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Watch 2022 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Pets, Persecution, and Financial Provision

John Bradshaw - Pets, Persecution, and Financial Provision

John Bradshaw - Pets, Persecution, and Financial Provision
TOPICS: Line Upon Line

John Bradshaw: Welcome to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. I'm joined by Wes Peppers from It Is Written. We have the good fortune of having the opportunity to answer Bible questions that have been submitted by It Is Written viewers and Bible students. Wes, welcome, thanks for being here.

Wes Peppers: Thanks, Pastor John. Great to be here as always.

John Bradshaw: Always good, answering questions is good.

Wes Peppers: That's right.

John Bradshaw: We have Bible students. People are searching. We wanna encourage you: Dig into the Bible. Quick question, I hadn't planned to ask you this question. One simple Bible study tip you would give to somebody, they wanna know how to study their Bible more effectively. What's one hint you'd offer?

Wes Peppers: I would study...pick a topic, pick salvation, pick the Sabbath, pick whatever you want, go through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation... you can use a Bible software; you can use a concordance...


...and see what does the Bible say about all that, about that subject throughout the whole Scripture. And it's a powerful study. You can do simple topics, like the love of God or whatever, and you really gain a lot of knowledge through that. I've done that many times, and it's been very powerful for me.

Amen, amen, thanks for that. Hey, Damian writes, "Revelation 22:15 states, there will be 'dogs and sorcerers' outside the holy city.... Are these the same dogs that we keep as pets"? Then he asks, "Are dogs unclean to keep as pets"? So outside the city in Revelation...are these dogs?

Well, no. The Bible talks about them being dogs, but it's really referring to people.


Dogs are unclean to eat. Are they unclean to keep as pets? No, I don't think so.


And what it's referring to here, it's a symbolic term talking about people who are clinging to sin. It's people that are outside the city...


...people that are lost, not dogs. So is it wrong to have a dog as a pet, Damian? No, I don't think so; the Bible doesn't say that at all. In fact, God created dogs.

It's okay to have a dog around.


People are unclean.

People are unclean.

And you've got people around you all the time, so...


...a little perspective for you.

That's true.

Here we go, next question is from... is it the question from Leona? I think it is.

Leona, that's right.

"In Psalms the Word says His angels will watch over you so that your foot shall not stumble, yet elsewhere the Word [of God] says all who are worshipers of God will be persecuted, thrown in jail, or worse! Which is [it]"? All right, so are the angels gonna protect you, or are they not? Well, the answer is yes. The answer is yes. Sure, they're gonna protect you. But the truth of the matter is there are gonna be times that you slip into an unfortunate circumstance. No Christian has been guaranteed that we'll never have trouble. In fact, we have been promised trials in the Bible. We are all subject to death. Being a believer doesn't change or prevent that. Something that I think it's important to keep in mind. Here was old grandpa, and he lived to be 84, and he got in a car accident and died. And the family are angry with God, wanting to know, "Why didn't You protect him"? I can understand your disappointment, but God did pretty well protecting Grandpa for 84 years.


All he ever did once was break a toe when he fell off a horse.


Otherwise, there was 84 years of protection. The point being, when we have these moments when the ball bounces the wrong way, they shouldn't overshadow the years and years and years and years... in fact, Satan would snuff our lives out now if God just stepped back and gave him free rein. So we're always being protected. The angels are watching over us to keep us in God's ways. know, that's what the verse says: "He shall give His angel charge [of] you, to keep you in all [of]"... that's God's ways.


Sometimes we end up in strife because some of the things we...God did not suggest that you should drive at 125 miles an hour without a seatbelt.

Mm-hmm. Presumption.


Which is a sin.


And really, there's no verse that, in the Bible, that says God will never keep you from trouble. I mean, there's trouble in this world. This world is trouble. But what it does say is that while there may be trouble on the outside at times, there can be peace on the inside; He can give us that. And so He can carry us through the trouble. And He uses, sometimes, trouble to change our hearts.


And so sometimes a little bit of trouble is actually good for us; it's not necessarily bad. And sometimes what seems to us like a very big trouble was the little trouble that God sent to prevent us from having the really big trouble.

Yeah, amen. Yeah, for sure.


