Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7 with T. A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us. In today’s program, Tom concludes a two-part series with his guest Mike Warren as they address the question: Where Is Your Heart?. And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Today, we’re going to do part 2 of my interview with Mike Warren. He’s the pastor of Calvary Chapel Gold Country and is a featured contributor to the DVD Wide Is the Gate – The Emerging New Christianity.
Mike will also be one of our speakers this August at our TBC Conference, and, folks, if you haven’t listened to part 1, you’ve got to get there right away. Mike gave us some insights, some info, related to his first talk that he’s going to give, which I’ll mention this in a second. Mike, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Mike: It’s good to be with you, Tom.
Tom: As I mentioned, one of the talks that Mike’s going to give is “The True Heart of the True Believer,” and I can’t wait for that! We’ve touched upon a number of things that he’s going to be addressing, but its...I tell you, folks, it’s just going to bless you, whether you’re able to come, which would absolutely be wonderful – an absolutely gorgeous time here in Bend, Oregon, but it’s more than just the weather. And Mike is, again, he’s going to touch on a subject that we all need to hear. It’s really important to where the church is, where we are personally with the Lord – and so I encourage you to listen to part one if you haven’t heard it yet.
But part two, which we’re into right now, again, we’re trying to give our listeners some insights – especially those who are going to be attending the conference, or they’ll pick it up through livestreaming or maybe later – but his second talk is titled “God’s Word vs. the Teachings of Man. What about that, Mike? What’s the issue there?
Mike: Well, I think the second thing that’s important, and, again, let me just back up again to last week, a couple years ago as we were there in that conference in Cambria, and the Lord began to speak to me as each one of the speakers were sharing about these different things that are entering into the church, the thought again hit me: We have to build our lives, as believers in Jesus Christ , those that are passionately in love with our Lord, upon the sure foundation of His Word. I believe, primarily, that it’s so important that we keep our hearts where they need to be. We need to keep ourselves in the love of God. We need to be passionately in love with the Lord. We need to do what Jesus said – love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. But after that, He has our heart, and we need to begin to build our lives upon the sure foundation of His Word.
I think that’s what it means in Ephesians 2: 20-22 – this is one of my favorite sections on that, as I’m challenging our church: “And you are built upon the foundation...” There is a foundation that we stand on of the apostles and of the prophets, Old Testament, New Testament. “...Jesus Christ himself being that chief cornerstone. [He keeps everything square and true.] And whom we’re built, fitly framed together...–[we grow into this holy temple into the Lord], in whom we were also builded together for a habitation of God by His Spirit.”
God is building something called the church. And it has a foundation. It has a sure foundation, and the foundation is the Word of God that we stand upon. So, I think the second thing that is important in the life of a believer is that he begins to study, he begins to build his life upon the sure foundation of the Word. Because here’s the deal: if you only give your heart to the Lord and you’re passionate about Him, you’re very emotional toward Him – we don’t walk by our emotions. We walk by faith. “And faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” So we have to add to that passion toward the Lord faith, and we have to build that faith upon the right foundation. And I think those two things – I was sitting at that conference two years ago [and it] just really began to come to the fore in my life – not that they hadn’t in times past – but I really was sitting there and just thinking about discernment and the place the church was today, and the things that were coming in and the drifting away – I thought, Those two things are paramount. That the Lord would own our heart and that we would build our lives on the sure foundation of His Word.
Tom: You know, Mike, I was there with you guys in Cambria, and some of the same things hit me. And as I mentioned last week, and our listeners have heard all the time that I’ve been privileged to spend with Dave Hunt and The Berean Call, and as a ministry that’s been ongoing for about 25 years, and one of the things that Dave encouraged and we did from the beginning, is that we are first and foremost a praying ministry. And people don’t get that. For some, particularly among our detractors: “Well, you know, you guys are heresy hunters...” (“You’re this, you’re that...you’re all negative,”) and so on and so forth. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Number one, we couldn’t be effective if we didn’t have a heart for God’s Word, but the heart has to be a part of that – a major part of that. But it has to have content. In other words, there are a lot of thing that we can correct, but if we don’t shore them up with our love for the Lord, with our heart being committed to Him, and doing things out of love, supported by prayer, fellowship, whatever we can encourage... It has to go across the board. You mentioned that just last week. It can’t just be one thing or the other. Expound on that a little bit.
