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Is The Bible The Only Authority That Christians Need To Obey?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
September 2, 2020 1:00 am

Is The Bible The Only Authority That Christians Need To Obey?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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September 2, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 522 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

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Is the Bible the only authority that Christians need to obey? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. First up, today we have a good news story to share with you. More than 30 years ago, a World War II hero took his six-year-old grandson into a basement room filled with awards and showed the boy his most prized possession.

It was the highest honor the U.S. gives military personnel. That boy is John Irwin, who is now a Christian filmmaker. He made the 2018 hit movie, I Can Only Imagine, about the life of Bart Millard from the band MercyMe. Well, for the past few years, John has been researching and putting together his grandfather's story. The book Beyond Valor was released last week, and John hopes to make a movie about his grandfather's adventures in the next few years. You know, it's so cool when you hear about kids who learn about, you know, some family history, something that their parents or grandparents did, or an uncle or aunt, and they're able to just go, wow, you know, I would never have known that, never believed that.

Yeah. Well, also, what a cool way to honor his grandfather. I mean, to be able to tell his story. You think about all of the amazing things that have been done in history and, you know, the lives that our own fathers and grandfathers have lived, and sometimes those stories don't get told. And I think it really is a wonderful thing that he's doing that. Well, and John is such a great storyteller as well for folks that didn't see I Can Only Imagine, just a very powerful film with a great, of course, redemptive Christian message, I'm guessing.

This one will be very similar. Let's get to our first question of the day, Adriel. This one comes from Cassidy, who posted on our Facebook page. She says, What did Jesus mean when he told Nicodemus that he had to be born again? Nicodemus even seemed confused, and I don't understand Jesus' answer about the wind and the spirit. Is this just a figure of speech to describe some profound experience in your life?

Thank you for that question, Cassidy. You know, some years ago, I remember seeing a bumper sticker that read, instead of being born again, why can't we all just grow up? And ouch, you know, that's pretty funny, though. Sometimes that phrase is used pejoratively, isn't it? You know, people will say things like, Oh, she's one of those born again types, you know, those born again evangelicals. Something interesting about the case with Nicodemus is that he's a religious man. And when we're told there at the beginning of John chapter three, that he's a leader, a ruler of the Jews. You see, being religious isn't enough. And we're not born right with God, we need something, something supernatural to happen in our lives, or we'll be lost. And Jesus says to Nicodemus, this man who probably thought he was pretty good, a ruler of the Jews, among the Pharisees, I mean, there's this very strict religious sect among the Jews. Jesus says to him, you must be born again.

And let me say the same thing to you listening. You must be born again. It's not enough that you're a quote unquote good person. It's not enough that you're you're religious, even very religious. You need God's Holy Spirit to come and give you life to transform your heart. And this is why Jesus says, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God, verse five. Long ago, God had promised his people that he was going to wash away all of their sins. You go to a passage like Ezekiel chapter 36, verses 25 through 26.

I think this is kind of what's at the background of Jesus's words here to Nicodemus in John chapter three. There in Ezekiel 36, we read, I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses and from all your idols. I will cleanse you.

I will give you. This is a promise from God. I will give you a new heart.

Wow. I will give you a new heart and a new spirit. I will put within you and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh. Now, in the same way, you can perceive the effects of the wind without seeing them.

You know, you could feel the breeze on your body or you can hear the rustle in the leaves or see the rustle in the leaves. This new birth is mysterious. I've seen all of my children's birth.

You know, it's a spectacular thing. Well, the new birth isn't something that you can stand and watch. It's done within by the Holy Spirit. God accomplishes it. And baptism, and I think this is part of what Jesus might be getting at, Cassidy, when he talks about being born of water and the Spirit. Baptism is a sign of that new birth, the washing away of all of our sins. And so essentially what Jesus is doing here to this man who was religious, who thought he was, you know, this spiritual leader, Jesus is telling him, you need to have your sins washed away.

You're not good in and of yourself. You need to be born again by the power of the Holy Spirit. And that's something that we all need. It's a free gift that God gives through his son, Jesus Christ. And apart from it, as Jesus says very clearly, we will not see, you will not see the kingdom of God. And doesn't this go against what we hear in our culture today? And people just sort of assume that everyone is born good, that, you know, we're all sort of on the same or different paths leading to the same place, leading to God, leading to nirvana, leading to eternal bliss.

