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How You Can Reach Gen Z

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
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December 21, 2020 1:00 am

How You Can Reach Gen Z

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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December 21, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 601 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

CoreChristianity.com

 

Show Notes

 

1. I have a family member who will not forgive someone. Does unforgiveness affect their salvation in any way?

2. What does "according to his works" mean in Romans 2? Is Paul contradicting himself when he talks about salvation being rendered "according to works"?

3. What do I say to my pastor who only preaches about holy living and not the gospel?

4. Can churches that recite creeds and sing hymns be attractive to the younger generation?

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Do you think that a church that sings hymns and recites creeds can still appeal to the younger generation? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity.

That's 1-833-843-2673. And you can email us with your question at questions at corechristianity.com. First up today, if you're a married person who's trying to lose weight, ask your spouse to join you. According to a new study, couples who attempt to lose weight together are almost three times more likely to be successful. Heart attack survivors in the Netherlands were given diet and exercise plans to cut their risk of suffering another attack. Their partners were encouraged to join in, so scientists could compare the success rates between couples who attempted to lose weight together and those who didn't.

Well, here's what they found. Patients lost more weight if they were supported by their spouse. In fact, they were 2.7 times more likely to lose weight over a year than those who did it without the support of their partner. So Adriel, I was thinking if you ever need to go on a diet when you get older, you want to get your wife to start making you those kale smoothies. You know, Bill, they didn't have to have a whole scientific study to determine that.

I mean, how can it not be the case? I mean, there have been times in my own life where I've said to my wife, you know, I really want to sort of cut back a little bit. But if she's not on board and she's still making cookies and all the good stuff, it's just impossible. So I just feel like, yeah, it makes sense. You got to be in it together, otherwise it's not going to happen. Well, wait till your kids get to be teenagers because my daughters are always making the cookies now. Oh, it's like, oh, let me make like five batches.

The more the better. It is a constant battle in our house. Well, let's get to our first question of the day. And Detlef emailed us and said, I have a family member that will not forgive. The person says they're a believer and there's evidence of religion there, but digging deeper, this person does not want to be questioned on whether or not they are saved. Assuming they are, how does their unforgiveness affect their salvation or does it only affect their reward in heaven?

Detlef, thank you for that question. I've shared this statistic before, but Barna recently reported that one in four professing believers say that there is someone in their life who they simply cannot forgive. Not just that they don't want to forgive, but it's almost as if they're saying, I can't, it's physically impossible for me to forgive this person.

And I think that's a pretty shocking number. 25% of professing believers say that there is someone that they cannot forgive. It's staggering, especially because forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian message, the forgiveness that we receive from God himself. Now, it does seem like in the New Testament, there's this correlation between God's forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others.

And I think that needs to be explained. I'm thinking of what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 6. You know the passage related to the Lord's Prayer. He said, pray then like this, Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

And then note very closely what Jesus says next. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. That's a very sobering word there from Jesus.

And I think we have to note a couple of things. One, in scripture, it's not that our having been forgiven is dependent on how well we forgive others. I mean the fact of the matter is that's really antithetical to what the Gospel teaches. If somebody were to go to God demanding that God forgive them because of how well they've forgiven others, well that's just not the Gospel. That's salvation by works, by my forgiving others. No, in the Bible, our forgiveness of others presupposes that we have been forgiven. This is why our focus, when it comes to forgiving others that left, has to be on how much God has forgiven us. You see, if we're so consumed with what someone else has done, if we're focusing on their sin first and foremost, then it will be very difficult to extend forgiveness to them. But if we recall the fact that we were dead in trespasses and sins, that we were rebelling against a holy God, that what we deserved for our sins was death, and yet God in Christ reached down to us and pulled us up from the pit of sin that we were in and washed us and cleansed us and forgave us. Well then, when we're meditating on that, when we're focusing on that, and we realize how great a debt we've been forgiven, well then we're able to turn around to others, to our brothers, to our sisters, to those even who are outside of Christ, and extend to them forgiveness through the forgiveness that we've received.