Mike: Well, the motive for why we do what we do should be the heart – that we’re passionately in love with the Lord. He owns our heart. The very seat of all of our emotions and affections – he owns that. There’s no rival throne to that. We love Him. Him only we love with all of our heart – not some of it or most of it. I think that is, again, paramount and it’s primary that the Lord owns our heart. And that’s the motive for why we serve the Lord. But then we have to find out who He is, what He requires of us, what He desires of us, that we might be able to be obedient to those
things because we do love Him. And that’s where the study of the Word of God comes in; that’s where the laying of this firm foundation is necessary and important. I find it interesting – again, last Wednesday night we were in Deuteronomy 4 in our Wednesday night studies (we’re going through the Old Testament), and it’s interesting, because when we come to the book of Deuteronomy, Moses is speaking to a new generation; he’s speaking to a generation that’s going to have a new experience, because they’re going to cross over the Jordan, and they’re going to see the promises that God gave to their fathers, but through unbelief, they weren’t able to inherit. But then he’s going to talk about a new relationship. And in the first eleven chapters, he’s looking back. And in the first three chapters, he talks about their history, and then when he comes to chapter 4, he’s talking about the importance of the Word of God.
And just listen to what he says in the first two verses of Deuteronomy 4: “Now, therefore, hearken...” – and again, as I said last week, that word is an interesting word. Sixty-two times it’s used in the book of Deuteronomy in one form or another, and it means to lean in with the intent to hear and to obey. He says, “Hearken to the statutes and to the judgments.” Statutes have to do with how we serve the Lord, and judgments, how we minister to one another. It’s the Law, the first and second tablet of the Law. “...which I teach you for to do them that you may live.” There is life in obedience to the Word. So, we love now the Lord with all of our heart. We want to serve Him. But what does that look like?
And then he says this, and I love verse two: “You shall not add unto the Word which I command you. Neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you,” and the idea is, again, “this day.”
So we don’t add to it, we don’t take from it. We believe it’s inerrant. We believe it’s inspired. We believe it’s authoritative. We believe that God doesn’t change. He’s immutable: He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. And what He has to say can
be applied to any generation, to any culture, to any people group. It’s for all times and for all people, and if we will study His Word, and if we will do it – the idea is to do it, then there’s life in it! We live. It keeps us from the distractions and temptations of the wicked one; it keeps us from false teaching. It guards us, it protects us. We build upon a “sure foundation” whereupon this rock that we’re standing... I like what Jesus says in Luke 6 (it’s one of my favorite verses when it comes to just building my life upon the Word). He says, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord?” That’s an emotional thing: “Lord!” How many times do we raise our hands in worship, and we’re saying, “Lord, we love you, Lord! Thank you, we’re grateful.”
But “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don’t do the things which I say?” Tom: Right.
Mike: “Whosoever cometh to me and heareth my sayings and doeth them, I will show you what this man is like. He is like a man that built his house and dug deep the foundations, and he placed it upon a rock, and when the flood arose, and the stream beat vehemently upon the house, it could not be shaken, because it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth my words and doesn’t do them, I liken this man to a man who built the foundation of his house upon the earth, against which the streams beat vehemently, and immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of it.”
I tell our church often – I told them again last night – “The benefit is not in the instruction; it’s in the application.” Don’t be just a hearer of the Word, be a doer. If you truly love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” And God has spoken. Peter says that “Holy men of old under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they wrote! It is God-breathed. It is God speaking to us.
And again, the warning to the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 4 was, as Moses is reminding this new generation: “Hey, listen, the old generation were at Horeb. They
were there at Mt Sinai when the smoke and the fire bellowed from the Mount, and they heard God speak, and heard God confirm His covenant, even the 10 Commandments, yet they weren’t obedient. Their hearts drifted.
So I think these two things, really, I think these two things, they can’t be separated. The first thing I think God wants to do is to get ahold of the hard heart of man and give him a new heart. And I think that’s salvation. I think we’re born again when we confess the Lord Jesus Christ and we believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead and that the scriptures are true.
