Participants: J. D. Quinn (Host), Troy Fitzgerald
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000407
00:01 What is one of the most amazing questions
00:03 that Christ asked His Disciples?
00:05 Standby, we'll be right back.
00:32 Welcome to "Issues & Answers."
00:33 My name is J.D. Quinn.
00:35 As I asked a while ago what is one of the most
00:38 amazing questions that Christ asked of His disciples.
00:41 Today, I have a friend by the name of Troy Fitzgerald
00:45 and he's gonna help us answers that question.
00:47 Troy welcome to "Issues & Answers."
00:49 Oh, good to be here, thank you.
00:51 Please tell our audience something about yourself.
00:55 Well, I have a lovely wife, her name is Julia.
00:59 We've been married 19 years just about here
01:03 and we have two beautiful boys, 12-year-old
01:05 Cameron and Morgan he's 7 years old.
01:09 And they are all boys, I'll bet.
01:11 They are all boys and we live in
01:15 College Place, Walla Walla, Washington
01:18 and I'm the pastor for youth and young adult
01:22 at Walla Walla, University Church, okay.
01:25 I've been there 12 years-- 12 years.
01:27 And they haven't found a way to get rid of me yet.
01:29 Amen, amen, well, just in that little time
01:32 that I've had to share with you,
01:33 you are an easy person to really enjoy and love.
01:37 You know, you can just see Christ through you.
01:40 Praise God, you talk Christ
01:42 and I truly believe in my heart
01:44 that you do the very best that you can do to live,
01:47 to live out your beliefs, thank you.
01:49 Tell us about what we're talking about here,
01:52 one of the most amazing questions
01:55 that Christ asked of His disciples.
01:57 Yeah, as I was going through the questions
01:59 that God asked people
02:00 because it's been a study of mine,
02:03 I keep coming up to the questions
02:07 that Jesus asked His disciples or people
02:10 that he just interacts with.
02:11 Most of the questions of course
02:13 are in the life of Christ,
02:14 there are many in the Old Testament
02:16 but most of them are right there in the New Testament
02:19 with the four gospels.
02:22 As I looked at some of the things
02:23 that Jesus said to the disciples,
02:25 they asked him a lot of questions,
02:27 you know, when is all this gonna happen
02:29 and what do You think about forgiveness
02:32 and there is just a dozen too questions
02:35 that the disciples are always wondering
02:36 about the kingdom and what does this mean
02:39 and what does that mean?
02:41 It's the questions that Christ asked
02:43 His disciples that really give you a glimpse into
02:45 what it means to be a disciple, amen.
02:48 It gives you a glimpse into what Christ hopes for
02:51 and wants them to think and do.
02:54 I think the one that just gets me every time,
02:59 the one question that's I believe was preeminent is
03:07 when Jesus asked the disciples
03:09 as a whole very basic question.
03:12 The first question was
03:14 so what does everybody think of me,
03:16 what is somebody saying about me,
03:19 and disciples murmur, you know,
03:21 well, some say you are Jeremiah,
03:24 some say you are Elijah, John the Baptist
03:29 and then Jesus stops
03:31 and then He asked a more personal question
03:34 and this is the question
03:35 that I think is perhaps one of the most profound.
03:39 He asked a questioned who do you say, that I am?
03:44 The disciples apparently I can only imagine it,
03:47 they get quiet because now it's not what,
03:50 what do the people think of you,
03:52 that's an easy think to answer
03:53 You just paraphrase what's everybody is saying,
03:55 give some options, but it's entirely different
04:01 when you ask somebody to tell you what they think of you.
04:06 Now I had the dull-mindedness to ask
04:13 that question of a girl one time.
04:15 I said, what do you really think of me?
04:21 It didn't turn out very well.
04:24 She said, things like,
04:25 well, I think you're really a nice guy
04:27 but you're good friend but, so you got to be careful
04:32 how you ask that question.
04:34 Jesus was not afraid to ask that question.
04:36 He asked them who do you say I am?
04:42 I believe that's probably one of the biggest questions
04:45 that the Christian church needs to answer.
04:50 What do we think of Christ?