We can trust God and the way He works.

We can. that's right.

Yeah, just trust Him.

That's right.

Okay, Angela writes, "First Samuel 19:23, talks about Saul looking for David to kill him. But instead he spends a whole day and night there prophesying with the prophets. How could a murderer do that? What does that mean"? There's a question for you.

Yeah, that's a great question. And, you know, just because a person commits a sin doesn't mean that God can't do something through them.

Now, Angela is gonna say, "But this fellow was a murderer, not just your garden variety sinner; that's pretty serious". How do we respond to that?

Sure. You know, God can bring His Spirit upon anybody whom He wishes, whether they're attempting to murder somebody or someone else. And you know, God brings His Spirit upon sinners to lead them to repentance.


So God can do that. It doesn't mean he can't. And so here David is in danger, and God brings His Spirit upon Saul to try to keep David safe...


...and kind of almost as a distraction. And so God does this in various ways throughout Scripture. We don't need to question that. You find other examples of this in the Bible. God has spoken through donkeys. He can do whatever He wishes.

This was God overruling a situation.

He was overruling, that's right.

Another thing God was doing was this. Here was the king, who was a scoundrel...


...bent on doing something bad. God overruled, and something good happened. This should have woken the man up and had him say, "Wait a second".


"Here I am filled with hate and malice. I could be filled with the Spirit".

That's right.

God overruled the situation, He protected His man David, and He was seeking to get through to Saul and say, "This is what you could be doing".


"This is what you could be". Saul ignored God and died a terrible death.

So really, rather than saying, "How could God do that"?... really, it's an act of mercy by God on the behalf of Saul, and a protection for David as well.

Amen. Okay, what's our next question?

All right, our next one comes from Pierre. He says, "I've been in church a long time, but my heart is fearful. I realize that everyone who attends church is not part of the kingdom of God, 'As for me, these are the most frightening words [that] the Lord ever spoke,' speaking of Matthew 7:21-23, I wonder, am I truly part of God's kingdom? Church membership does not equate to true salvation. Can you help"?

I can, man. I'm gonna tell you something. Wondering is gonna get a lot of people out of heaven. Wondering is gonna lead a lot of people away from God. I'm gonna show you what I mean. In Acts, chapter 16, there was a hard man. He was a jail keeper; he was a jail keeper in Philippi. More than likely, he was a retired Roman soldier who knew what it was to shed blood. I'm turning in my Bible to Acts, chapter 16. So what happened was this. Paul and Silas and others were in prison in Philippi. And God sent an earthquake, and the prison doors were open. The jail keeper, who should have been awake, was asleep. He goes, "Oh no! The doors are open. They've probably fled. I will kill myself". Paul and Silas said, "Do yourself no harm! We are all here". He brings them outta jail. He says to them, "What must I do to be saved"? And they give him a fascinating answer. It's quite a simple process. "They said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.' They spake the word of the Lord [to him], and to all that were in his house". He "washed their stripes". They washed away his sins; he was baptized; the family was saved. He didn't wonder, "Am I really saved"?


He didn't wonder, "Does God accept me"? He didn't wonder, "Am I actually lost? I feel baptized, I've been baptized, but, man, not everybody baptized is saved, and if anybody baptized wouldn't be saved, it'd be me because I've been a scoundrel my whole life". He didn't do that; he didn't wonder. Listen, my friend, let's not spend any more time wondering. Let's instead channel our energy towards believing. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, and your house. I'm not talking about being presumptuous. If you have sin in your life, believe anyhow. Ask God to take away that sin and confess that sin. You're gonna wonder all your way... oh, I've gotta say that again... you are going to wonder your way outside the New Jerusalem rather than inside. If you choose Jesus as Lord and Savior, don't ask yourself if you deserve anything. You deserve death: "The wages of sin is death". If you choose Jesus as your Lord and Savior and you go to church, don't wonder, am I good enough to go to heaven? You're not. Because Wes isn't good enough to go to heaven either, isn't that right?

That's right.


More and more every day.