The second thing, and I don’t think it can be separated, Tom, is that that moment when we are saved and we are regenerated and renewed by the work of the Holy Spirit and we are washed in the blood of the Lamb, and our sins are removed from us, that God puts in the true believer a hunger for His Word.
And I think that that moment was true in the life of Dave Hunt; it was certainly true in my life, that you begin to study the Word, you begin to memorize the Word, you begin to set to memory not only verses, but then chapters – because the Word of God becomes so important to you.
I know my first experience was, “Man, God saved me,” and that’s all I knew. And I knew that I was forever ruined for this world and that God had done something very profound in my heart that night in that Bible study. I knew that I was different. But then I said, “I want to serve the Lord,” so what does that look like?
Tom: Mike, some of the things that you’ve been talking about, I’ve got scriptures just racing through my head here and there, but I want to bring it back to something very simple that just underscores what you’ve been saying. Your title is: “God’s Word vs. the Teachings of Man.” Look, those are two options. In other words, I think God has a responsibility (all right, maybe I’m pushing the envelope here, but...). His responsibility is that without Him communicating to us His revelation, all we’ve got
is teachings of man – speculations, theories, concepts, wants – whatever it might be. But it’s not God’s Word. So he has to communicate to us, and I think it’s a level playing field, Mike, just as you’ve mentioned. You know the gospel – you hear it, and you respond to it, and then you’re regenerated. You’re given the Holy Spirit to help you to understand these things, and to grow. And not only to understand but to do the things. That’s what you’ve been talking about. Without that, going back to Dave Hunt, which I mentioned last week, in his teenage years, he could quote you all the Scriptures. He could quote you entire books. But he could not have had the understanding that he got until he gave His heart to Christ, which happened later. And, as I said, as brilliant as Dave was – I don’t know anybody more brilliant that I’ve ever met , on the one hand. On the other hand, it’s a level playing field. He had the Holy Spirit. We who are born again, who are regenerated, have the Holy Spirit to give us understanding, to enable us to do these things.
So God’s responsibility is to get the Word to us, which He has done, and communicate it in a way that we can all understand with the help of the Holy Spirit. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it?
Mike: Jesus said, When I go away, I’m going to send you another Comforter, the Paracletus – He’ll come alongside you. The first thing He’s going to do is convict you of sin, and of righteousness, and of the judgment that is to come. So that leads us to salvation. The second thing He does is He leads us and guides us into all truth. So when anybody sits alone (and I love what Chuck Smith used to say: If you could read at a sixth grade level and you are filled with the Holy Spirit, if you are born again, you’re a greater guide to truth than the intelligentsia of the world).
Tom: Without a doubt.
Mike: Because the Spirit of truth is working in your heart as you are reading the written Word, the Word of God, and He begins to change the way you think, He gives you a different worldview, He begins to change the way you live, your actions...Hey,
before I got saved, I had little bit different experience than Dave Hunt did. I started reading, because I’d been studying Eastern religions, so I thought, “Well, I’d better read the Bible, because a lot of them speak of Jesus.” I read the Qur’an, and it speaks of “Jesus,” and the other books I read – the Eastern religions – spoke of Jesus. So I started reading the Bible, and it irritated me. In fact, it irritated me so much I’d find myself throwing it in my room against the wall and let it sit there for a few days until I’d pick it up again and read it, and what I found out after I was saved was that the reason it irritated me is that it spoke with authority. Not like any other book I’d ever read written by man. When I read this book, it was like it was written with the authority to tell me what I needed to do and how I ought to live.
And I look back, and I realize that was the Holy Spirit trying to do something in my heart. I have people send me books all the time about the Scriptures: “Could you read this one?” “Will you read that one?” “Give me your opinion on this.” “Give me your opinion on that.”
And I’ll read them, and I’ll earmark them, and if there’s false teaching in them I’ll communicate that to the person, but I’m still working on one book, and I’ve been working on that book for 42 years. It’s called the Word of God, the Bible. And any book written by man is still a book written by man. We have the infallible, inerrant, inspired, authoritative Word of God in our hands, given to us by God to the work of holy men as they wrote as the Holy Spirit directed. And you have 66 books written over a 1500-year period of time by more than 40 authors and it doesn’t contradict itself. It’s got one message: Man is fallen, he needs to be regenerated and redeemed, and once he is, he needs to love and follow the Lord.
