How often should churches take communion? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question.
In fact, our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. You're also welcome to post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Now, if you weren't with us yesterday, we mentioned that yesterday actually was our second anniversary of taking live calls on Core Christianity. Yes, we're still celebrating today, it sounds like, Bill.
We can't get enough of that. You had a bunch of balloons in the studio. Did you pop them all, or what did you do with them? I did. That's how I spent my afternoon. I just took out my pocket knife and went at it, yeah. I took care of them. Yeah, I'm glad your kids weren't there to see that.
That would have been very painful for them. Just getting out aggression. We all need to do it every once in a while, and I've found that popping balloons is a really helpful way to go about that, and I don't know what you have to say with your background in terms of counseling and whatnot if you think that's legitimate, but I don't know. It works for me. I'm not going to get into that. I do not want to judge you in any way, shape, or form. Well, thank you. Well, let's go to a voicemail we received from one of our listeners.
This is Amanda. My question is, it says in the Bible that we have an audience, and my question is, do you believe that it's the angels, or do you believe that it's people that have passed away that was on the earth and that they went to heaven? Yeah, sometimes people think that what they'll do is they'll go to that passage in Hebrew chapter 12, since we're surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.
Let us lay aside every weight, and the synod clings so closely. They'll say, well, those witnesses are the departed saints who are in heaven, and they're watching us. They're in the stands cheering for us. We're on the playing field, if you will, as the church militant still walking with the Lord, seeking to obey the Lord. And the saints who have gone before us who are victorious, the church triumphant we sometimes call them, they're up there with popcorn, and they're spectators.
They're our audience. That's not what Hebrews chapter 12 means. When it talks about these cloud of witnesses, think of a witness not so much as an observer, a spectator, but as someone who testifies.
That's what a witness does in a courtroom. And the witnesses in particular that are being referred to in Hebrews 12 are the people that the author of the Hebrews had just mentioned. Back in chapter 11, you have that great hall of faith where it talks about these men and women of God who were used mightily by faith.
And through faith, what was recorded about them in scripture in the Old Testament, that still speaks to us today, confirming the importance of who God is and the importance of walking with him by faith. And so that's the idea with the cloud of witnesses. Now, of course, we know that the angels are watching and observing. There's some people who have a whole theology of guardian angels. There are passages in the New Testament and elsewhere that seem to say that the angels are watching us, and not just watching us, but helping to care for the people of God as God sends them to do his work, to minister to those who are going to inherit salvation. We read about that earlier in the book of Hebrews. But I think it's important for us to realize it's not like we're the center of attention for the people in heaven. The angels and the church triumphant focus first and foremost on the triune God, worshipping him around his throne. And that's precisely the picture that we see later in Hebrews 12, and in particular throughout the book of Revelation, as we're given these glimpses of the worship that takes place in heaven in places like Revelation 4 and 5. And throughout the book, the focus is on God and on Jesus, who is triumphed by his death and resurrection. And so that should be our focus, is on God. As well, and on the gospel.
Thank you so much for your question. You know, Andrew, my pastor went through the book of Hebrews during the fall, and man, there is so much powerful stuff there. But you really have to understand it in context because of who the book of Hebrews was addressed to, correct?
Yeah, absolutely. When I preached through the book of Hebrews, I preached through Hebrews after I preached through Leviticus. Because in Leviticus, you have the sort of background of the Levitical priesthood, the sacrifices of the tabernacle and so forth. And the book of Hebrews helps us to see how those things are all a shadowy type, a picture of the salvation that was coming. And so it's really helpful to have some of that Old Testament background. If you can get through the book of Leviticus, people are always like, man, I can't believe you preached through Leviticus. Did you lose half your congregation as you were doing that? And the answer is yes, I did.
But I'm just joking. No, no, it was actually a wonderful book to go through. And just so rich, people are surprised when they hear this, but so rich with the gospel everywhere from the very beginning to the end, especially when you think about the Day of Atonement there at the center of the book of Leviticus. I mean, so much gospel through these types and shadows. And so really important to have that background as we dive into the New Testament and in particular, the book of Hebrews. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we would love to hear from you. Maybe there's a Bible passage that has kind of stumped you throughout the years and you'd like to get some clarification on that from Adriel.
Or maybe you're a person who is struggling with the Christian faith in some way, maybe struggling with the idea of assurance or that Jesus is the only way to God. We'd love to hear from you. Here's the number. It's 833-843-2673.