04:52 Beyond all the platitudes and the packaging
04:55 that we've put him in over the years,
04:57 what do we really think of him?
05:00 Because I think everything depends on it.
05:03 Peter--of course all the disciples were quiet,
05:06 but Peter, Peter steps up and he answers.
05:11 And this is one of Peter's moments.
05:14 He has lots of moments in the gospels,
05:18 this is one his big ones
05:21 where he steps forward and he says,
05:23 I believe you are the Christ the son of the living God.
05:30 What do you think to he meant by that?
05:33 Well, whatever he meant he didn't
05:36 really fully understand it you can tell.
05:40 Because only moments later after having said
05:43 this great theologically correct personal statement
05:48 about who Christ is,
05:50 Jesus walks along the road with him
05:53 and he tells his disciples that the chief priests
05:57 and the rulers are gonna put him to death.
06:01 And Peter-- this is that moment
06:02 were Peter just fresh after saying
06:05 that great statement Peter rebukes Jesus
06:10 and says don't talk like that, it can't be so.
06:14 And Jesus said, they get behind me Satan,
06:21 so going back to that moment
06:25 when Peter said those words,
06:28 he didn't fully understand Christ kingdom.
06:31 He didn't understand
06:32 what it meant to be a disciple either.
06:36 He didn't understand
06:37 what the church was supposed to be about.
06:39 He just responded to the best of his ability
06:42 and to where he was at that moment.
06:44 I love the fact that Jesus affirms him
06:47 and the affirmation is what's most profound too
06:51 Jesus tells Peter and the other disciples
06:55 'cause they're probably all nodding in affirmation.
06:58 Jesus says, you did not get this alone.
07:02 This did not come
07:03 because of your own doing Peter,
07:05 God gave that to you, amen.
07:07 And he says and not even-- I'm gonna build my church
07:11 on people like you who stand up
07:14 and speak what you think of me.
07:18 And I'm gonna build my church on that
07:20 and the gates of hell will not overcome it,
07:24 it will not prevail.
07:26 And even though Peter is weak
07:28 and shortsighted and not clued into exactly
07:33 what the kingdom of God is about,
07:36 God's promise in Christ about Peter comes true.
07:42 It hasn't over--the gates of hell have not overcome
07:45 people stepping up and testifying
07:48 as to what they think who Jesus is, amen.
07:52 and I--you know, I would like to
07:55 look at myself in that way, if nothing more than,
07:59 you know, let me tell you
08:01 who I think you are Jesus.
08:03 Superimpose it, write it out.
08:04 In fact I had some young people do that not long ago.
08:08 I said, go through the gospels,
08:12 go through the story of Christ
08:14 and you write out your own gospel
08:17 of what you see, what you think.
08:20 And write it out and compare each others gospels
08:23 because there is a gospel of John.
08:26 John's no better than any of you
08:29 and Peter, you know, is no better than
08:31 any--Right out your gospels of what you think,
08:35 you know, is true and good about God.
08:37 Now to the degree that we're watching
08:40 and paying attention to who Christ is,
08:43 the Lord can inspire of our thoughts
08:45 and I'm not-- we're not trying to create a
08:46 bunch of prophets our there, that's not the point.
08:49 The point is--is that this church grows and continues
08:53 because people think and speak
08:57 what they believe to be good, right,
08:58 and true about Christ.
09:01 Oftentimes people, you know, just think things.
09:06 I think there's been surveys around at least North America
09:09 but I'm sure they've been in other places
09:10 about what people believe,
09:13 believe that Jesus is God, many people do,
09:17 but if that's the case how come
09:18 we're not talking about it more.
09:21 We don't speak up and how come we don't testify.
09:25 I learned the value of this question
09:28 because Jesus isn't asking them to just think about Him,
09:34 He is not even asking them to just believing Him,
09:37 He is saying, speak up.
09:40 If you could say out loud
09:42 what you believe to be true about me,
09:45 you know, there is gonna came a day
09:47 when your life is going to depend
09:49 or your death is gonna depend
09:51 on whether you're willing to do that.
09:54 I always go back, I mean,
09:56 I've never needed a witness
09:59 before like I did one
10:01 I think it was about 10 years ago, 11 years ago.