True for me too. No one is good enough. Here's what you're doing. You're believing now. You've accepted Jesus in your heart. He is your Lord and Savior. You are trusting Him, you are believing, and you're growing in your faith. Again, not lowering the bar, not saying that you can just live any old sinful life. You don't want to live any old sinful life when you've genuinely given your heart to Jesus. You will have ups and downs in the Christian experience as you grow, as God allows you to be stretched, as sometimes you make a mistake and you'll fail. That'll hurt sometimes. But let's be Christians. Our "hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness". Trust in that, friend, and you'll be okay.

That's right, amen.

All right.

The church is not a hotel for saints; it's a hospital for sinners. And we need that experience every day.

John Bradshaw: Hundred percent.

We need it. All right, Denise asks, "Can you clarify the meaning of Jesus' words in Matthew 24, verse 34"? So we're gonna take a look at that, Matthew, chapter 24 and verse 34. And Jesus says here, "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place".

Yeah, that's an interesting one, isn't it? Because...what's a generation... 20, 30 years? Twenty, 30, 40 years, depending on what scholar or commentator you talk to, a generation. And He said...we'll back up. "Now learn a parable of the fig tree", this is verse 32, "When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors". So the generation that sees these things, couple of ways you could look at this. Jesus was here. This generation will see the kingdom of God arrive, the wonderful and glorious things that Jesus does. On the other hand, He could be talking about the generation that sees the signs in earth's last days.

That's right.

Now, which generation is this? It's a little challenging to actually understand this and nail this down. What do you have to say?

Well, you know, if you look at the context of what He's saying, He's speaking about all the previous verses all the way back almost to the beginning of the chapter. He's talking about many things happening at the end of time. So that, I think, the generation He's referring to is the one that will experience those events in earth's history.

And it may well be that He's applying that to the destruction of Jerusalem back there...


...because the prophecy in Matthew 24 is twofold: "Tell us, what will be the sign of your coming? When will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming... [at] the end of the age"? Two things: destruction of Jerusalem, end of the world. Certainly, this generation was going to see the destruction of Jerusalem.

That's right.

Which was 40 or so years beyond the giving...


...of Matthew, chapter 24.

Mm-hmm. So you have both applications there, really, the destruction the end of time.

And if you wanted to really pin it down, the destruction of Jerusalem is one that you would be able to pin it with safety.

Yeah, that's right, for sure.

We appreciate your questions. I enjoy answering Bible questions. I remember teaching in a seminar setting, and there was a fellow watching me. We're talking about prophecy. He was looking at me, chin in his hands, and you could see the wheels were turning. I got a little later on in the message, and he sat up, and he smiled, and his eyes got big. The lights came on.

That's amazing.

Yeah, I'll never forget it.


And God wants the lights to come on more and more for me and you. So in just a moment we'll be back, back with more questions and answers. This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.

Welcome back to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. If you have a Bible question, we would love for you to submit it. Email us: [email protected] Do not forget the It Is Written online Bible study guides. They're fabulous: If you would like to study in depth into the Word of God, get solid biblical answers for your questions, meet Jesus, learn the great plan of salvation, study Bible prophecy, and more: Okay, Wes, what have we got?

Yeah, our first question comes from Michael. He says, "I'm on Social Security and have no other income. Money is tight. I believe in [returning] tithe, but my wife and I have a disagreement. If we're to pay on the 'increase,' I say we pay our bills first and tithe on what's left. My wife says tithe on the whole check. Who is right"?

Great question, Michael. God is right. That's the answer. God is right. Let's turn in our Bibles to Malachi. And what I'm about to tell ya isn't easy to hear. Well, might not be easy to hear. Malachi, chapter 3, and I'm gonna start reading in verse 8, yeah. "Will a man rob God"? That's the question asked. "Yet you have robbed me! But you say, 'In what...have we robbed you?' In tithes and offerings. You're cursed with a curse, for you have robbed me, even this whole nation.'" Verse 10, now here's the promise: "'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this,' says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.'" He goes on to say, "'I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,' says the Lord of hosts".

Wes Peppers: Mm.

