, then yes, absolutely, their salvation is in question. I use that phrasing very deliberately: their salvation is in question. At the end of the day, we can’t tell who is truly saved and who is not. There’s not a green light on the forehead of everybody who’s truly saved, and a red light on everybody who’s not saved. It just doesn’t work like that.

We can discern, we can judge, we can look at what is there in the outward appearance, but ultimately, God only knows. And God declares to us by general principle in and through His Word how we should understand these things. I would not question God’s ability to lead any one of those people to true repentance.

How do you minister to people that do not believe or are of a different faith, without shoving the Bible down their throat?

First of all, sometimes you may be accused of shoving the Bible down somebody’s throat without doing it at all. Sometimes people come under great conviction from the Holy Spirit. As part of that conviction of the Holy Spirit, they start blaming other people for making them feel guilty, when really, that person did nothing to make them feel guilty.

I heard a story from a preacher once. I don’t know if the story was true, but I assumed it was. They had a believing friend who played golf. This friend saw another man coming in very, very angry after finishing a round of golf. He asked the man, “Why are you so angry?” He answered, “You’ll never believe it. Billy Graham was in my foursome playing golf. For 18 holes, Billy Graham was shoving the gospel down my throat. He just wouldn’t let up.”

The believing friend was kind of surprised by this, because he didn’t think Billy Graham would be so rude as to nonstop evangelize. So, he responded, “Wow, I’m surprised. Can you tell me what Billy Graham said to you that was so offensive?” The man who was angry was at least honest enough to stop and think a moment. And he said, “Well, he actually didn’t say anything. I just felt really bad throughout the whole round.” That’s the story. But it’s an illustration of something true: sometimes people will accuse a believer of shoving religion or faith or the Bible down their throat when the accusation isn’t true at all. So that’s one thing to remember.

Secondly, I would encourage you to talk naturally about the Bible and what God is doing in your life. Just last night, I taught at Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara’s midweek service. I preached a sermon through 1 Chronicles 16. Most of that chapter is a beautiful psalm of thanksgiving from David. In one verse in that psalm of thanksgiving, David says that we should talk of all God’s wondrous works. So, I encourage you to do the same. Talk about what God’s doing in your life.

One of the big mistakes we make is thinking that we can only talk about what God’s doing in our life with people who already believe. It’s totally okay for you to talk about what God’s doing in your life with people who don’t believe. Maybe that will make them curious. Again, you’re not telling them they have to believe anything. You’re just saying, “Let me tell you how God answered that prayer. Let me tell you how God really came through. Let me tell you how God blessed me.” I think that’s a very effective way to share our faith, by simply talking about what God is doing in our life.

In review, first of all, don’t believe every accusation of shoving religion down somebody’s throat. Secondly, talk about what God’s doing in your life in a very natural way. Thirdly, it’s fine to speak the words of Scripture without necessarily quoting chapter and verse. For example, it’s pretty natural to say, “I believe that God loves the world and that He gave Jesus Christ to save the world.” I’m paraphrasing some of the thoughts from John 3:16, but I don’t have to quote the exact verse and give the reference to let people know I’m bringing God’s Word into the conversation. That’s a very natural way to do it.

What verses would you use to explain that some prophecies have dual fulfillment?

What verses would you use to prove to Judaists that some prophecies are partially fulfilled in the near term, and also fully fulfilled later? They miss Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, etc. because of this.

One verse that comes to my mind immediately is Isaiah 61:1-2. Jesus quotes this passage very directly towards the beginning of His ministry, at the synagogue in Nazareth, saying “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me to preach freedom to the captives,” and so on. What’s interesting is that Jesus stopped in His reading right before talking about the great and terrible day of the Lord, because that belongs to the Second Coming of Jesus, not to the first coming of Jesus. This and the verses you listed are examples of prophecies which have a near fulfillment and an ultimate fulfillment. That’s just some of what comes to mind.

During the Tribulation, if someone has already received the mark of the beast and then truly repents, will they be able to be saved?

I’m going to give you an answer that I’m not 100% convinced of, because I think there’s a little bit of evidence for an answer to that question. On the one hand, the Book of Revelation says that anybody who has the mark won’t be saved. At the same time, the Bible seems to indicate that there’s only one unforgivable sin, and that’s the sin of a hardened rejection of Jesus Christ.

So, to use your phrasing, I think that if someone has already received the mark of the beast, and then truly repents, I would say yes, they can be saved. And I would say that maybe the mark of their genuine repentance would be that they lay down their life in sacrifice as martyrs during the Tribulation. I think that’s definitely a possibility.

Why does 1 Kings 15 say Asa did good “in the eyes of the Lord” although he didn’t remove the high places?