10:03 I was driving along New Year's Eve, my wife
10:07 and son were up visiting family.
10:10 We had just moved, I was unpacking boxes,
10:12 so I went and grabbed a pizza.
10:13 I was gonna do New Years by myself and
10:16 I'm driving along and all of a sudden
10:19 this 1974 Dodge Dart turns into the middle lane
10:24 and then into my lane, the oncoming lane
10:26 and hits me head-on, and smashes my car,
10:30 I hit the window, I'm all over the place,
10:32 I'm shaken up, then knocked me
10:35 into the juniper bushes along the side of the road.
10:39 I had no idea what happened and I open my eyes
10:43 and I'm just kind of coming to and I see this,
10:47 this very healthy old lady leaving the Dodge Dart
10:53 and I think, well, she is coming
10:55 by to see if I'm okay.
10:57 She walks right by my car and she keeps walking
11:01 and I look over my shoulder
11:02 and she is walking up to the bank.
11:05 She is going to make a deposit at the bank.
11:07 It was New Year's Eve apparently
11:09 she wanted to do that.
11:10 I had no idea what was going on.
11:11 The police, the fireman,
11:12 they're all members of my church,
11:13 they show up, they said what happened pastor Troy
11:15 what's going on here and where is the other person?
11:18 I said, she is in the bank.
11:21 I thought, why is she in the bank?
11:24 I think she has to make a deposit I said
11:26 well, what happened?
11:27 And I tried explaining my story to them
11:30 and they're looking at the car and her car is,
11:33 there is nothing wrong with it,
11:34 the little piece of bumper had been--74 of course
11:38 and hers is made out of real metal
11:41 and mine was made out of tin foil.
11:44 Mine was completed totaled.
11:47 And she came back and I, you know, I felt bad,
11:52 but the lady says, well, I don't know why he hit me,
11:54 I was just turning in and he smashed right in to me.
11:57 It was my word against hers.
11:58 I didn't want to get agitated or anything I said, no,
12:03 I had the right away, you're supposed to wait
12:04 before you turn-in and just at that time,
12:08 a man drove up and pulled up,
12:11 got out of his car and he said these words
12:13 which were like a Calvary coming to my rescue
12:18 I saw, the whole thing
12:21 and of course they vindicated me at that point.
12:27 I don't think they did anything to the woman
12:30 and in fact I met family members
12:32 of that later on in life
12:33 but they just spoke volumes to me about
12:36 what it really means to be a witness.
12:40 You want to know what we can do for God,
12:42 you want to no how to do this?
12:43 God isn't asking us to do anything complicated.
12:46 He's not asking us to know more and then tell.
12:50 He's asking us to write
12:51 where we are at like Peter, amen.
12:53 Testify, because you're not a witness
12:55 if you just think something.
12:57 I can ask you, do you believe?
12:59 And if you just sit there and nod, maybe,
13:01 but you're a witness you become a witness
13:04 when you speak up
13:05 and you testify on behalf of the savior.
13:08 Amen, and I would imagine
13:12 in following this particular vein here
13:14 that there are people out there
13:17 that the Holy Spirit impresses them quickly
13:20 and they're ready to go out and do something for the Lord.
13:24 Yeah and sometimes people are like at that stage
13:27 where they are very new in their faith.
13:29 There maybe people watching right now who say,
13:32 I've never really studied the Bible very much
13:35 but I believe this, I heard this song,
13:37 I heard that story, and I think God is real
13:39 and I know Jesus is loving and all these different things
13:43 but God asked us to testifying now
13:46 about what's going on in our hearts
13:47 and lives just like Peter.
13:49 Now, Peter he didn't know, like we said before,
13:52 he didn't know much about the kingdom
13:54 and the nature of what Christ was really calling him to.
13:57 He thought it was something else
13:58 but it was still worth for Peter to stay
14:01 by Christ side but all down the road
14:04 Peter is making bold claims and statements about
14:08 who he was gonna be and what was gonna happen.
14:10 You may recall, Peter barreling
14:13 out his chest and saying,
14:15 how many times should we forgive
14:17 our neighbor, three times?
