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How to Strive for Unity Amidst Division

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
November 30, 2020 1:00 am

How to Strive for Unity Amidst Division

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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November 30, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 586 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

1. I recently was reading to my children a new children’s book about the bible and the book described sin as loving things more than God. It warned the kids that if they love anything too much, like their parents and friends, then this is the definition of sin. Is that the entirety of what sin is? I understand that we need to love God supremely; however, I don’t necessarily want my children insecure or afraid if they love me or their father too much. Is there a better way to talk to the kids about sin or is this how we really should talk to them? 

2. I have always struggled with my faith. I have been through a lot of rough experiences, from being in prison, to drug addiction, to seeing family members die, and I have earnestly and sincerely asked God to speak to me during these situations, lots of other people believe God speaks to them, but I have never ever heard God speak to me. Not once. Does he speak to anybody today?

3. In Matthew 1:18 it says before Joseph and Mary came together she was found to be pregnant and verse 19 says that because Joseph “resolved to divorce her quietly.” And then right after that in verse 20 it says “don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife.” My question is, was Mary and Joseph married before she was pregnant or after she became pregnant?

4.  I’m having trouble knowing how to feel unified with the body when there is so much bad theology out there. I spent my childhood in a charismatic, prosperity gospel church and it has made me very sensitive to those things. I now feel that teaching should be exegetical and Christ focused, but it seems to be very hard to find people who agree with me. I see churches taking a topical approach to scripture that often avoids the subject of sin and feels more like a self help guide. I’ve been told I’m being too skeptical. I know that many of my friends believe the gospel so I consider them my brother or sister in Christ, but it’s hard for me to feel unified when our beliefs and focal points are so far apart. How can I keep from being too critical of immaturity or a difference of beliefs, while staying sensitive to false teaching?

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The Bible describes people in the church is having all things in common. So how can I strive for this unity. When I disagree with so many people in my church. That's just one of the questions will be answering on today's addition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer.

A lot of my good friend Pastor Adm. Sanchez here it is the last day of November Christmas just 26 days away. Hard to believe that this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day and you can call us right now with your question. At 833, the court, that's 1-833-843-2673. You can also email us at questions at core, Christianity.com while he's on assignment in China and he saved a life I'm talking about a British diplomat who leapt into a river in Southwest China to rescue a drowning student Stephen Ellison is his name. He's 61 years old.

He's the British consul general in the city of Chongqing, China. He jumped into the water after spotting the struggling female student who had fallen into the river by accident. There's a video of the incident posted by the British Embassy.

It shows a woman drifting facedown in the water as onlookers scream and panic.

Mr. Elliston takes off his shoes. He plunges then and swims to her aid. A lifeline is then tossed in the water, enabling the people on the bank to pull Mr. Ellison and the student to safety while you go Mr. Ellison yeah he's a hero and I got together for tea afterwards.

Once you forgot is that he said that with her and her fellow students and enhance had some deep will it get to our first question of the day.

This is a Facebook post from Irene and she says I recently was reading to my children, a new children's book about the Bible and the book describes sin as loving things more than God warned the kids that if they love anything too much like their parents or friends. This is sin. This was the definition of sin used in the book is that the entirety of what sin is. I understand we need to love God supremely, but I don't necessarily want my kids insecure or afraid. If they love me or their father too much. Is there a better way to talk to the kids about sin or is this how we should talk to them that I think it's really important for us to have a clear definition of sin, especially in a society that basically has denied the idea of sin altogether is just right and wrong, good and evil. The definition that that maybe you got from this book actually goes back to St. Augustine. I think even prior to St. Augustine. I think that there is no biblical rationale for this idea of sin, being disordered, loves, or having a love for something that causes your love for God to diminish, see, think, for example, if you if you if you're a businessman and you work really hard and you're so focused on your job and if it's a good thing to work hard and to be focused on on your work, but if you put that before your family well that's a disordered love is in it again, and if it causes your family to suffer in and you neglect your children what there is a real big problem and it's the same thing with the Lord. Ultimately God should be our greatest love in Jesus when he talked about what it meant to follow him said that it looked like hating everything else and in and that list of everything else.

He includes father and mother and siblings and spouses, and in those kinds of things and I think that what he meant by that was we should literally hate those people but that our love for God should cause all of our other loves to pale in comparison. I think this way of describing sin can be helpful and engaging to people today who I just have no idea what sin is a reject the idea of sin altogether. So that's one approach, but I think there's another approach Irene and that's this minute, and even more simple definition of sin is sin is any time.