Tom: You know, Mike, I want to add this because you’ve been mentioning these things, and so on. First of all, as I said, if we don’t have God’s Word, then all of this is a charade. But we do have revelation from the infinite God who explains things to us in a way that we can understand and receive it and do it. The other verse that I quote too often, and you quoted it again: Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord,
and you don’t do the things that I say?” Well, part of the problem is many people aren’t reading the Word of the Lord. One of the problems you have as a shepherd of the sheep, as a pastor, is that people like to sit at your feet, come to church on Sunday, and be spoon fed. Now, for babies, spoon-feeding is okay, but not for somebody who’s going to mature in the Lord. And I know you exhort them: “Hey, listen, be a Berean. Don’t go just by what I’m saying. Be ministered to by what I’m saying, but you have the responsibility.” So, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and you don’t do the things that I say?”
So, number one, their not knowing – especially if they’re not in a church that is really preaching and teaching the Word – but on the other hand, they’re not getting into it on their own, which is absolutely critical. Absolutely critical.
Mike: You know what I love? On Monday night we have our men’s study – it’s really a discipleship group, and we had a guy there the other day that was fairly new to the faith, and he stopped and raised his hand (because it’s interactive) and he said, “Now, wait a minute. What you just said – I’ve been reading here, and I’ve been reading there, and I’ve got this commentary,...” and I’m looking at the guy, and all of a sudden – I didn’t even hear the question because I was so enamored by the fact that this guy is digging in. He is a Berean. And here he is, pretty new to the faith, and he is challenging what is being said because he’s trying to understand it! He’s not just listening to what I say. He’s checking it out when he goes home! Isn’t that what Jesus wants us to do? To study to show ourselves approved? Isn’t that what Paul commended the Bereans for? “You didn’t just listen to what I had to say. You went home, you searched the Scriptures to see whether these things be so or not. And when you found out they ‘be so,’ then you trusted me and you believed me.”
I think every Christian has the responsibility first and foremost to feed themselves. And I tell our congregation, “If you hear something that sits sideways with you, then come, ‘let us reason together,’ let’s search it out. Don’t just believe everything because I say it.”
Tom: And it’s...for the young believer – we want to encourage people out there. But I’ll tell you an experience that I had. Growing up Roman Catholic, we had a Bible on our coffee table. It was red – I think it weighed about 40 lbs. We never got past the first two pages because we had the baptism and confirmation information. And we were never encouraged to read the Word of God. When I became a believer, not only was I zealous for God’s Word, to read (and I wasn’t particularly a reader – I was kind of more of a visual guy, and so on). But I got into it. I dug into it and so on. But some of the baggage that I had from Roman Catholicism – Mike, last week we talked about the heart, and we talked about Deuteronomy, where the Great Commandment, we’re to “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy mind, all thy strength...” And I had to close the book, because I thought, No, I can’t do this. I absolutely cannot do this. I know that I love myself, and I don’t love anybody more than I love me! How can I love God with all my heart?
So, you know what I did. I’d been working with Dave for, oh, maybe about a year, so I called up Dave Hunt, and I said, “Dave, I don’t know what to do. I can’t do the things that the Bible tells me that I’m to do. Especially loving with all my heart.”
Well, there was a pause on the other line, and all of a sudden Dave said, “Well, praise the Lord!”
And I said, “What do you mean, ‘Praise the Lord?’”
He said, “Tom, of course you can’t do it. It’s not by might nor by power, but it’s by God’s Spirit. He’s given you the Holy Spirit.” And that’s my encouragement out there. That those who are maybe recent believers and are having struggles and difficulties, be patient. The Holy Spirit will enable you to do the things that you can’t do.
And, folks, it’s all got to be done, not by might nor by power but by God’s Holy Spirit. Right?