14:20 That's what the Pharisees say,
14:21 how about seven?
14:24 Seven, does that impress you?
14:27 And then Jesus said keep counting,
14:29 get out your calculator,
14:30 Simon Peter seven times seventy
14:33 and just keep going until you really understand
14:36 what it's like to give grace away.
14:38 And so Peter fumbled there, he gets out in the boat
14:42 and he wants to walk on water to come to Jesus
14:45 but then the grandeur of the moment
14:47 in his leadership starts to emerge
14:49 and he starts to count how many medals he's gonna get
14:54 by this or but exactly what was going through his head
14:56 but he wasn' focusing on Christ
14:58 and he sank another moment,
15:00 time after time Peter just steps up
15:05 and it becomes very clear
15:07 that he's shortsighted and he fails.
15:09 And the most--the most prominent moment for him was
15:13 when he claimed that not only would he not deny Jesus
15:19 but that he would even die for Jesus
15:23 and then when the moment comes for him to testify,
15:25 do you know this man?
15:27 I saw you, aren't you one of Jesus' disciples,
15:30 all he had to do is nod, but he couldn't do that,
15:34 so in all that he knew and all that he was
15:37 he still failed miserably but Christ and His ministry
15:44 and the work of the church still has not been overcome
15:48 even when imperfect people--amen.
15:51 Share what they know to be good, right,
15:52 and true about Christ, amen.
15:55 I think that the promise that he made
15:59 even afterwards he said to Peter,
16:01 do you love me?
16:02 I mean there's probably the next best question in my mind.
16:05 Do you love me? And Peter answers,
16:08 he says Lord, I love you,
16:11 but, you know, what that means.
16:13 I mean Peter had to not trust his own words at that point.
16:18 He doesn't want to answer with this word.
16:20 He'd rather just answer with his devotion
16:23 but that wasn't the case.
16:25 Christ was asking him to step up.
16:27 And you just see, I mean if this is
16:29 about Peter in that moment
16:31 you see the growth over three years.
16:34 You see him at the temple gate
16:35 after Christ goes to heaven
16:37 and he walks up to the temple gate
16:40 and he knows what to say, look I don't have any silver,
16:43 I don't have any gold, but here's what I have
16:47 and at Pentecost, you know, he got up
16:50 and he said these bold brave words
16:54 about who Christ was and the church
16:58 has not been overcome
17:00 because people are willing to step up, stand up,
17:03 and just say, you know,
17:05 what they believe to be true about Christ.
17:08 It is a simple principle, isn't it?
17:10 Most simple principle,
17:11 you know, and that is you've got to act.
17:15 And then he'll help your,
17:17 you know, but he just wants
17:18 to make sure that you are game.
17:23 Yeah, that's right and even the gospels
17:25 that were written by John at the end of it he says,
17:28 look I could've wrote down a bunch of other things,
17:31 you know, they're lots of other stories
17:32 but I write these things so that you might believe.
17:35 Even in this letter, he says,
17:37 these things that I've touched
17:38 and tasted and handled with my own hands,
17:40 these things about Christ,
17:42 these are the things I proclaim to you.
17:45 I'm not gonna talk about stuff that I don't know.
17:47 I don't know about some things.
17:49 I don't have the answers to all the questions
17:52 people have in life but I do have
17:54 my answer to who is Christ, amen.
17:57 And who is He to me today?
18:00 And I can answer that and we need to answer
18:03 that because God will evolve.
18:05 He will foster and grow and build
18:09 those responses to people
18:10 but that's what changes the minds of people.
18:13 I mean, I bet you can think of countless moments
18:15 in scripture where someone's
18:18 simple testimony made the difference
18:23 and, you know, so I look at--I just look at
18:28 all those times like this Samaritan woman.
18:31 Most certainly, yeah.
18:33 And what did she say?
18:34 I'm just trying to recall what she said.
18:36 She said, I met a man, who knew me,
18:41 I think he might-- could she says,
18:44 I mean is it possible that just
18:47 my question can be a testimony.
18:51 Could he be the one that we're looking for?