We don't conform to God's law or we transgress God's law to things there when we don't conform to God's love is were failing to meet the positive requirement of what God is called us to see God's law when it says don't murder or don't commit adultery is just focusing on what not to do. There's also I think a positive element that is something that were called to the command not to murder isn't just about not killing someone physically. It also is a call to preserve life for me. Ultimately, Jesus said that the law of God is fulfilled when we love God and when we love our neighbor. It's it's this positive thing. Sometimes I think that that we assume that the definition of sin is just we break God's commandments.

And that's true. That's when we transgress the law of God. But it's also more than that we fail to meet the righteous requirement of the law is not enough that that I just don't know any of my neighbors in and we don't have any conflicts you know we don't get in fights with each other. Have these neighbor disputes were actually called to positively love our neighbors and one of the things that this highlights Irene is that none of us can perfectly keep the law meet a person might feel pretty good at not breaking the 10 Commandments, at least in their own mind and I've heard many people say that you and I will.

I really think a minute that I don't steal I don't kill life I've never cheated on my spouse but one we realize that sin is something that first begins in our heart we can escape it, and secondly that is not just about not doing certain things, but it's about positively loving God and each other what we quickly realized we all fall short of that and so it highlights our need for the gospel. That's one of the reasons that we have never really clear definition of what sin is because if we have a low view of sin. If we have a definition of sin that keeps us from seeing our need of the gospel that we won't run to Christ. But if we have a biblical view of sin. If we realize that it's pervasive that it's in our hearts that it's not just when I transgress God's law. That's also when I fail to love God like I should. Each of us has to say every single day Lord, be merciful to me a sinner and so I read II love one.

The fact that your wanting to teach your children these very important truths, and I think whether you take the approach of sin is disordered loves are just talking about sin is as being a want of conformity to God's law or a transgression of God's law, or even if you just break it down even further than that, you know sin is when we don't love God and each other like we should, when we disobey God mean that there are so many different approaches you can take but the fact that your wanting to teach her children. I just commend you and that and I pray that the Lord gives you wisdom as you seek to communicate the truth of Scripture to them in a way that they can understand in a way that's really gonna benefit them for the years to come.

God bless you Ari thanks so much for your email and for your desire to raise your kids in the Christian faith.

This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez. Let's get to a call that came in from Randy all will all will seriously Lord help me will hold will will I I will Randy, thanks for sharing some of your story sounds like you've been through a lot, but I and I just thank the Lord for his kindness to us in his kindness to you in TP says that you're on the road right now to so be safe and I pray that the Lord continues to bless you and draw you near to himself now depends on what an individual means when they say does the Lord speak to people today and I totally agree with you not.

I've heard people say will the Lord told me this to the Lord told me that at most of the time what they mean is that they had the strong sense that God is leading them in a particular direction, but I think it's an unhelpful way for us to talk because it can make other people feel like will will you have the direct line to God, and I guess I might or must not be as faithful to the Lord as you are or I don't have that the sort of inside scoop like you do. I remember a few years back when my daughter was for. We are taking a walk around the neighborhood and out of the blue she said Poppa how come God. Don't talk and I remember just being shocked one by her question but also I asserted breaking my heart a little bit because it was this dishonest. She wanted to know how come God isn't responding to our present haven't heard his voice she had heard us talk to God all the time we we pray in the morning. We pray before meals. We pray before we went to bed at night, it seemed to her like we were talking to God all the time pursuing the Lord. Sounds like what you do as well. Randy but she was concerned because she had never heard the voice of God. So we have to really I think understand how it is that God speaks to us today and there are two ways I would say that God speaks to us today.

One God speaks to us through general revelation. That's the world around us. Think about what the psalmist said in Psalm 19.

The heavens declare the glory of God. The firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech night and tonight reveals knowledge meet the psalmist to sing very clearly.

Randy God is speaking to us through the created order that what is God revealed to us through the created order.

He reveals to us that he so powerful that he's infinite that he's the creator God. Paul talks about this in Romans chapter 1, but that's really the substance of what he's saying to us through creation. It's that sense that we have you think of when you're out in the mountains and you look up at the sky and you sealed the stars, the heavens, and you're just blown away. You have the sense of man, I'm so small I'm there something so much greater out there. God, the creator is that sense of God that we have. But there's another way in which God has spoken to us and that's through his special revelation that special revelation is recorded for us in Scripture. There were times and in the history of redemption work God did speak more audibly, we might say to people me think about his interactions with Moses, or even with some of the apostles, but the fact of the matter is all that was recorded for us in the Bible so that by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we might hear God speaking to us now through his word, so I would never want to say that God isn't speaking today, God is speaking, but he speaking through the Scriptures and by the power of the Holy Spirit. He speaking through the created world around us. Now that's not to say that God in in you know some extraordinary way couldn't speak today to someone, but that is not the expectation that we look for, what we chased after because ordinarily that that doesn't happen.

