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Does Satan Tempt Us by Reading Our Thoughts?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
July 9, 2021 6:30 am

Does Satan Tempt Us by Reading Our Thoughts?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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July 9, 2021 6:30 am

Episode 746 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes


Questions in this Episode

1. How do you admonish those in the church who are adopting unbiblical ideas about sexuality and other things?

2. How can I pursue reconciling my relationship with my adult son?

3. Outside of the qualifications for eldership in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1, which qualities are most important?

4. What does it mean to pray in the Spirit?

5. Can Satan read our thoughts, and is that how he tempts us? Or is it all external?

6. Why do people feel angry at God when tragedy strikes them? Doesn’t he say he will “work all things together for our good”?

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Does Satan know our thoughts like God does? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. You can always leave a voicemail at that number, and you can post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. You can watch us right now on YouTube Live and send us a message that way. And you can email us your question at questions at

A whole bunch of different ways to get in contact with us, and we'd love to hear from you. Right now, let's go to Ruth in Media, Pennsylvania. Ruth, what is your question for Pastor Adriel? My question is this. The other day, day before yesterday, I think it was, a lady named Sally was talking about the church and what stand they should take on. The way she said it, I think, was political issues.

I think it went deeper than that. In terms of our culture, there are things that seem to be accepted, at least by some churches, such as same-sex marriages, people living together without marrying. Things that I think in the Bible, in the Old and New Testament, are clearly spoken against. So I was just wondering what you, Pastor Sanchez, what your take on that would be. Yeah, Ruth.

Well, I mean, it's absolutely devastating, I think. One of the hallmarks of false prophets in the Old Testament and false teachers in the New Testament was that they didn't call out sin. So, for example, throughout the book of Jeremiah, when Jeremiah is talking about the false prophets, he's rebuking the false prophets in Israel.

Over and over again, he says, you guys say peace, peace, where there is no peace. You're essentially telling the people of God, hey, there's no problem with the way that you're living, with your idolatry, with these practices that are abhorrent to God, truly, but you're saying everything is fine. God is not going to judge you for these things. And over and over again, it seems to me that in the Bible, this is one of the characteristics of false teachers, of false prophets. You see the same thing when Peter describes the false teachers in 2 Peter 2.

He talks about how they're just given to sensuality. They have eyes full of adultery. They cannot cease from sinning. And that should really break our hearts. So when we see churches sort of go that way, where they've stopped essentially being faithful to the teaching of the Bible, to the teaching related to the Bible's sexual ethic as well, embracing things like same-sex marriage or homosexual relationships or any number of other things.

There are all sorts of things that we could list there. It really is a sign of the fact that the church has fallen. Those churches in particular, I think, can't claim to be faithful to the word of God.

And so I think it's absolutely lamentable. James says in James 1, verse 27, religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world. And a little bit later, he's going to say, don't you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God. So churches or Christian ministries that are trying to befriend the world and we want to be accepted and so let's just embrace the sort of cultural definition on some of these things. At the end of the day, what ends up happening is, frankly, those ministries, they become worthless because they don't preach the law and they don't preach the gospel either.

And so if you're asking for my personal opinion on this, I think, again, it's just the false teachers that Peter described in 2 Peter 2 are very much present in the church today. And so we need to hold fast to God's word, to what the scripture teaches, and it's sad to see that there are many churches and ministries out there today that aren't doing that. And so that's my perspective and we need to pray. We need to pray for our churches. We need to pray for Christian leaders that God would give them just courage to be faithful to the word and that the word would continue to go out and transform lives and lead people more and more into holiness and into a faithful walk with the Lord. So thank you, Ruth, for your question. Great counsel.

Thanks for that, Adriel. By the way, we have a great core question. If you are looking for a new church and you're kind of wondering, what does this particular church believe? How do I ask those questions? How do I decide which is a biblically centered church?

We have this wonderful question. It's called, How do I choose a church? You can find that at forward slash questions, especially if you've just moved to a new area and you're kind of deciding, well, how do I make sure I'm getting in a church that is solid like Adriel's talking about? Check that out.

How do I choose a good church? Let's go to Sue in St. Louis, Missouri. Sue, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yes.

