Philippians 2:12–13 // Empty Yourself to Serve Others // Work Out Your Salvation

In this lab, Pastor John reminds us that Christian self-denial is not truly self-denial. It is saying “no” to the lesser and impermanent for the better “yes” of eternity. For the study guide, visit

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How Does God Answer Today’s Skeptics? // Ask Pastor John

Many of today’s skeptics ask questions that God himself has already addressed. Sometimes, we just need to hear how God responds to his critics.

Did God just make me to punish me? Why did he create me in the first place? To what end? Huge, massive questions arrive every day in the inbox from you, our friends who are listening. We get questions like this email from a podcast listener in New York City. Here’s his email, and it’s a very heavy one.

“Dear Pastor John, why did God create us? I grew up in the Bible Belt. In my twenties I moved to New York City. I’ve been here for over a decade and my beliefs have been challenged here. The past couple of years, life has been hard, not only for me but for some of my closest friends. Only a few times in my life have I been mad at God. This past month I was.

“I think I know why he created us — to serve and worship him and to love others. In NYC I’ve met all sorts of people who reject God. I’ve heard things such as ‘God enjoys seeing others suffer.’ ‘God isn’t real because people suffer.’ ‘God doesn’t answer prayers.’ ‘God doesn’t talk to us.’ ‘Look at the Bible: he allowed suffering, killing, polygamy.’ ‘He is selfish and wants you all to himself.’ On and on it goes.

“In the past, I felt that even though I didn’t understand why God allowed things, I still had faith to believe in him and would try to defend him. So why did he create us? And why should I marvel at him coming to save me? He should have, shouldn’t he have? He created me. Or if he wasn’t going to save me, why did he create me at all? I have repented of my thoughts, and I do believe in him, but my faith remains shaken by these questions. Can you help me, Pastor John?”

Episode 1329:

Related Resources:

“Battling Doubt and Cynicism in Our Bible Reading”

“Three Threats to the Joy of This Generation”

“How to Engage Culture and Swim Against It”

“Why Do We See So Few Miracles Today?”

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