I don't know anyone who says that I've actually heard the audible voice of God. But I know a lot of people who've been transformed by the Scriptures as a brother. I think every day you should pray and say Lord to speak to me.

But as you pray that prayer you should open up God's word and you should read it expecting the spirit of God to open your heart, your eyes your mind to receive the truth of God. What God speaks through his word to you about his son.

What I'm I'm sorry that you've been discouraged even to me sounds like you've been discouraged by this, by the sense of God is never spoken to me, but I want to encourage you by saying that the Lord is speaking he's given you his word to communicate his will to you. Let's take it up and read. May the Lord bless you that I was driving a truck on some God spoke through my CB to me just okay read really appreciate you so much man. We just love our truck drivers and the fact that you're out there every day almost long-haul rides. Thank you for listing the core Christianity. This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and Christmas coming up in just a couple of weeks and we have a wonderful Christmas devotional.

We want to tell you about that.

We are so excited about this because it's it's a way in which you can were just talking about the importance of the Scriptures. While this devotional is going to help you dig into the Scriptures on your owner, or even with your family.

I love the idea doing this together with your family with your with your spouse or with your children. It's a Christmas devotional called Jesus Christ the promised Messiah. And every day in December. It gives you prophecies from the Old Testament that pointed forward to the Messiah to Jesus and then their fulfillment in the New Testament, you're digging into the prophetic testimony of Scripture at this is the real faith builder core, Christianity.com/Christmas. Download this resource and it's yours for free when you sign up for our weekly newsletter. You can also call us for that resource at 833-843-2673. That's 833 the core and speaking of Christmas, here's a question that came in from one of her listeners via email. They say in Matthew 118 it says before Joseph and Mary came together she was found to be pregnant.

In verse 19 it says that Joseph resolved to divorce her quietly. Then in verse 20. Right after that the angel says don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife. My question is where Mary and Joseph married before she was pregnant or after she became pregnant. It's a really good question. I could, I could see why it might feel like a contradiction, but the issue is the culture then in terms of practices related to betrothal and marriage was very different than what we do today and so at that time. You know when when a couple was betrothed. It was this legally binding thing. I mean that they were basically married.

They just had not gone through the ceremony yet and so it seems to me that what had happened is they were betrothed. They hadn't technically been married yet, but they were legally bound together me. That was the plan. It's in that sort of in between states that the angel comes and reveals this this glorious truth to Mary and Joseph, and that's why he says you don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife. That is, don't be afraid to follow through with what it is that has already been set in motion because she's pregnant and so really is. I think understanding you know some of the cultural distinction there that clears up what might seem like a discrepancy or even a contradiction to the question that reminds me of this time of year. What a great opportunity to read the Christmas story to your kids and then just talk about what the Christmas story means and how Jesus came to us as a child and grew up to become a man and die on the cross for our sins, especially our younger kids help them understand the Christmas is a lot more than presence in Santa Claus and in our culture has moved so far away from the true meaning of Christmas so great opportunity for parents this time of year to focus on and you're absolutely right, Bill, and I think it's great to have you no family traditions. One of the things we've done is will read through the Christmas story on Christmas day. You know is as that we wake up in the morning before opening up any presence to spending a little bit of time in the word. Maybe your family has its own traditions, but I think with whatever it is like like you said really focusing on Jesus and it is an opportunity for us to talk about Jesus, his goodness the ultimate gift of God to humanity and so I appreciate that you brought that up will.

This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez, just a reminder that we are a listener supported ministry. So we, people just like you to keep us on the air. If you would prayerfully consider making a gift would be a big help to us. You can find out more core, Christianity.com here's a Facebook question that came in from Lisa she says hi a drill I'm having trouble knowing how to feel united with the body of Christ when there's so much bad theology out there. I spent my childhood in the charismatic prosperity gospel church and it's made me very sensitive to those things. I now feel the teaching should be exegetical and Christ focused but it seems to be very hard to find people who agree with me. I see churches taking a topical approach to Scripture that often avoids the subject of sin and feels more like a self-help guide. How can I keep from being too critical of immaturity or difference of beliefs while staying sensitive to false teaching. Yeah Lisa thank you so much for your question and I can sympathize with you because I think doctrine and the truth of God's word is so important you use the word there that might be unfamiliar to some of our listeners exegetical. I think preaching should be exegetical and it just the idea that that are teaching or preaching should arise out of the biblical text is were not reading something into the Bible our own ideas, our own preferences, but were letting the Scripture speak to us and speak for itself. And you're right that's that's what we desperately need and yet so often in churches. That's not what we get and especially for people who've been in churches and it sounds like maybe you were in some of these churches that don't focus on the clear teaching of the Bible and then you come into this this season where while all of a sudden it's opened up to you.