A passage like the one that I just read from Jesus there, I think also is this argument from lesser to greater. It's supposed to make us confident in God's forgiveness. If we who are weak, sinful, broken, if we can forgive others, how much more will God forgive who is compassionate beyond measure? I think a lack of forgiveness among believers is really a serious issue. It's a symptom of a deep heart problem, a lack of understanding when it comes to the gospel, when it comes to the extent of our own sin and how much God has forgiven us. I think the way that we help with that is not by downplaying the ways in which we've been sinned against.

I think what you want to do with this family member is not to go to them and say, well look, it wasn't that big of a deal, or this person, their sin is not that bad. No, because oftentimes we're sinned against in these horrible ways. We don't downplay the sin of others. We focus on the fact that God has forgiven us an immense weight of sin, and if God has forgiven us and been kind to us, we ought to forgive others. Amen. What a great point, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Here's a question that came in through our Instagram account from Trevon. Trevon says, what does according to his works mean in Romans chapter 2 in regards to us getting eternal life? Isn't Paul contradicting himself in Galatians chapter 2 when he says that by the works of the law no one will be justified?

I have a hard time understanding how good works fit into my Christian walk. Yeah, we were sort of just talking about it right there, that text on forgiveness and the relationship between God's forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others, so I think you're referring to Romans chapter 2 verses 6 through 8 where it says he will render to each one according to his works. To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. For those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury, there will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil to the Jew first and also to the Greek. But glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek, for God shows no partiality. And then he goes into verse 12, for all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. Now we have to understand this text in the context of the argument that the Apostle Paul is making.

What he's doing is he's highlighting the universal sinfulness of humanity, and it's not just the Gentiles are sinful, the people out there and we're good. I mean that was sort of the assumption that the Jews had that Paul is speaking to here in this context. Paul is highlighting the fact that everyone, Jew and Gentile, has fallen short of God's law, that when it comes to salvation by our works, none of us measures up. And in fact, this is what the Apostle Paul goes on to specify later in verse 25 of chapter 2. For circumcision indeed is a value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So if a man who is uncircumcised, that is the Jew, keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? What he's highlighting here is everyone, the circumcised and the uncircumcised, have fallen short of God's law.

There is none righteous. Now why does Paul make this point? Because ultimately he's trying to lead us to the gospel, to Jesus, to the free justification that we have in him. Verse 21 of chapter 3, but now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. So Paul is actually not contradicting himself here in Romans or in the book of Galatians. He's highlighting the fact that all have sinned, fallen short of God's glory, and the only hope that we have is not in our obedience to the law.

I mean, if we could keep the law perfectly, well then yeah, sure, but none of us do. The only hope that we have is in the free justification that we receive by faith in Jesus Christ. And so where do good works fit in? They're our response to God's mercy to us in Christ. We're called to them. We're obligated to do them. And Paul says later in the book of Romans, we're debtors, not to the flesh to walk according to the flesh. If we live according to the flesh, we're going to die, Paul says. No, we're debtors to live lives of righteousness.

Why? Because we've been justified. We've been forgiven. God has poured his mercy upon us.

And so good works are the proper response to the mercy of God showered upon us in Jesus Christ. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. I'm Bill Meyer, and here at this program, our mission is to help you understand the core truths of the Christian faith. But the fact is, we can't do it without your help.

Absolutely, Bill. We are a listener-supported program, and all of the work that we do, from the articles on our website, to the resources we produce, and each and every question answered on this program is only possible with your support. So if you've benefited from the answers to questions about the Christian faith that you hear on Core Christianity, and if you want others to experience that as well, we would ask you to please consider sending a gift now to help us continue our work. As a thank you for a gift of $20 or more, we'll send you our new resource, How to Read the Bible. This resource introduces you to the history of the Bible, key concepts that help to bridge the Old and the New Testaments together, key ideas from the main sections of the Bible, and it shows you how the entire Bible points to Jesus. How to Read the Bible is a 10-week study that can be used in personal devotions, Sunday school classes, or your Bible study group. Each weekly lesson includes selected passages from the Bible, reflection questions, and explanations of the key themes every Christian should know about the Bible. To make a donation and receive this new study, just head over to CoreChristianity.com forward slash Bible. That's CoreChristianity.com forward slash Bible.