In 1 Kings 15:11 it says Asa did good “in the eyes of the Lord” yet the other verses say he didn’t remove the high places – can you explain why verse 11 says he did good?

1 Kings 15:11 – Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did his father David.

1 Kings 15:14 – But the high places were not removed. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was loyal to the LORD all his days.

Well, it’s pretty simple. Sometimes the Bible speaks of a person’s goodness and righteousness in relative terms. 1 Kings 15:11 says that Asa did good in the eyes of the Lord. But the Bible also says that no man is good, and that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, so how can it say that he did any good? It’s because sometimes the Bible talks about these things in an absolute sense, in comparison to God, and other times it talks about goodness and righteousness in a relative sense, in comparison to other people.

In this passage, Asa is simply compared to other peoples, particularly other kings of Judah. Compared to other kings, he did good. In fact, 1 Kings 15:14, says that the high places were not removed, nevertheless, Asa’s heart was loyal to the Lord all his days. Could he have reformed more? Yes, he could have. But what he did was good, and it was seen by God and honored before the Lord. It’s really speaking in that relative sense. There were only a few kings of Judah who removed the high places. And those guys get a lot of credit, because they really obeyed God in some radical ways which other kings of Judah were not willing to do.

​When Christians die, do we receive our resurrected body immediately or is our spirit bodiless until Christ’s second coming?

The answer that question is yes. I don’t really know; it could be one or the other. If a Christian receives their resurrection body immediately, it’s because of the relation between time and eternity. The Bible describes the resurrected righteous receiving their resurrection bodies in the future tense. Paul talked about that in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 as a future event. I certainly believe that it’s still a future event on God’s calendar. From an earthly perspective, that day is still future, even for a wonderful saint in the Lord who died 500 years ago.

However, we don’t know exactly how this timebound world interacts with eternity. It’s just a speculation, but maybe when somebody passes from this world to heaven, it is the resurrection for them immediately. It seems to be the future for us, but they are passing from time into eternity, so it’s the immediate now. That’s a possibility. Or, as you suggested, it could be that they have some kind of temporary body, or they have a bodiless spiritual existence with God right now in heaven before the resurrection. I really can’t say which it will be. I slightly favor the idea of immediate resurrection. For those of us on earth, the resurrection is still in the future, but for those entering eternity, it’s immediate. But I am only conjecturing, and it could be different for those who are in heaven now.

When 1 Timothy 5:10 mentions widows washing the feet of saints, is it a literal command or generally about serving?

It means to serve the saints, but to serve the saints humbly. It’s not just to serve them, but to serve them with the kind of things like washing feet. So, if there was a dear old widow in the church who had been such a servant towards other people, and really helped them, but never happened to wash somebody’s feet, Paul wasn’t saying that didn’t count. No. The idea there is humble service. It really means to serve the saints, and to do it in a humble way.

​Could you clarify “habitual sinning”? I’m a Christian but I give into sinful habits more than occasionally.

In your question, I like the word struggle. It sounds to me like you’re fighting the battle against sin. I think that’s what God expects us to do: to fight the battle against sin, relying on Him, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit, letting the power of the Word of God and the Spirit of God fill our lives.

Where I get concerned is when someone who professes to be a believer makes a peace treaty with sin. They say, “You know what, I’m not going to struggle against this anymore. I’m just going to do it. I’m just going to give into it. In fact, I’m going to proclaim it, defend it, and be proud of it.” I think that professed believer is in a lot of trouble spiritually. They shouldn’t be in that place. They shouldn’t be in the place of defending, protecting, proclaiming, and being proud of their sin or making endless excuses for their sin.

I think passages such as in 1 John and elsewhere, which warn against the salvation of those who are habitual sinners, mostly have to do with the attitude of heart toward our sin. It certainly has to do with the exercise of sin as well; I’m not trying to eliminate that. But even more, it has to do with the attitude of heart toward those sins.

Keep struggling. Keep relying on the Lord. Keep fighting against your sin. As you trust in God and walk with Him, God will bring victory. But don’t ever give up in that battle for the faith. God bless you.

​As a Bible commentator yourself, what is your opinion of Matthew Henry?

Just between you and me, I don’t care for Matthew Henry. He’s not a commentator that I really get a lot out of. I find Matthew Henry to be way too wordy. Part of that is just the literary style in which they wrote in that day; I don’t care for it. I know there are some real gems in Matthew Henry. I think he’s a reliable commentator. I think there’s a lot of truth, but his writing style and presentation doesn’t do a lot for me. I really don’t read Matthew Henry.