18:55 The demoniac that had been healed
18:56 by the Sea of Gennesaret, you know, just go tell them.
19:02 What God has done for you
19:04 and how he's had mercy on you.
19:05 Yeah, but I want to go with you Jesus.
19:07 Yeah, no, I know you're afraid he would say,
19:10 I know you're afraid that demons are gonna comeback,
19:12 I know you're afraid this thing is gonna go away,
19:14 I know you're afraid that Monday morning is gonna come
19:16 and you're gonna be depressed again or oppressed.
19:20 Now the victory is in speaking--
19:24 and, you know, I probably have mentioned
19:26 this to others before but there's something
19:30 very profound about speaking
19:34 the things that are in here in our mind.
19:37 There is something biochemical
19:41 about saying words that are in our heart,
19:45 like when people who are going
19:46 through recovery for addictions
19:49 and they're trying to resist the temptation
19:52 of whatever it might be,
19:53 one of the things that they tell them is, say no.
19:56 Say it out loud, so your own ears can hear
20:00 what your mind and your mouth is saying.
20:03 It becomes more of a holistic response
20:07 and you can just talk to people who practice that.
20:10 They are emboldened and strengthened
20:12 by just being been able to speak it and to say it.
20:15 And you can even take it a step further
20:18 as your children hear you saying it.
20:21 Yes, you know,
20:23 sometimes to me, that's probably
20:26 the way most of us even gets started
20:28 in our walk with the Lord is by listening to our parents
20:31 to keep those family fires burning.
20:34 Yes. You know, so.
20:36 Yeah, and I believe it was a story
20:38 that was told in the book "Case for Christianity."
20:43 Festo Kivengere is a Christian leader
20:48 and he's been doing prison ministry,
20:50 I think this was in 1974.
20:54 He's been doing this prison ministry
20:56 where he goes in to these prisons in Africa in Uganda
20:59 and he meets with the prisoners
21:01 and he tells them the story of Christ.
21:04 And on one occasion he tells how these three men
21:07 were going to be executed by,
21:11 you know, by gunshot in the middle of a stadium,
21:14 like a soccer stadium and he went to go
21:18 to the execution because he was asked to go,
21:20 he'd shared the gospel with some of the prisoners.
21:24 And here these prisoners-- they're in there
21:25 for crimes that they had done and according to their law
21:28 they were getting their justice,
21:30 so there is no question about that part for them
21:34 but as the pastor comes out on to the field
21:38 to say final words to these three prisoners,
21:42 one of them turns and looks at the pastor
21:45 and he's overjoyed.
21:48 His eyes grow wide and his hands are clanking
21:51 with chains on them
21:52 and he raises them up in the air,
21:53 he says, pastor I'm so glad you came to my execution.
21:58 Those are strange words to say.
22:00 He is not afraid, he is not angry,
22:03 he says, I'm so glad you came,
22:05 I want to thank you for telling me the story of Christ
22:08 because I came to believe that I have been forgiven
22:13 and I have a home in eternity.
22:16 And he's just so filled with excitement.
22:18 His chains are rattling and they are making noise
22:20 and the others next to him are in a similar way
22:24 and so this pastor instead of speaking words to him,
22:27 he speaks words to the guards
22:29 and to the crowd that's gathered there
22:32 for the execution.
22:34 And this prisoner who is so elated
22:37 to know the gospel begins to waves his hands
22:41 with chains attached to him,
22:43 waving back and forth to the crowd,
22:45 and the crowd stunned by this display of joy and hope
22:50 the crowd starts waving back at him.
22:53 What an amazing scene?
22:55 And he goes on to tell the story, he says
22:58 he says go back and tell my wife,
23:01 go tell my children, what you told me,
23:04 tell them that I have received Christ
23:06 and I will wait for them in heaven
23:08 that my Jesus forgave me
23:10 and He's making a home for me
23:12 as you told me in the gospel of John.
23:17 Then the fire-- the shots were fired
23:20 and their lives were ended
23:23 but this pastor goes back and he tells the story
23:27 and throughout that whole Kasese district,
23:32 the gospel just spreads, spreads like wildflower
23:36 because of the story that this man told.