Jesus says, no, actually we are born in sin. We need the new birth. We need the work of the Holy Spirit. And that's something that God gives us through Jesus Christ and by the power of the Spirit. And so that's what he was highlighting, Cassidy, for Nicodemus there in that passage of scripture, John chapter three.

Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity. And here's an email question that came in from Luke. He said, some fellow believers and I were debating whether or not there are different levels of sin. I hold the belief that there aren't levels of sin. Sin may have different earthly consequences, but in God's eyes, sin is sin. For example, 1 John 3.15 says that anyone who hates his brother in his heart is a murderer. And Matthew 5.27 and 28 says whoever lusts after a woman in his heart has committed adultery. I believe that these are two examples backing up the statement that all sin is equal in God's eyes. What are your thoughts? Do you believe that scripture backs up the statement that there are different levels of sin?

Yeah, great question. I remember for many years, I just sort of assumed, you know, all sins are equal because all sins essentially condemn us. I mean, like you say, and you bring up, you know, that section in the Sermon on the Mount or 1 John chapter three, you know, if you have hatred in your heart, you've already murdered.

If you have lust in your heart, you already committed adultery. Well, while all sin condemns us, not all sins are equal. Some sins in and of themselves, and even by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than other sins. Some sins are more heinous in God's eyes because of who is committing them also. You think about is the person who's doing this someone who doesn't know better or is this, you know, someone in spiritual authority who just by their very action, they're leading other people astray and they know better.

You know, they know God's word, they know what God has said, and yet they're still acting in this way. And this is precisely why James in James chapter three, verse one gives the warning that he gives. He says, brothers, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment. God holds some of us more accountable. And frankly, that's the verse that I read with fear and trembling.

I mean, as a pastor and with this radio program, teaching and talking about the word of God, then pray for me and pray for your pastor and pray for anybody who talks about God's word and teaches God's word because it's a sobering thing. We're going to receive a stricter judgment, Jesus said. And so there are occasions, instances where some sins are more heinous just because of the person who's committing them. You also think of Jesus's words to Pilate in John chapter 19 verse 11.

Jesus said to Pilate, you would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given to you from above. Therefore, he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin. In the Old Testament, in places like the book of Ezekiel and Ezekiel chapter eight, God shows the prophet a series of visions where he exposes the sin of the house of Israel and in the visions that he gives Ezekiel, the sins keep getting worse and worse.

It's almost as if they're building on top of each other. And God is is just highlighting the fact that this is just this is absolutely horrible. So there are two things I think that we have to realize when it comes to thinking about sin. One, and you brought this up and you're right, all sin does deserve God's wrath, God's curse. We have a tendency to minimize sins, to downplay them to think, oh, but that's not that bad. And usually the sins that we minimize are the ones that we personally struggle with.

You know, we overemphasize and point out the sins of other people, the ones that we typically don't have a hard time with, and then we'll minimize the ones that we struggle with. Well, God doesn't minimize sin and all sin deserves God's wrath and curse. But at the same time, there are some sins that are more heinous in God's eyes that bring about greater judgment. Yes, to look at someone lustfully is to commit adultery, but to follow through with the act is more grievous.

And as you've said in your question, it has more terrible consequences. And so while all sin condemns us, there are some sins that do bring about greater judgment. And if it's the same sin that we're committing over and over again without repentance, if it's a person in spiritual authority who's committing this sin who knows better, but they're still doing it. If it's following through with the act of sin, not just conceiving it in your mind and in your heart, you know, looking at someone lustfully, but going all the way. Those sins have greater consequences and they're more heinous. All sin condemns us, which is why we need Jesus, which is why we need the gospel.

And I think that's another one of the things that's highlighted in these, especially in the verses that you brought up. I mean, you think of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Everyone who's there, when you hear Jesus preach, you realize, I need a savior.