Hello. My question is that my relationship with a 39-year-old son has deteriorated greatly due to something he's angry about, will not address it with me, and I'm looking for restoration. And I think that he has a personality disorder, possibly narcissistic, entitlement, in control, superior, etc., been praying and praying and asking others to pray.

I just need to know how to go forward. Yeah, that's a very difficult question to answer, but it sounds to me like you're starting on the right foot in terms of praying, because when somebody has been hurt and they're angry with us, maybe for good reason or maybe for not so good of a reason, we can't change their heart. It really takes the work of the Holy Spirit, Sue, and so I would say continue to pray and to ask others to pray for your son and to keep the door open as much as is possible, reaching out to him, extending your love to him. I don't know if there is another personality disorder or maybe a mental health issue. There was a book I read some time ago called When Narcissism Comes to Church, Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse. It was written by Chuck Degrow, and it's a really, I think, helpful Christian perspective on narcissism in the church in particular and with regard to leaders in the church.

You might find that resource to be helpful. But I would say continuing to pray. We're called as Christians, and I don't know if your son professes faith in Jesus Christ, but we are called as Christians to forgive one another. Of course, that forgiveness comes first and foremost from recognizing how much God has forgiven us. I think a part of the healing process is even your son fully understanding the mercy of God in Christ, the mountain, if you will, that God has forgiven of our own sins. It's only as we grasp that, as we realize how good and how merciful God was to us in his son Jesus freely, not on the basis of anything that we had done, that we're enabled, I think, to extend that kind of forgiveness to others when we've been hurt. I think even having those kinds of conversations about God and his goodness and forgiveness can be instrumental in terms of restoring the relationship between the two of you, but continue to pray, to look to the Lord, to soften his heart, and also to pray that God might reveal to you, are there things that you've done as well?

This is often the case with these kinds of situations where we also, in our relationships, contribute in some way to some of the difficulty at times. I don't know your situation specifically, but just having an open heart before the Lord and saying, God, is there anything that I need to confess, that I need to ask my son for forgiveness for as I pursue restoration, reconciliation with him? So pray and ask others to pray and continue to pursue him as the Lord gives opportunity. Let me just take an opportunity right now to pray for you and for your son. Dear Heavenly Father, God, our hearts break when there are these kinds of family situations, Lord, loved ones from whom we're estranged because of some conflict. I don't know the situation entirely, Lord, but you know the situation. You know what's going on with Sue and with her son and what's going on in his heart. Dear God, I pray that you would soften his heart, that you would bring healing in their relationship, restoration, a great sense of forgiveness, that your presence would be with them and that you would guide them.

Would you give Sue wisdom as well as she thinks about the best way to approach her son and to seek the building once again of this relationship? So would you be with them, Lord, and bless them, we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.

Amen. 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 right now. Our phone lines will be open for the next 15 minutes or so, so now's the time to call. Here's the phone number.

It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673 if you want to call into the studio right now with your question. Well, here's a voicemail we received from one of our listeners named Gabriel. I had a question about eldership. What, outside of the qualifications for eldership in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, would you say are the most important? Thank you.

Okay. I mean, outside of the qualifications that are given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus chapter 1, I think that the reason those are listed are because those are the most important things. So other things that we might look to, like how funny is the communicator?

What do they look like? Can they attract people by their personality? Those kinds of things are often things that we value, that Christians value in the church, that churches value, but they're not listed in the Bible as what you want to look for in an elder, in particular in a pastor. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians about his ministry to them and his preaching, he says, I didn't come to you with wisdom of words. It wasn't this flowery proclamation that I gave to you.

I was with you in weakness, fear, and trembling. I once heard a guy say, imagine a church looking for a pastor and they're going through a number of candidates and one of them shows up and they say, how's your preaching? What's your preaching like? And the response is, well, it doesn't sound very wise, actually.

It's not with wisdom of words. A lot of times when I'm behind the pulpit, I kind of look weak. I'm just overwhelmed by a sense of my own weakness, fear, even trembling. Sometimes I shake when I'm behind the pulpit. What would the church search committee say? That's not really what we look for. We want a guy who's confident and funny and exciting and can sort of rile up a crowd, and yet that's not what we get so often in the scriptures.