That's 833 The Core. Let's go to Yasmine calling in from California. Yasmine, what's your question for Adriel?
Hi. So I have this family friend that was raised Christian. However, after his wife divorced him five years ago, he denounced all of his Christian beliefs and unfortunately he became a pagan. And he went all in, meaning he got the tattoos of Norse gods, he filled his home with pagan decor, nice photos of Odin and all that. And he even seemed to participate in modern day, I guess, minor pagan rituals. Now, after a while, after everything happened, he really hated Christian beliefs and would sometimes make comments attacking Christianity in front of his children who were starting to follow or starting to educate themselves on the gospel. However, fortunately, around September of last year, he had an experience that I guess brought him back to Jesus. So he threw out all of his pagan decor, he covered up all his tattoos and he thankfully, you know, he started reading the Bible again. Unfortunately, though, this spark was kind of short lived. As of recently, we have noticed that everything is back, the pagan decor, the, I guess, just certain things that he'll say that we know that he's not practicing that anymore.
He threw out all of his books discussing the gospel. And yeah, his kids are pretty concerned about it. So I'm really close friends with his son and his daughter, and they have come to me multiple times sharing their concerns with their father. But they have not yet approached them or asked them, like, what's going on? You know, did something change? Like, how can we, like, help you?
So my question is, what advice can I give his children on how to approach this issue, the issue being their father fluctuates with his beliefs? I mean, thank you for that question and for explaining that. So I mean, there's that situation so articulately. It sounds to me like there's a little bit of a roller coaster here. I mean, there was the divorce, which led to really turning away from the Lord and almost, I mean, it sounds almost reactionary, you know, almost, you know, in order to get back at God, or the Christian God, I'm going to start, you know, worshiping these pagan deities and decorating my house.
I'm decorating my house in this way. He sounds hurt. He sounds like he's lashing out. And then it sounds like there was maybe a brief time of repentance. I don't know if something else happened that caused him to lash out again and to sort of to go back. Sometimes I found when people do this, there's a real misunderstanding of the gospel and who God is in our relationship to him, such that we think, people think that if I follow you, God, if I say I'm a Christian, then you need to bless me in my life. My marriage needs to be great.
I shouldn't have these financial issues or these other things, right? They've been sold a version of Christianity that isn't biblical. And so when things don't go the way that they want, they get angry at God and they lash out at him.
So maybe there's that kind of misunderstanding here. Maybe that's something where if his children are walking with the Lord, obviously you're a part of their lives, you guys can have conversations, really just talking about, wait a minute, who is God? He's the sovereign ruler of all things. He doesn't need our worship. He doesn't need me.
He doesn't need you. But in his kindness, he's condescended to us through his son, Jesus Christ, so that we who desperately need him might experience his grace and mercy. And Jesus said in John chapter 16, in this world, you will have tribulation.
Don't think it's strange, brothers and sisters, right? We're told by Peter, when you experience the fiery trial because of your faith, as though something strange was happening to you. I think for many people, and Jesus talked about it in the parable of the soils, you know, things don't go well, you know, persecution for the sake of the word or because of the word arises and they wither away. It's a misunderstanding of who God is and who we are and what it means to embrace Christ and to follow him in the gospel.
And so I would try to get to the root of some of those things. Obviously, always praying for the Lord to do a work in this man's life, opening his eyes to truly grasp the truth, his need, that this isn't, you know, just a sort of back and forth thing. God, if you bless me, I'm going to follow you. If I don't think you're blessing me, then I'm, well, fine, I'm going to go worship Odin or whatever.
No, you're only hurting, we're only hurting ourselves when we do that kind of a thing. We're sinning against God, but we're destroying ourselves. And so really grasping the call of God and the mercy of God and the call to follow Christ, no matter what happens, saying, Lord, I'm going to follow you.
I'm going to trust you. Even when things don't seem to be going well, even when my life is falling apart, nothing can separate me from your love, which you've already given to me in your son, Jesus Christ. I mean, this is precisely the point that Paul makes in Romans chapter 8. And so I think his children, his son and his daughter, who are walking with the Lord, can ask some of these questions.