I need help. Jesus wasn't the kind of preacher who preached the word of God and people left feeling like, I don't have any problems. It sounds like I'm pretty good. You know, a lot of preachers today might make you feel that way, but Jesus would point out the sin in our hearts so that we would cling to him. You know, Adriel, in Matthew 18, when Jesus says, anyone who causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it'd be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and be drowned in the sea. Is he talking about people who mislead children or is he talking about spiritual leaders who, let's say, mislead the flock and cause people to leave the faith?

Frankly, I think you can apply it to both. It's someone in a position of power, in a position of authority, who's causing one of the little ones, and he says one of the little ones who believes in me, to stumble. We've seen this all around us, haven't we? When a pastor in particular goes astray, it has a devastating effect on the church.

It creates a lot of wounds. Yet, at the same time, there is hope, and that's what the gospel gives us, is hope, and so we turn to Jesus, we hope in him, and we cling to him to keep us from all sin. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. I'm Bill Meyer, and as we all know, the Christian life is not without its challenges, and we have a great resource that will help you respond to those challenges with confidence.

Really, Bill? The Christian life is not without its—what are you talking about? No, absolutely.

You're totally right. The good news is that as we go through life's challenges, we are not without Christ, and today we have a resource that shines the light of Christ into whatever darkness you might be experiencing right now. It's called Christ and Calamity by Harold Sankville.

Our own resident theologian, Michael Horton, called this book a gem, and I would have to agree. I've been encouraged as I've read through it, and I plan to give it out regularly. So take advantage of this offer by heading over to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. You know, it is such a great comfort to know that Jesus walks with us through the twists and turns of life, and you can reserve your copy of this book today for a donation of any amount. Just head over to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. You can also call us at 833-843-2673, or help getting any one of our offers.

That's 833-the-core. You know, Bill, can I just piggyback on something you said there, you know, what a joy and a privilege it is to know that Jesus walks with us and is with us through our suffering. I've lately been just meditating on that promise in Hebrews chapter 13, verse 5, where God says, I will never leave you nor forsake you. And it's this promise that the author of the Hebrews is making to believers, is making to you if you are in Christ. And, you know, you ask yourself the question, well, where has God said, because he's quoting something there, where has God said, I will never leave you nor forsake you?

Well, if you're a student of the Bible, you know, there are at least two places in the Old Testament to Moses in the book of Deuteronomy and to Joshua in Joshua chapter 1, beginning in verse 3, it says this, Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses from the wilderness and this Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, to the great sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life, just as I was with Moses. So I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. And boy, I mean, just let this sink in, the same promise that God made to Moses and that he made to Joshua, he makes to you in Jesus. Amen. Something that all of us need to constantly remember, especially during difficult times, like right now with the COVID situation. Well, let's get to another question that came in.

This one is from Taylor who posted on our Twitter account. She says, Is the Bible the only authority that Christians need to obey? Yeah, this is a really good question because some people think so long as I have my Bible, I'm good. I can follow Jesus. He can guide me.

I don't really need a church or, you know, some man-made institution. I have God's word. Now, the problem is the Bible itself says that there are other authorities that we should submit to and obey. Now, that doesn't mean that those other authorities are equal with scripture. It just means that God recognizes these other authorities in our lives that are meant to help guide us and help us be good citizens in the world and whatnot. And it means that we ought to recognize their authority.

They're not on par with scripture, but they are these legitimate authorities. And so, for example, you have the authority of earthly rulers. Peter talked about this in 1 Peter 2 verses 13 through 17.

Listen to what he said. Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good, you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone.

Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Seems pretty clear to me. Paul, another apostle in Romans chapter 13 verses 1 through 7, said this. Let every person be subject to governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.

Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain, for he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore, one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath, but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes. This is a verse that probably a lot of people don't like.

I don't think that's anyone's life verse there. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them, taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed. Honor to whom honor is owed.

See, it's absolutely clear there. There's one authority that is outlined in scripture that's legitimate, that God has instituted this sort of civil government, but which is not perfect. We know that sometimes earthly rulers fail.

I think we all recognize that. And on occasions, in instances where earthly rulers call us to do something that would be sin, well, that's when we go with the higher authority. That's when we follow God's word instead of what they've said. But when they're calling us to do things that maybe aren't sin, obey the speed limit. Now, I may not agree with the speed limit, that kind of a thing, but I can still submit to them in honor to Christ and in respect to them. Again, I might disagree with them, but obeying God's word and obeying these other authorities looks like being faithful, demonstrating love, long suffering. And so there's another authority that we're told about. In scripture, we're also told about the authority of the church. Church leaders, elders in particular, Hebrews chapter 13 verse 17 says this. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will have to give an account.

Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. I have a question for you. Who are your leaders that you submit to? Your spiritual leaders? Who are the ones who are keeping watch over your soul?

Do you have anyone in your life like that? I don't know, Taylor, if this is why you were asking the question, do we need anything besides the Bible? But I feel like there are many Christians who struggle with this, who assume, as I said at the beginning of this question, that I don't need anything besides the Bible.

That's really ultimately all I need. But the Bible makes it clear that no, God intends for us to be in churches, in local churches, where the Bible is being proclaimed and taught, and where we're reading the scriptures together in a community to grow in a deeper understanding of the word. So do you have that? Do you have a church family? And yet, as I said, so many Christians neglect it. And so I want to encourage you listening right now, if you don't have that, pray and seek a church family where you can be encouraged, where the word of God is faithfully taught, and where you can say, yes, I know that there are people who are watching over my soul, caring for me, a spiritual authority that's not on par with scripture per se. They have a ministerial authority. My only authority as a pastor of a church is to be a minister of the gospel and to teach God's word. It's God's word that binds our consciences.

It's not my own ideas or my own rules that I invent. No, I point people to Jesus and the word of God, and we all need people in our lives that are doing that for us, pointing us to Jesus and to God's word. Do you have that? I hope that you do. Taylor, thanks so much for your question.

A great one. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Just a reminder that Core Christianity is supported by listeners just like you. If you feel God calling you to maybe make a contribution to this broadcast, we would really appreciate that.

You can find out more at corechristianity.com slash radio. Yeah, Bill, I'm glad you brought that up. We really do appreciate the support that we received for this program. We want to get the word out. Core Christianity is so important for us to understand, to dig into God's word. Another way that you can benefit from this program, if you listen on the radio, is we have a podcast, Core Christianity, where all of our previous episodes are there. You can listen to them.

You can listen to Core Christianity all day if you wanted to. One thing you can do that's really helpful for us is leave us a review. A five-star rating and a review on your podcast app or on iTunes, whatever it is that you use to listen to podcasts, is really helpful for us. Would you please do that? We hope that you're continually encouraged by this program.

We have time for one last question before we go. This one's from Cole, who posted on our Instagram page. She says, I'm struggling with knowing how to share the gospel with my unsaved family and friends, because I'm also seeing that my heart is hard toward situations I've been through with some of them. I truly hate this and I don't want to have this hardness in my heart. How can I share the gospel with them when I have such a hard heart toward them? Let's pray first for Nicole. Father, we lift Nicole up to you. I thank you, Lord, that she knows she needs to and that she desires to share your love with her family and with her friends.

And yet, Lord, we know that people hurt us and that we want to build walls. And at times it can be very difficult to share your love with people who have hurt us. And so I pray that you would soften her heart and that you would give her the words to say to share your truth with them.

Would you be with Nicole? I ask in Jesus' name. Amen.

Nicole, that's what we all need, isn't it? A softened heart. I don't know what kind of experiences you're referring to, but when someone has hurt us, as I said, it's natural for us to want to build up walls to harden our hearts. Scripture calls us to forgive those who have sinned against us. Barna not too long ago did a study where they discovered that one in four Christians has someone in their life who they say they cannot forgive. One in four Christians.

And maybe you feel that way. Well, here's what's always helped me with forgiveness. Focus more on your offenses and how God has been merciful to you than on the sin of your brother or sister. I think when we start to think about God's mercy to us, despite the fact that we've failed over and over and over again, and yet God in His kindness continues to draw us to Himself, to lavish His love upon us, when we realize that, when we rest in that place, then we begin to realize, I need to forgive. Even the people who have sinned against me in horrible ways. Ephesians chapter 4, 31 and 32 says, Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Nicole, Jesus forgave you and lavished His love upon you. And He calls us to have soft hearts towards those who sin against us, to extend forgiveness to them as well. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this podcast. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-19 01:16:44 / 2024-03-19 01:26:58 / 10

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