What is important are those qualifications. Are you called? Is an individual really called? And that calling looks like two things. It looks like an internal call, this desire to serve in this capacity as an elder in the church as a teacher, but then there's also an external call. The church is affirming those gifts. I think too often today there are individuals who think they're called because they have this desire to preach or to teach that kind of a thing, but the church hasn't affirmed that call. They sort of call themselves to the ministry, but you need to have both. There's this internal call and this external call given by the church, and that's a sign that God really is calling us to this task, and I think that that's really, really important.

And then you have the competency piece. They're able to teach, as 1 Timothy 3 says. Are they able to preach the word? Do they know God's word? Have they studied it?

Have they been trained? That is important, and oftentimes, again, that's one of the main things we look to, but the biggest focus in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 is character. How does this person lead their family? Are they above reproach?

Can people bring accusations against them? Are they known for being a drunkard of that kind of a thing? Character is the most important thing, and frankly, it's the thing that we oftentimes neglect, even when looking for pastors today, sadly, and it's led to all sorts of problems in the church. And so I would say, rather than trying to find, you know, setting those things aside and saying, okay, what are the other important things? I think we need to focus once again on the qualifications that we find in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and sort of double down on those and say, look, this is what we need in leaders and elders in the church today, and we can't settle for any less. Thanks for that question. Yeah, when you turn to that passage in Titus in the Bible, there's a picture of Adriel right next to it, which is pretty cool. Bill.

There are no pictures in the Bible, Bill. Oh, okay. All right. We do appreciate you, though, and your character, I must say. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

He always blushes when I compliment him. Let's talk about something for moms and dads and grandparents for a moment. We have a really cool resource that we want to offer you. It's absolutely free and it really has to deal with our kids.

Yeah, it's called Seven Things Children Teach Us. We've been offering it now for a few days. It's a free resource, as Bill said. We love creating these resources and then just giving them to you because we want you to be blessed. We want you to be edified together with your family. You may have noticed over the last couple of weeks we've been focusing, especially this summer, on resources for the family. We did the Bible memory thing a couple of weeks ago. Now, today, we're once again offering this resource, Seven Things Children Teach Us. Get a hold of it, and Bill will let you know how. Just go to forward slash offers and download Seven Things Children Teach Us. You can also call us for that resource or any one of our resources at 833-843-2673.

That's 833, the core. Let's go to Cheryl in O'Fallon, Missouri. Cheryl, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi there.

Thank you so much for taking my call. I would like to know what exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit? You know, the disciples prayed in the Spirit. What does that feel like to me?

Hey, Cheryl. Well, there are some people who say, you know, praying in the Spirit is a reference to the gift of tongues. And if you look in 1 Corinthians chapter 14, there I think is some evidence for that. Now, not even bringing up the question of whether or not tongues is a gift that is given in the church today, it does seem like in 1 Corinthians 14 at least, there in that context, as Paul is having a discussion about spiritual gifts, about the gift of prophecy, about the gift of tongues, it does seem like praying in the Spirit there is a reference to praying in this unknown language. But there are other places, like in the book of Ephesians and elsewhere, where I think it's not referring to the gift of tongues in particular, but just praying in a way that's in line with God's will, under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Of course, we're called in Ephesians to be filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking to each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord, to build ourselves up in our most holy faith. Praying in the Spirit, we're told elsewhere. And so I think it really is just a reference to the fact that when we pray, when we come before the Lord, we need to pray according to his will and by and through his word. What is it that God calls us to focus on in prayer?

You think about what Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew when he taught his disciples how to pray, how to pray in this way, and so I think Spirit-filled prayers, or praying in the Spirit, are prayers that are in alignment with God's word and will, as revealed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Thanks for your question. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. You can leave a voicemail anytime, 24 hours a day. On our line, it's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail we received earlier this week. Hi, my name is Maddie, and I've actually called in before, and I just want to thank you so much for your show, and also the booklet that I received from y'all called Seeing Jesus. I've read it with my kids and myself personally, and I just really enjoyed it.

Would love to know how to get more of them so that I could give them to some of my friends. The other question, though, that I have, I don't know really how to explain it, but I know God can read our thoughts, and we see Jesus can read our thoughts, but can Satan read our thoughts? And is that how he can tempt us or cause us to stumble?