23:39 Amen, so he went to sleep in Jesus
23:42 and what he was wanting to do is just,
23:44 you know, someday, you know,
23:47 he'll be back together again.
23:48 But like Peter, like the woman at the well,
23:52 Like John the gospel writer
23:54 and the revelator, like the demoniac,
23:56 like every other apostle,
24:00 a disciple that has gone before us,
24:03 the reason why we know of Christ.
24:06 It isn't because some book
24:07 magically appeared throughout the centuries.
24:10 This book was written by people.
24:13 Who tell the story of Christ and we know that
24:17 that's the most profound thing.
24:18 People ask me and say, how do you do it?
24:20 How do I-- where do I start?
24:22 I just tell them simply a couple things,
24:24 I just say first of all,
24:27 what was your life like before you met Christ.
24:30 And if you've grownup with him,
24:31 tell them what it was like anyway.
24:33 I've always grown up with Jesus
24:35 but then ask yourself at what moment,
24:39 what pivotal moment did Christ
24:42 and His mercy become so real to you.
24:45 It could be in a church service,
24:46 it could've been on the streets,
24:48 it could been in a Bible study,
24:49 or in a series of meetings, or in a song,
24:51 or just waking down the road, or somewhere in nature,
24:54 somehow, someway God got through to you
24:57 and Christ became real.
25:00 What happened?
25:01 That's the second part
25:03 What was it like before, what happened?
25:05 Now the third thing I always tell people is,
25:09 so what's different now?
25:12 Tell me the story of your life
25:14 and this is what we are taught to do.
25:15 This is the story telling component
25:17 from the Old Testament.
25:19 Moses said tell people how you were a slave in Egypt
25:22 and how God had delivered you.
25:25 Tell them the story of the Red Sea.
25:28 Tell them the great things God has done for you
25:31 I mean, so it just keeps coming up.
25:34 And I think of what Peter said in his first letter,
25:39 in the first chapter,
25:41 you know, he describes
25:43 the tough times that they're going through and he says,
25:45 many of you even though you have not seen Him,
25:50 you love Him, and even though
25:52 you do not see Him now you are being, you know Him
25:56 and you love Him and you believe in Him
25:59 and you are being filled with his inexpressible joy
26:03 which is the assurance of your faith.
26:07 These are words that Peter knows too well
26:12 and when Peter goes to the end--
26:13 like if you go into Second Peter now
26:15 you start getting glimpses of how his kingdom,
26:19 his idea of the kingdom has really matured
26:21 and Peter says look, I tell you these things
26:25 and I've had my exodus and I'm going home
26:27 and I'm gonna die just like the Lord told me I would,
26:32 but these are my words
26:33 and I'm not walking away from it.
26:35 This is my story and essentially Peter's saying,
26:38 I'm sticking to it.
26:40 Amen, amen and you know it all started with
26:42 "Who do you say that I am?"
26:44 Who do you say that I am?
26:45 And so I just appeal to every believer out there
26:49 even if you only believe a little bit,
26:52 even if you only got a little bit of support to stand on,
26:58 even if you have only a story or a song.
27:03 For some people all they have in spite of all the evidence
27:07 that's out there all they have is the notion
27:10 that God really is that good.
27:12 Paul talks about that too.
27:15 He says there are some people
27:16 that all they're gonna have is the blossoming
27:17 of a flower to know that I am God
27:19 but those of us who have this book,
27:21 we have Christ, we have the story,
27:24 and we have these words, and those words as we know
27:28 who Christ is to us, we speak it,
27:33 we have to testify to it.
27:35 As we do that, that's what changes the world
27:38 and that's what transforms the nature of our work
27:42 as a church throughout the centuries.
27:45 Lesson fantastic, you know, so just thank you
27:49 for the gift that you're sharing with us.
27:51 Praise God, yeah.
27:53 We enjoyed you being here, appreciate you coming,
27:56 and we look forward to seeing you another time.
27:58 Glad to be back here.
27:59 Just want to once again
28:01 thank you for being with us
28:03 today on "Issues & Answers."
28:05 We love each one of you
28:07 and just pray that God blesses you abundantly.