Michael, I'm gonna tell you a couple of things. First, God is right. Your wife happens to agree with God. The increase is what you get. My...encouragement for you is to trust God. Now, I said I'd tell you a couple of things. The second thing is I don't know. How God will provide for you, I don't know. I just know that He will provide for you. And how do I know that? Because He promised. I would encourage you to open up your Bible to Malachi, present it towards God, put your finger on verse 8, 9, and 10, if you can point to that, and say to God, "I would like You to read what this says". And then say, "I believe what this says, and I'm going to trust You". That's called faith. I'm not trying to make it easy. Man, I don't know, you may have bills to pay and struggles and so forth. But God can do it, and He will do it. Have you ever heard of somebody who decided to go out on a limb, put faith in God, and see God vindicate them with tithe?

Hundreds and hundreds of stories. I have my own stories, and I'm sure you do too.

I do too.

Yeah, absolutely. My wife and I committed to this when we first got married, and there have been times that nobody else knew our need. And they would come up to us, and they would say, "God impressed me this morning to give this to you". And it wasn't just a random gift; it was the exact thing that we needed.


And you know, I would make this case that some people get confused about this, genuinely. Do I tithe on the gross or the net?

John Bradshaw: Oh yeah.

I always ask them, "Which one do you want God to bless you in"? And that 90% with God's blessing will go a lot farther than 100 percent without His blessing.

Hundred percent.

And people sometimes say, "Well, I can't really afford to do that". And I would appeal to you and say, "You can't afford not to".

Hey, look. There are a number of challenges sometimes in life that if you don't accept, you miss out on.

That's right.

Jesus said to Peter, "Walk to me on the water". Humanly, he should have said, "You're out of your mind, brother. it might work for You, but I'm just old Peter the fisherman". Instead, he took Jesus at His word, and he walked on the water, and he had that story to tell that we still tell today.

That's right, yeah. Powerful.

People who are confronted with they wanna keep the seventh-day sabbath, but they gotta work on that day, and some people will wilt...


...but others will say, "I'm gonna take God at His word". And then God comes through for them in some amazing way. They wouldn't have had that testimony.

That's right.

Same with tithing. Michael, God is gonna come through for you in an amazing way. You wanna give God the opportunity to do something amazing, otherwise you rob yourself of the experience, and you rob God of the opportunity to give the blessing. These opportunities are opportunities. And when you take God at His word... you don't wanna be presumptuous and not take God at His word, do something crazy. Tithing is not crazy; that's the Word of God. And God says, put me to the test: "Prove me now herewith". That's what He says. You can afford to do that.

You can; you definitely can. And God has never failed anyone that I know. He's always faithful. He always follows through with His promises. And you can be assured. And as you do this, little by little, as you step, take that first step in faith, "Man, I'm not so sure this time," you do it anyway, God blesses you, your faith grows, and your confidence increases so that the next time, it just becomes more easy, easier, until it becomes natural for you.

Yeah, you've talked about how you and your wife... my wife and I, we've had similar experiences early on. I won't go into the details. But when God comes through for you like that...

It's amazing. becomes so real.

That's right.

You don't want to doubt Him after that because He's demonstrated His faithfulness before.


Kamron asks, "Why did God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden if it was not to be eaten from"?

He put it there as...just like all the other trees. It didn't look any different than any of the other trees. It was the same as all the other trees. The difference was it had a command on it. There were commands on all the trees, really. God said, "Eat from the tree of life". He said, "Eat from all the other trees, but don't eat from this tree". Why did God do that? It was a test of loyalty; it was a test of love; it was a test of God's willingness to give freedom of choice. And that's a powerful thought. And sometimes, you know, I find this amazing, Pastor John. Skeptics and atheists, they'll laugh at this. They'll say, "What a silly illustration or a silly example that you have a talking snake and a tree with fruit". But really, as I've thought about it, it couldn't be more brilliant of God.


God gave the simplest, easiest test He could to Adam and Eve to say, "Just listen to what I say. Don't do this, and everything will be well. I've given you all these other things so you have no reason to doubt my love. But this particular tree is a test not just to you, not just to me, but the entire universe, and especially Satan, that you love me and you're gonna follow me with all your heart".

Amen to that. This is a good question from Daphne. Well, I mean, they're all good questions.

Great questions.

This is one that I think we kinda like. "Please help me understand... the purpose of Song of Solomon". That's the book in the Bible. "I don't get it". Now, this is interesting: "The description of that woman would make any woman feel inferior when compared with her". Now, I would take issue with that. I don't know that that's actually so, because we're not told exactly what she looks like. Solomon just talks about what he saw as her beauty. It's really a question more of Solomon's great love for the woman, 'cause we don't see a photograph of her.