And on behalf of the entire team here at Core Radio, we thank you for your support. All right, Adriel, let's get to another question. This is an email that came in from John. He says, How should I approach my pastor if he does not preach the gospel?

When asked questions, he affirms Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, but the focus of his sermons is exclusively on holy, sanctified living. And can I tell you kind of a funny story? I remember year one of our church plant, probably about six months in, you know, we have a solid core group, and there's this brother there who's no longer at our church, and you'll probably figure out why in just a moment. But he's there. He was a member at that time. And he came up to me after one Sunday morning service. And he had been gone the previous week. And he said, Well, I asked him, you know, how are things going?

How was how was last week? And he said, Oh, he's like, I visited this other church. And it was so wonderful. He said, he said, I have never heard the gospel preached like that in my whole life. And I was like, listening to this guy, like, okay, you know, yeah, that's, you know, like, you've been sitting under my preaching now for some for some time. And then he said this, there are only two churches where I've ever really felt the love of God, that church last week, and John MacArthur's church.

The funny thing was, I mean, the guy was like, he was he was not trying to be a punk, you know, like he was he was being totally honest. But I remember walking away from that comfort. And I was laughing, you know, laughing in my mind. And obviously, you know, just gracious and crying at the same time, right? Yeah, yeah, that's right. Be careful what you tell your pastor, because, you know, sometimes got to be sensitive.

And I remember walking away. And of course, you know, I'm I'm I preach the gospel every every Sunday, and I want to point people to Jesus. I think his thing was he just preferred other guys sermons.

And so I would just say, john, be sensitive, you know, as you have this conversation with your pastor, look, I mean, this is a serious charge. Because for a pastor to not preach the gospel is to essentially be derelict in his duties. Pastors who don't preach the gospel shouldn't be pastors, just say it, find another job. If you can't preach the gospel, if you're not pointing people to Jesus Christ through his word, well, then you shouldn't be in the pulpit. Now, what do I mean by preach the gospel? I don't mean, you know, you preach a sermon, and then you do an altar call at the end, and you invite people to ask Jesus into their heart. That's not what I mean by preach the gospel. I mean, you're showing people how all of Scripture is leading us to Christ, and you're just giving them a to do list. You're billboarding Jesus is done. What he's accomplished for us on the cross so that people aren't focusing on themselves, but on Christ. They're growing in their love for God and in holiness and obedience to God's word, not because you're giving them all these things to do, but because they're resting in Christ, receiving him, and by the work of the Holy Spirit, cultivating the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their in their own lives through the gospel.

Look, as I say, Johnny, I mean, this is so important. I think you want to be sensitive to your pastor. I think, you know, you don't you don't want to come, you know, from the top down and say, Hey, you know, you're a false teacher, not preaching.

I mean, I don't know exactly what what the situation is. But I think if you can get together and just say, Hey, as one of the sheep here, as a part of this church, one thing I'm struggling with is I feel like your sermons are continually pointing me back to me. And what I really need is the bread of life, Jesus. I've sat under pastors before who that's all it is. It's five ways to be a better you, you know, three things to do to strengthen your marriage, just sort of moralism.

I mean, that's what we call it. It's all about you and being a better person and living your best life now. And you wonder, you know, like, where does the cross actually fit into all of this? Well, and when you sit under that kind of preaching for a long time, it does one of two things. It either makes you a legalist because you think, Oh, I'm doing pretty good. I can keep the, you know, the three things to be a better Christian, you know, sort of sermon.

I can do that. And you start to think to yourself, like, I got this or it'll completely crush you because you'll realize as the law is being preached, that you can't perfectly obey God and you fail and you struggle. You'll just completely feel like every week you're not enough. You don't measure up and you'll get discouraged.

And I've talked to people who have left the church after years of being in that kind of church, under that kind of ministry, because they just feel like this must not be for me. I'm a failure. Oh, you know what? That's what the law does. It exposes our failures. It shows us that we can't be justified by our own righteousness. And that's why, John, we need to hear the gospel every week. That's why this is so important.