You know, what is it that you're looking for? You know, ultimately, that peace, that longing, that grace, we can only find that in Jesus Christ, but if your expectation is, when I follow Jesus, everything is going to go great, and if it doesn't, then I have a right to be mad at God. Well, you're misunderstanding something about God and his call to follow you. And so we pray that the Lord would open the heart, would bring humility, a softness there, and I'll just pray right now for you, Yasmeen, and for his children, and for him. Father, would you give wisdom in this situation? I pray for this man who has gone back and forth now a couple of times. I ask, God, that you would help him to see his great need of your grace and your great love for us as sinners, Lord, in extending your mercy to us through Jesus Christ, that he would realize, Lord, that he needs that, that he would walk in that, experiencing your mercy and your love, and that you would strengthen his faith, Lord, and that you would use his children, even, giving them wisdom in these conversations, using Yasmeen as well as she has conversations with them, and they seek to encourage each other and pray for each other and pray for him, Lord, that you would do a great work in his life, I ask in Jesus' name, amen. Amen. Yasmeen, thank you so much for your call and for your concern for this man.
It just shows what a tender heart you have. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez, and speaking of friends or relatives who may not be walking with the Lord or may be searching in some way, we actually have a wonderful book that we'd like to recommend today. It's a book that will help you personally, but also in your discussions with non-Christians or people who are doubting or struggling. It's called Prodigal God by one of our favorite authors, Dr. Tim Keller. Yeah, what a great book to be able to offer in light of that question where so many people, and maybe you've been there, turn their back on the Lord, maybe have a period within the church, and then they get angry, upset. They run from God, and they live totally contrary to his law, totally contrary to what he calls us to as his people, as his children. And we wonder, you know, can I come back?
Is there any hope for me? Well, there is. And you think about the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15, how beautiful that picture is, this son who abandoned his father and yet came to his senses. And when he comes back, the father embraces him and clothes him in the best robe. This book, Prodigal God by Tim Keller, really unpacks that parable in a way that is encouraging and edifying. And I want to speak to the person right now who maybe you have been wandering away from the father, and you wonder, can I come back?
Get ahold of this resource. You can get it over at corechristianity.com for a donation of any amount. I know that it'll encourage you. Whether you've been a Christian for a long time or you're a newer believer, I think this is a great book for you.
We love this book, and we can't recommend it highly enough. Again, it's called Prodigal God by Dr. Tim Keller, and you can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Well, we do have a Facebook page here at Core Christianity, and Chris posted this on Facebook, and Chris says, How often should we celebrate the Lord's Supper? Should it be weekly, monthly, or during certain times of the year? Yeah, I mean, there's, I think, some freedom here, and different churches have different practices. I can tell you that our church takes the Lord's Supper, celebrates the Lord's Supper every week, every Lord's Day on Sunday as a part of our worship service. I know that there are other churches that do it once a month. I know that there are some churches that'll even do it less than that quarterly. I even heard once of a church that was saying, You know, we need to just do it once a year, because that was sort of how the Passover was done and whatnot.
But see, I have issues with that. I think we need to understand what the Lord's Supper is, first and foremost. It's a means of grace. That is, it is one of the ways that God communicates His grace to us through these tangible signs that Jesus has left His church, that exhibit the promise of the Gospel. Jesus Himself instituted the Lord's Supper in places like Matthew 26 or Mark 14, for His church as a sign of the Gospel to be observed perpetually. And because it's not just about remembering that Jesus died for us and sort of meditating on the sadness of the crucifixion, but also receiving something tangibly from God, the promise of the Gospel, I think it's something we should do with frequency. Now, the concern that people have is, well, if we take the Lord's Supper, you know, every week, won't it get sort of rote? You know, won't it become mundane?
Won't we minimize its importance? And the fact of the matter is, I mean, that can happen. It can happen with gathering for church every week, frankly, with hearing the preaching of the Word.
And so I don't know that I buy that argument entirely. I think we as Christians have to really think about, as we're approaching worship every week, really think about coming before the Lord humbly, sincerely, confessing our sins to Him, eager to receive the gifts that He gives to us, that He offers to us. And certainly the Lord's Supper is one of those great gifts. Let me just tell you one of the things that I think is so beautiful about this ordinance or sacrament in particular as a means of grace.