That's right.

You don't need to feel inferior when considering the woman. You just oughta think, "Wow, this man loved her immensely". So, two things. One, it's a love story; it's absolutely a love story. And there are lessons we can learn in there from the love story. Second, many people have said...and I happen to agree... that it is also a parallel story of Christ's love for the church. So you read there with both of those eyes open, one eye looking at the love of a man and a woman for each other and another eye looking at the church. There's a passage that says, "Who is [this] that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners"? Now, you might say, "Well, this is one or the other of the couple". You might say, "Ah, this is the church that's been purified by Jesus". So that's the purpose. It's a love story and an allegory, if you like, of the love of Jesus for the church... and the church's purpose. If you haven't read the Song of Solomon lately, I encourage you to do so. It's not many chapters...I think nine, won't take you long, and it'll be a refresher for you. You'll see some things, and I think you'll be blessed. What's our next question?

Let me ask you this.

Oh yeah.

Have you ever said some of the comments that he says to her to your wife, like, "Your beauty is like a goat's flock of hair" and those kind of things? Have you ever done that before?

You know, I never have, to be honest. I've never said to Melissa...


..".Your hair reminds me of goats".


"And your teeth like ivory".


I've never done that.

Times have changed. We might use a little different language today.


But in those days, it meant something; it was special.

Yeah, sure.

Our next question is from Marie. She says, "In Revelation 13:17, what does the 'or' in this verse mean? We understand the meaning of each element..., but why does it mention 'or'? Does that mean that some will have the mark, others the number, and others the name? This sounds like not everyone who rejects God will receive the mark of the beast".

Oh, everyone who rejects God in earth's last days will receive the mark of the beast; there's no question. This is verse 17, I'm gonna read it.


I'll start in verse 16: "He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one might buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name". So you can have one or the other or all. He is pointing out the totality of this. You can't buy and sell unless you have the mark of the beast, unless you have the number of his name. Now, that number in the next verse is 666. And having the number... listen, the one who has the number is the beast because it's "the number of the beast, ...the number of a man". You having that number is simply talking about your loyalty to that beast and your willingness to identify with that beast's power. Anything to add?

No, I think you covered it. And really, it doesn't matter which one you have, you don't want any of 'em, and they're all pointing to the same thing; they're all pointing to the same identity. So let's have the seal of God on our foreheads rather than the mark of the beast.

Yeah, for sure. Here's Jason, and he asks, "I'd like to know your thoughts on investing in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Would this be considered gambling"? You know what, Jason? The times change. A year ago it would've been considered prudent. Today it would be considered really bad luck. Investing is okay. Investing is investing. You're buying something in the hope that its value will appreciate. When you invest in the stock market, you're buying part of a company. But there are lots of ways, even within stocks and bonds, crypto, that it can be treated like gambling.

Yes, high risk.

Lots of ways, yeah.


So if you're investing, you're gonna invest some way, even if you put your money in the bank, it's gaining zero point zeros, whatever it is, in a CD, not very much. With increased, interest rates increasing, those returns will increase as well. It's not wrong to want an increase on your funding, on your revenue, on your money. That's appropriate, actually. But you wanna invest prudently, not wisely. Don't be reckless. There are lots and lots and lots of so-called investments that are just reckless. But investing, even buying crypto, it's not gambling, no more than buying gold or a house or a car or any such thing. You buy it intending that the value would appreciate.

Even money itself, every currency in the world has values that go up and down.

It's true.

And so, just the money that you handle every day has that. So you wanna be safe; you wanna be careful. Of course you wanna probably have some advisors with you. I would probably avoid the high-risk, get-rich-quick...


...type of investments, but go for those that are growing slowly over time. They have much more assurance and wisdom.


You know, you think about, this is God's money, and we don't want to just throw it away. We want to use it wisely and for His purposes.

So we're not giving you investment advice, but we are advising you that investing is okay, if done wisely, but gambling, not so much. Don't let your investing be gambling. Thanks for joining us, hope you'll join us next time. With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. This has been "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.
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