I understand that not every commentary connects with every person. So, if my verse-by-verse commentary on the Bible doesn’t connect with somebody, or if they really don’t care for at all, I’m not offended by that. A great commentator like Matthew Henry may not just really connect or click with me, but I know he does for a lot of others. But since you’re asking me, I don’t really care that much for Matthew Henry.

Do you believe in “once saved, always saved”?

I don’t like the phrasing, “Once saved, always saved.” I don’t care for that phrasing of it at all. It seems to imply that if a person at some time in their life made some kind of profession of faith, yet lived the rest of their life in a manner that didn’t indicate any real relationship with God whatsoever, that they had nothing to worry about. It’s as if they made a profession of faith once and it overrules anything else.  Now, I know that lots of people use that phrase and don’t understand it that way. But at least to me, that’s what it implies.

How about an alternative phrase? How about, “Truly saved, always saved”? I don’t have a problem with that. Listen, if a person is really born again by God’s Spirit, then they’re good. They will persevere, and they will stay faithful to the Lord in some way or another, even to the end. I don’t doubt that at all. But I don’t care much for the phrase, “Once saved, always saved.”

Ananias and Sapphira died instantly for their sin; did they still go to heaven?

In your commentary on Acts 5, you said that although Ananias and Sapphira died instantly because they tried to deceive the congregation and lied to the ​Holy spirit & God, this does not mean that they will not go to Heaven. Can you elaborate on this?

1 Corinthians 11 describes the conduct that God’s people should have at the Lord’s Supper. 1 John 5 speaks about the sin which leads to death. These passages seem to indicate that God may remove believers from the earth and take them to heaven because they’ve become so compromised or even unusable in God’s great plan. I think that’s certainly a possibility with Ananias and Sapphira.

I base this on what Paul says about those believers who have fallen asleep, in 1 Corinthians 11, talking about the Lord’s Supper, and about those who have sinned unto death, in 1 John 5. To me, those are indications that even if God disciplines a believer with death, it does not necessarily mean that they aren’t saved. It just means that God has basically said, “My usefulness for you on this earth is done; come on home.”

We can’t really say for certain if Ananias and Sapphira went to heaven. It could be that they were false believers through and through. That’s a possibility. But I think we should at least accept the possibility that they were genuine believers who were in significant sin, according to the pattern of those who were disgracing the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11 and had fallen asleep, and the pattern of those who had sinned unto death in 1 John 5. Sometimes God brings His people as a correction, as a discipline.

Now, I’m very careful about those words. Because there are some believers who have been deceived by Satan to commit suicide because they believe God no longer has a purpose for them on this earth. Friends, the principle that God may bring home an erring believer in discipline would never ever justify a believer taking their own life. Never. If God wants to bring me home to heaven, He has 10,000 ways to do it that don’t involve my participation at all. I don’t need to add my hand to that, which would be sin. I don’t believe suicide is the unforgivable sin, but it is a sin of taking life that belongs to God alone.

Why haven’t other angels rebelled like Satan?

We believe that other angels have rebelled. Revelation 12:4 says that Satan drew with him a third of the stars of heaven. So, it’s believed that one third of the angelic beings joined Satan in his rebellion.

​Are single, never-married women with no children in the same category as widows? Is the community called on to support them in the exact same way as widows? (1 Timothy 5)

No, because not every widow was a true widow in Paul’s eyes. In 1 Timothy 5, Paul described true widows as those who could not support themselves, who had no family and no other resources, and who needed the support of the church. In that sense, it could theoretically include a single childless woman who had never been married. But the key thing is that she’s godly, she serves the church, and she has no other means of support. I wouldn’t put every single woman with no children in that same category, because many of them are fully capable of supporting themselves, as Paul points out there in 1 Timothy 5.

Can we have days that we don’t sin?

Yes and no. I believe we can have days when we have no conscious sin against God, and no conscious way that we disobey Him. But here’s the thing, especially if we want to take this definition of sin from Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We have never lived a day on this earth in which we haven’t in some way fallen short of the glory of God. So, it really just depends on how big you want to make your definition of sin. If you want to define sin as conscious, chosen rebellion and disobedience against God, yes, I believe you could have a day free from that kind of sin. But if sin is any way in which we fall short of God’s perfection, then there’s never been a day that we have not sinned.

Can you speak about the open door that John saw in Revelation 1 & 4? Are there other Scriptures speaking of open doors, especially to Heaven?

I’m not immediately aware of other Scriptures that speak of an open door to heaven. In Revelation 3, Jesus makes mention of an open door to the church of Philadelphia. But really, I don’t think there’s too much spiritualizing in that. It’s basically just an open entrance, a free entrance, a welcoming entrance for John into heaven where he had this vision. He didn’t have to knock, or pry open the door, or pick the lock; the door was open to him.