And that's why you do. If you're not hearing that gospel, if you're just hearing the law, but you're not being led to Jesus and having Christ and his work placarded before you so that you can rest in him. If you're not having nothing yet, have that conversation with humility, prayerfully, sensitive, really important that we approach it in that way. And why don't we pray for John right now and for really all of the believers who are in churches where they're hearing a lot of the law and they're pointed to themselves, but they're not being pointed to Jesus. Father, help us. Help our churches, first and foremost, Lord, to be places where Christ is proclaimed. Whereas Paul said in the book of Galatians, Jesus is being placarded, billboarded for us. You think of all the times, Lord, I think of all the times where the Apostle Paul talked about the centrality of the cross, how he purposed to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. May the cross be central in the pulpits throughout the United States. And may we be pointed away from ourselves and to Jesus and through that message, Lord, may we grow in holiness and in obedience to your word. And I pray for John. I pray that you would give him grace as he talks to his pastor, as he seeks, Lord, to encourage his pastor, but also to understand what's going on in his church. And hopefully, Lord, to be able to point his pastor to a very real need. Would you be with him?

Would you give him the words to say? And would you bless that conversation in Jesus name? Amen. Amen. You're listening to Core Christianity. I'm Bill Meyer with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And one of the ways you can submit a question to us is by going to our website at corechristianity.com slash radio. There's a little microphone icon on the right side of the page there.

If you click on that, you can actually record your question anytime, day or night. And that's exactly what Logan did. Do you think a church that still sings hymns and recites creeds as a congregation can appeal to younger generations?

Absolutely, I do, Logan. I mean, and I better because we do that in the church that I pastor. We recite creeds and sing hymns and say the Lord's Prayer.

And it's such an important part, I think, of Christian worship. Our congregation is fairly diverse, you know, a lot of young families, singles, and we're still growing as a church. But I feel like those things, you know, the recitation of creeds, ancient creeds, like the Nicene Creed and the singing of hymns have not kept people away from our church. Sometimes it can be new for people, and maybe in that sense a little bit of a hurdle, but I think that as we understand the faith and what it is that should attract people to the church, well, it makes perfect sense.

You see, here's the thing. Our ministries, what should attract people about our ministries isn't that they appeal to a particular demographic, this sort of niche church. What should attract people to our ministry is Jesus, is the pure gospel that's being proclaimed. One of the problems with the sort of consumeristic Christianity that we have today was sort of born out of the church growth movement, the sort of seeker sensitive movement, is that we focus on particular demographics and build churches for one kind of person. You can grow a church in that way. It can be the church of the young, hip people or older, retired people or whatever it might be, but at the end of the day, that church is not going to reflect the power and the beauty of the gospel in bringing together sinners from all different stripes and backgrounds.

That's what the word, what the faith once for all delivered to the saints can do, and that's what's summarized in things like the creed. I was not too long ago reading a Christianity Today article that was talking about the different niche churches that are out there. You have cowboy churches, which appeal to a particular Western sort of style and culture, and everybody shows up to church in their cowboy hat. Those kinds of churches probably wouldn't do too well where I'm at in San Diego, but you also have, and this is a new thing, warrior churches that are springing up throughout the United States, where people gather together early on a Sunday morning and do a sort of CrossFit type of a workout and then have some Bible study and teaching. It's the church for the physically fit, for the warriors. Now, let me just say that didn't really appeal to me getting up in the morning and doing a lot of push-ups and prayer, but it did appeal to me. There's another one that Christianity talked about called taco churches, which I had never heard of, but this is where people gather together at Taco Bell for prayer. I didn't even want to mention that one to my church because I felt like we would lose members.

It's like prayer and chalupas. The thing is, look, that's not what the church is. We're not called to try to cater to a particular demographic young or old. We're called, as I said before, to placard Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. That should be the message that draws people, young, old, black, white, different socioeconomic backgrounds, that draws people together and brings them into one church.

So often, we're so concerned with the style. Do I fit in? Do I have a lot that I can relate to with the people here in this church? The church doesn't exist for you to find people that are just like you.

It's not a social club. The church is where sinners like you from different backgrounds gather together around the bread of life. Stick to the gospel and watch God by His Spirit build the church in a way that you never could. 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 podcast. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-13 09:52:42 / 2024-01-13 10:02:50 / 10

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