Maybe it was a book you read or a certain pastor you started to listen to and it was like man these things are really starting to connect will at that moment. It's really easy to look back on whatever it is that you've been experiencing her or been in and just say man that's all nonsense.

I can't believe that they didn't teach me this stuff and I think that's what we have to be careful or humble because I think about even that the growth in my own life as a Christian and certainly my beliefs I think became more and more in line with the teaching of Scripture with God's word.

As I continued to mature and as I continued to study the Scriptures, but I was also very grateful for the people that God brought into my life.

Even people with whom I have theological disagreements now or it may be just a different view on a particular interpretation of of some doctrine in the Bible, and yet the Lord use those people and their teaching and even just their encouragement at a particular time in my life and so I think that one way that we can remain humble is by giving thanks to God for the good that we experienced even if there were a lot of things that we feel like man I can't believe that that was taught are the things that you can look at maybe was friendships. Maybe it was the encouragement of the pastor that kind of a thing while at the same time taking doctrine very seriously, and instead of getting puffed up. If we come into a deeper understanding of God's word. Ultimately, what should happen is we should have a greater heart to want to see people understand the truth of Scripture more you when you come into it a fuller understanding of the gospel and in the liberty that you experience there, knowing that the work for your salvation. That is not a matter of it. I have the Holy Spirit. If I speak in tongues or something like that you mentioned being in in a charismatic church for for some time there really is this liberty to the pure gospel of Jesus Christ that will wait when we understand it is just so beautiful and will what I should do for us. It should make us want to help others know the truth too, and that's not gonna happen if we come across as arrogant and I'm better than you or I know more than you now know, it's one poor person telling another poor person where to find red and so I would say as you continue to grow in your understanding of God's word is the Lord blesses you and has blessed you Lisa with really feeling like man I I'm learning more about the Bible instead of getting puffed up God's word should never lead to that it should lead to humility and love. Take those truths and encourage the people around you with those truths when you interact with people who don't agree or don't fully understand that I don't have that the air of arrogance, but instead encourage them and encourage them to see that the very same things that you seen and I think that's what God calls us to. Now there are certain teachings that really do just flat out need to be rejected teachings that that ultimately go against core Christianity the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and when it comes to those things. And yet we just reject it. We say look that needs to be confronted with the truth of God's word. We don't take a soft stance on doctrines that will lead people to hell or that deny the truth of the gospel of the truth of who God is, but there are also secondary issues in in the church and in the realm of theology, but I think we can be more sensitive toward and that we can be more gentle and me in terms of correcting people in and helping them to see the truth of what the Scriptures teach so I pray Lisa that as you continue to grow in your understanding of the Bible. You would also grow in humility and a love for God and for others even even others who may be you feel like didn't teach you like you were supposed to be taught that ultimately that leads to opportunities for you to be able to share how Jesus has worked in your life through his word. May the Lord bless you. That brings up another question I drill what if a person is in a church where false doctrine is being taught.

I mean you can go to the pastor you go to the church leaders. But if if there pretty much committed to that. Could God be calling you to leave yet. I think so and I think one of the problems is there. There a lot of churches like that but people don't had distinguish between the truth of God's word and false doctrine. When I think of the prurience in the book of acts and how they were commended for searching the Scriptures to see if what what the apostles were saying lined up with what the Bible taught that's why we need to be saturated in the word of God. Each of us needs to be reading the Scripture mean as I was answering that question earlier for Randy.

That's where God is speaking to us that we don't read the Bible you know in isolation or in a vacuum ill. We read it in the context of the Christian community. But what you might find as you reading the Scriptures, and you're asking God for his guidance to lead you and help you understand them that there are things in God's word that may contradict what you're hearing in your church and I think when that happens, what with humility and gentleness, we approach the leadership in our church and we begin to ask questions and I think that that's okay and I think that's part of what sharpens us and frankly it's a part of what sharpens church leaders to and keeps them accountable. I'm in God's created this beautiful structure so that there is accountability and the ultimate authority is his word and I think we started on this program before. Look, we want to be faithful to the Scriptures want to answer questions according to what the Bible teaches, because at the end of the day it's not about us. It's not about our personal preference is not about what I think is best. The question is what does the Lord have to say God is speaking today word and so we go to his word and when we go there we meet Jesus, and we experience his grace and that.

Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us@corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33 core when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time. As we explore the truth of God's word together


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