I don't know if the scripture speaks to that or not, but I am curious. I appreciate your show again. Thank you.

Hey, Maddie, thank you for that encouragement. I'm glad you enjoyed Seeing Jesus. To your question, can Satan read our thoughts? I mean, we have to remember that Satan is limited. He's not omniscient. He's not like God.

He's a created being. And so while the Lord sees and knows all things, the devil, Satan, his minions, they don't. And so, no, I don't believe that Satan can read our thoughts, but it does seem to me like in scripture, he can plant these sort of external ideas and temptations into our minds. I think about what we read in John chapter 13.

This is right after Jesus had started to wash his disciples' feet. We read in verse 2, During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him. In other words, this is something that Judas is doing under the influence of the devil himself, the evil one. So these temptations, these influences, these thoughts even, can come from the outside, but I don't think that that means that Satan can read our thoughts. Now, there is a supernatural power that the evil one has.

You see this all over the place. I think of like Exodus in the book of Exodus, I think chapter 7 and 8, where you have pharaohs, magicians, sort of replicating the miracles that God was doing through Moses. It was probably some sort of supernatural demonic power. Or in Acts chapter 16, there's a servant girl, a slave girl, who's possessed by a spirit of divination. And we're told there in Acts 16 that she brought her master much profit through fortune telling. In other words, she had this sort of supernatural ability that was given to her by the evil one.

And so Satan is limited, but he does have this power, this supernatural power, although I don't think it's a power to read your mind or to look into your mind. We have to remember also what our call is in the midst of this as Christians. We are called very clearly to resist the devil, to stand firm against the devil, to take up the armor of God. Ephesians chapter 6 talks about this.

And so that's our call in the midst of this. And one comfort that we have is that Christ is the one who holds us. 1 John chapter 5 makes it very clear, I think, that a true believer, someone who's united to Jesus Christ by faith, can't be possessed by the devil or filled with an evil spirit. Now we might experience temptation. We might experience spiritual attack and oppression. But if you belong to Jesus, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. And Satan can't get in. And so that's good news for Christians.

And I think a great comfort that we have that Christ is the one who keeps us. Thank you for your question. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Phyllis calling in from Kansas. Phyllis, what's your question?

Hi. Yes, I appreciate your ministry over the radio. But my question is, in the past few years, I've heard more often than not, Christians and non-Christians express themselves as being mad at God when a personal tragedy has affected their lives. It seems as if no one's mad at the devil, only God. But for me, it is more understandable when non-Christians express themselves in this manner because they do not know God or have been indwelt with his Spirit. However, I'm wondering, when a Christian expresses himself in this way, do they really know God? If we're saved, we learn through faith in the Scriptures that God is good. And he loves us so much that all things work out for our good. So how can we be mad at a good God? That's my question. God bless you, sister.

Thank you for that call. The reality is there are people who can have real experiences of God and his grace and yet still respond in ways that are not pleasing to the Lord, like with anger. Think of, for example, the wilderness generation. They saw God's mighty hand at work. They were brought through the Red Sea.

They were delivered from Egypt. Time and time again in the wilderness, they were angry with God. They were upset. They grumbled against him. And of course, God judged them for that. Throughout the Book of Psalms, Phyllis, we have what are known as the Psalms of Lament, where the psalmist, a genuine believer, is crying out to God, sometimes in fear, sometimes, I think, even in anger, frustration, wondering, Where are you, God?

Why don't I experience or feel your presence? And especially when people are going through suffering, I think there is this natural temptation to be upset, to get angry at God. And I think you're right. We shouldn't. We should have, I think, a more mature understanding about how God works in the world. But for many, even genuine believers, they don't have that understanding. So I think we want to be patient and sensitive to those, especially those who are suffering. I mean, it sounds to me, Phyllis, like you do have a good grasp on the scripture, so that when you're talking to a Christian, a brother or sister who's struggling with this, you can come alongside of them and encourage them and point them to the fact that God, even in the midst of our suffering, hasn't stopped loving us.

That, as you said in Romans chapter 8, he's able to make all things work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose, and so we can rest in his goodness. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-23 13:36:47 / 2023-09-23 13:46:29 / 10

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