I talk to so many people. If you listen to the broadcast, you hear people calling in who say, I don't know if God really loves me. I'm concerned that, you know, I believe I'm a Christian, but I really struggle with sin. I struggle to grasp the promise of the Gospel for myself. I hear the preacher talk about the fact that God is forgiving and merciful and all of these things, and I think, yeah, I'm sure that's true for the people out there, for maybe the other people that are sitting with me here in the church, but if they knew me, if they knew how much I struggle with doubts, with sin, I don't know that they would say that this is for me. And so, you know, what the Lord's Supper does is it takes the promise of the Gospel in one sense and it personalizes it even further after you've heard the preached word of the preaching of the Gospel to then have the pastor, the minister take the bread and the wine as Jesus commanded us to and to say, this is my body given for you. This is my blood poured out for you and for you as an individual to say, hey, that's Jesus' word to me. As someone who desperately needs this grace, Jesus is giving me these good gifts, these promises, me, the one who struggles, the one who is weak in faith. The Lord's Supper isn't for perfect people. It's for sinners who know they need the grace of God. And so what a wonderful gift that we should take advantage of and that we should be encouraged by. Again, I don't think that, I'm not trying to say that, you know, churches that don't do it every single week are sinning in some way.
I just think that there's good reasons to partake of the Lord's Supper frequently as the body of Christ because it is a means of grace. Thank you for that question. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Let's go to Joshua calling in from Illinois. Joshua, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Pastor Adriel.
I got a question. I was trying to witness to my friend who is gay and he was saying, like I was trying to show that in the Bible he was saying that it is a sin to be homosexual or other such things and he was saying that... He was raised a Roman Catholic and he studied all the different versions of the Bible and all this. He said in the original translation to Latin, which is the closest you could get to the original Bible, that a man should not sleep with a boy and not a man, so I was just wondering what you have to say about that and how I could try and witness to him because I feel like he just took my stacking of the Bible because he doesn't believe that the different translations are accurate, you know? So please think about that.
Yeah. It grieves me because there are so many people that are led astray by that lie. There's a movement that's saying, right, the Bible actually doesn't condemn homosexuality as a sin and they'll go to various passages like the passages in the book of Leviticus or in Romans or in 1 Corinthians and they'll try to give an explanation and one of the explanations is, well, what's being condemned is, you know, not homosexuality but pedophilia or something like that, but the fact of the matter is you really can't get around it as much as you appeal to the Latin or whatever this individual is doing.
The fact of the matter is, I mean, the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the New Testament in Greek. We have many of those ancient manuscripts, the word that's used for homosexuality, at least in places like 1 Corinthians 6, actually two words that's used there where it talks about those who practice homosexuality, not inheriting the kingdom of God, alongside of, by the way, sexually immoral, adulterers, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and so on and so forth. It's not that this sin is singled out, if you will. This is one of the sins that's mentioned, but the two words that are used there encompass essentially the passive and dominant partners in a homosexual relationship, not just, you know, adults and children.
We're talking about gay relationships. Same thing with Paul in the beginning of Romans, and this was something that was a part of that society, besides just pedophilia, and that was an issue in the Roman Empire as well, but you can't get around it, and specifically, I mean, that's, you know, when you look at Romans chapter 1, Paul basically spells it out. He says, For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions, for their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature, and men likewise gave up the natural relations with women, and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
There it's spelled out, Romans chapter 1, verses 26 and 27. And so I would say, you know, having this conversation, and saying, look, this is what the word of God teaches, and as much as we might want to bring the word of God into conformity with us, and our own struggles with sinful behavior, we can't do that. We're called to confess our sins, and that's where the good news of the Gospel comes in, for your friend, but for each and every one of us who struggle with different sins, that we can confess those things to the Lord, and receive His grace, His mercy, His kindness. That God doesn't just leave us in our sin, or abandon us, but that He calls us to Himself, and that through the blood of Christ, we can be forgiven. That doesn't mean that we don't continue to struggle, or have ungodly desires, but again, we confess those to the Lord, and we receive the grace that He gives to us, and a resource that we can also let you know about, that we created some time ago, because this question was coming up quite a bit. It's called, 10 Things Everyone Should Know About the Bible and Homosexuality.
It gets into your question in more detail. Maybe it'd be helpful to get that resource over at corechristianity.com, as you have these conversations with this friend. And of course, one of the troubling things we've talked about before, are their entire denominations now, who are basically jettisoning God's word on homosexuality. You know, one of the things that the Old Testament says of the false prophets, is that they say, peace, peace, where there is no peace. In other words, instead of calling out sin for what it is, they say, just go ahead and live however you want.
No, we have the good news of the gospel, which calls us away from sin to the grace of God. God bless you guys. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com, and click on offers in the menu bar, or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833, the CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
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