Should pastors be available for counsel or biblical questions, or are some not gifted to counsel?

Some pastors are more gifted to counsel than others. But I don’t think you can have a pastor who has no gift or ability to counsel. To be a pastor is to be a shepherd. It’s to take care of the flock of God.

From my own life and ministry experience, I know that some people who are called to be pastors are more gifted in counseling and one-on-one kind of ministry than others. But I think every pastor should be able to counsel and should be able to speak with others as it would fit in the broad picture of his ministry.

If a pastor has the responsibility to preach and teach God’s word, he’s going to need some time to prepare to do that. If his time is taken up all week long in counseling, so that he can never give attention to that ministry, then something’s wrong. Should pastors in general should be available to counsel? Yes. Do all pastors have some kind of gift or calling to counsel? Yes, but certainly some more than others.

​Is Satan cast out of heaven during the Tribulation, or is his fall the beginning of it?

I believe Revelation 12 is referring to the casting out of Satan during the Tribulation. Check out my commentary on Revelation 12. Starting in verse 9, I speak of the four falls of Satan, which is something I learned from Donald Gray Barnhouse’s commentary.

I’m a housewife. How can I serve the Lord by serving my unbeliever husband and small kids? Nothing feels like it’s enough, it’s frustrating, and the world thinks I’m a loser.

Dear sister, you’re not a loser. You’re doing the Lord’s work. You’re doing something that nobody on Earth can do, to care for your family in the way God has called you to do.

I don’t know what it is that’s frustrating to you in your calling as a homemaker; I can imagine it’s many things. Maybe it has to do with the taking care of the kids, and you don’t feel you’re as gifted in that as you’d like to be. Maybe it has to do with things around the house, or the ability to teach and train your children. Whatever it may be, I know it’s easy to say or think that other people are better at these things. But nobody’s better at really ministering to your children in your family like you are. You have a precious and important calling before the Lord, and you are serving Lord.

Even though it feels overwhelming right now, that’s not going to last. Your kids are going to grow up, and you’re going to look back and feel that the time went so fast. I know it’s not feeling fast right now. It seems like everything is in slow motion, and everything takes forever. But it’s amazing, once you get on the other side of it, you’ll look back and go, “That happened so quickly.”

Now is the time that you have with those children. That is never going to come again. Be encouraged. Let the Lord strengthen you and redouble your heart and your efforts. Let God continue to use you in the unique ministry that you alone have. I don’t mind agreeing with you that probably a lot of people in the world think you are a loser, but who cares? Let them think that. The world is wrong about a lot of things. Let God be true, and every man a liar. What you’re doing is Kingdom work. It is glorious before the Lord.

​Should I worry about my dependency on sleeping pills – is this a sin? I have insomnia and have taken them for over 20 years.

Talk to your doctor about it. If your doctor is not worried about it, then I wouldn’t be worried about it. But if your doctor is worried about it, or if you’re hiding things from your doctor, then maybe you need to be concerned about that. But simply talk to your doctor about it. I think that he would have wisdom for you on this. Sometimes it’s difficult for us to perceive such things within ourselves. It’s good for us to get an outside opinion.

Is cessationism unbiblical?

Is cessationism unbiblical? I came out of a charismatic church. It mostly clashed with my discernment my whole life. I’m unsure with modern unbiblical unintelligible tongues.

There are differences of opinion within the Christian world on this, but because you’re asking me, I’ll give my opinion. I believe that cessationism is unbiblical. I believe that the Bible teaches the continuing place of the gifts of the Spirit in the life of the believer and in congregational life today. However, I do not believe that the exercise of such gifts should be made the center of congregational life. The center of congregational life should be the worship of God, the preaching of His Word, public prayer, and the fellowship of the saints. Those are the things that should be the center of congregational life, not the exercise of gifts, such as prophecy or tongues or otherwise. I think this is a mature and biblical way to approach it.

Now you say you’re unsure with modern unbiblical unintelligible tongues. I would thoroughly agree with you that there are some people who babble and call it tongues. It’s absolutely not right. They shouldn’t do that. But just because a tongue is unintelligible doesn’t mean that it’s not from God. The Bible clearly says that when someone speaks in an unknown tongue, it is unintelligible to the people around them, and cannot be understood without supernatural interpretation.

Nobody wants unbiblical tongues. There are people who fake the gift of tongues. But unintelligible should not be the measure for the validity of the gift of tongues, because the Bible very clearly says that tongues will be unintelligible, unless they are supernaturally interpreted by another gift of the Holy Spirit.

So again, I believe cessationism is unbiblical. There is so much charismatic excess and stupidity and goofiness out there; I get why people are Cessationist. I get that instinct. But I just don’t think that’s what the Bible teaches.