Mike: Tom, you know, we’re closing our services out lately with this little song. It’s a benediction. It comes from 2 Corinthians:13:14, and it’s “May the grace of our Lord be with you, now and always. May He keep you blameless until He comes.” The second verse is just like the first, but it’s “to love.” “May the love of the Lord be with you, now and always. May He keep you blameless until He comes.” And I explain to them that “blameless” is not perfect. When you go to 1 John, and that’s, again, one of my favorite books of the Bible, 1 John:1:8: “If you say that you don’t have [and the idea is a bent to sin] you deceive yourself. But if you will confess your sin, he is just and faithful not only to forgive you but to cleanse you [that work of the Spirit]. But if you say what you’re not doing is not sin, then you’re a liar and the truth is not in you.”
What he’s saying is that every Christian who loves God with all of his heart, who loves His Word, will struggle with the flesh. Paul said in Galatians, writing to the Galatians, that the flesh wars against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh.
I love what he says in Romans, when he says, “Listen, I find there’s a law: when I want to do good, evil is present! The things I should do, I don’t, and the things I shouldn’t, I do. Oh wretched man! Who is able to deliver me from this body of sin
and death?” And then he says a remarkable thing. It was years before I understood it. I thought he was just, like me, slaughtering the King’s English when he said, “I myself serve the Lord in the inner man [i.e., I love the law of the Lord], but with the
outward man, the flesh, I serve sin.”
What he’s saying is, “The real me...” Because this fleshly man – and we’re going to find the zipper on it one of these days, and unzip it and we’re going to get a new body that has no propensity at all for sin. But the real me, the guy that’s inside, the spirit-man, he loves the Lord with all of his heart, he loves God’s Word. He wants to be obedient. But I have this flesh-man. This traitor that is wrapped around me, always trying to trip me up. And sometimes he does. He succeeds in tripping me up.
Then I fall on my face, and I say to the Lord, “I love you with all of my heart. I’m so sorry. I’ve been disobedient to your Word. Would You forgive me?”
And the Lord says, “I am just [I am justified because of the work of Christ] and I am faithful, not only to forgive you, Mike, but I’m going to cleanse you of that unrighteousness.” What an amazing thing! No wonder, as you said before, “How can we neglect so great a salvation?”
Tom: Well, Mike, I think you’ve mentioned it a couple of times, 1 John, certainly John’s three epistles, and I just want young believers out there to know, that can be a very difficult book to understand, if you make the mistake of not recognizing that this is a family epistle. This is John speaking to the family. Nobody’s going to get bounced out. So, there are some things that he wants us to know and wants us to correct. But you know, Mike, I think about the verse that talks about love, which we...that was our main theme last week, but it says, “We love [Him] because He first loved us.”
Tom: And the reason I’m bringing that up is because we need to grow in that love. And what’s the basis, then, based on that verse, what’s the basis for growing in that love? Because of what He’s done for us! Man!...
Mike: I’ve been 42 years in the faith, and I can’t get past the fact, Tom, that God saved me! I wouldn’t have saved me. He didn’t just save me, He rescued me.
Mike: He rescued me.
Tom: And the point being that that was the beginning. He continues to help us grow that we can be formed in the image of Christ, that we can grow in our relationship with Him. And the more we know about Him, the more we learn about Him, the greater our love for Him grows! You know, it’s like somebody who’s...
Mike: If somebody wants to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – hey, grace speaks of thankfulness and gratitude of the heart. “I’m so thankful you saved me, Lord, and I know you saved me by grace.” I love Titus:3:5-6. It says, “Not by works of righteousness which we had done, but because God is merciful he saved you.” But He didn’t just save you. He regenerated you by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Tom: Right. Well, my guest has been Mike Warren, and we’ve been talking about...Mike’s going to be a speaker at our conference in August, and I can’t wait for that to come about. It’s going to be terrific, Mike, and I’m looking forward to you being there. And you’ve just touched upon some subjects that you’re going to be dealing with, so God bless you, bro, and thank you so much for the insights you’ve given us on these two programs, and I look forward to having you hang out with us here in Bend, Oregon.
Mike: Well, I look forward to being up there with you, Tom.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 featuring T. A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon, 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638; or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for being here, and we’ll look for you to join us again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.