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When Does Our Liberty to Drink Become a Stumbling Block?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
August 2, 2021 6:30 am

When Does Our Liberty to Drink Become a Stumbling Block?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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August 2, 2021 6:30 am

Episode 762 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes


Questions in this Episode

1. What is dispensationalism and what is its opposing view?

2. I am going to a new church with my sons and we love it: the teaching is solid, everything about it seems exactly what we need. However, I noticed that they promote a Bible study called, “Beer and Bible.” And those two don’t seem to go together. I seem to have a check in my spirit about it, especially since this can be an issue that people struggle with and are coming out of addiction. So should I stay at the church or leave because I feel this way about this event?

3. If Satan cannot hear our thoughts, how does he tempt us?

4. How would you respond to those who claim that the Law-Gospel Distinction is not biblical?

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When does our Christian liberty become a stumbling block for others? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. You can watch us on YouTube and message us that way. And of course, you can always email us your question at We'll be taking your calls for the next 25 minutes or so, so hop on the phone right now at 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Dan in Wichita, Kansas. Dan, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Hey guys, thanks for taking my call. My question is, I kind of got a two-part question here. First, what is the dispensational, dispensationalism movement? And I guess what would be the opposite of that teaching? I come across the term whenever I was reading about the rapture of the church. Obviously, a topic of debate among Christians is some believing that the rapture of the church came about during the dispensationalism movement. Others think that, you know, I just kind of don't know what that is and how that teaching came about and just want to know a little bit more about it.

Hey Dan, thank you for that question. You know, these questions that you have are probably questions that a lot of people have, especially when they hear those terms, those theological terms, dispensationalism. And dispensationalism is really a system of Bible interpretation, a way of understanding or unpacking the whole of scripture. It's characterized by a few different things, and I get these from one prominent dispensationalist. He's since died. His name was Charles Ryrie.

He was a professor for many years. And he says, really, the primary characteristics of dispensationalism are that, one, it has this particular hermeneutic, that is, way of reading the Bible. Oftentimes, it's referred to as a historical, literal, grammatical way of reading the scriptures.

So they would point to that. Another thing that's very characteristic of dispensationalism is this very sharp distinction between the church as God's covenant people and the nation of Israel. So you sometimes have this sort of sense that there are two peoples of God, that God has these two plans for these two distinct groups in redemptive history. And I think Ryrie would also say, you know, dispensationalism focuses on the glory of God. And so it's this sort of overarching system of viewing the Bible, way of viewing the Bible, of interpreting scripture.

And there are other systems out there. One of the contrasting systems, and this is the one that I tend to identify with more, is this sort of covenantal view of reading scripture. Throughout the Bible, you have the language of covenant from the very beginning of the Bible to the very end. And this is, you know, the way in which God enters into relationship with his people. And these different systems, I mean, at the end of the day, what we want to do is say, how does the Bible ask to be read, if you will?

What is the proper way of interpreting these scriptures? And the sense that I get when I read scriptures, well, one, covenant is the central theme. But at the center of the Bible, and I think this is something that we cannot miss, Dan, at the center of the Bible is Jesus Christ and God's plan of redemption.

Well, let's just say that. Let's take a step back from all of the different systems, if you will, and let's look at what Jesus himself said in a place like Luke 24, where he's walking on the road with his disciples. And he says that all of the scriptures testify of him, the things that were written in the law of Moses, in the prophets, in the writings of Psalms, all of it is about him. Jesus, when he was talking to the religious leaders in John chapter 5, he said, you search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. And these are the very scriptures that testify of me.

If you really believed Moses, Jesus said, you would believe in me. So as we're thinking about how to properly understand and interpret the Bible, I think fundamentally we have to realize the centrality of Christ in scripture and God's plan of redemption. And this sort of overarching theme of the fact that God is going to redeem his people through the blood of the lamb.

So I bring all that up because it's a part of this discussion. We think about these different ways of viewing scripture, of properly interpreting the Bible. We do want to interpret the Bible according to its context, according to the historical background, all the things in that sense. And one of the things I appreciate about dispensationalism is there is this high view of scripture. There's a sense in which we're saying we really want to take the Bible seriously.

And I think that's good, even though I might disagree in some areas. But certainly we're brothers and sisters in Christ and it's not something that we need to question someone's salvation about. And you brought up another thing, the rapture. And this is really getting into the view of the end times. We sometimes call this eschatology. And there are many dispensationalists who believe in this idea that there's going to be a rapture of the church. That is, prior to a great tribulation, a time of tribulation described in the book of Revelation, that God is going to rapture.

He's going to snatch up the faithful, God's children on earth, and then the rest of the world is going to be left to experience the wrath of the Antichrist and have this great time of tribulation. That too is oftentimes a part of dispensationalism, but there are other ways of understanding eschatology. The way I think it's best to read the New Testament is to see the second coming of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, as all being contemporaneous events. And the books to look at here are books like 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Paul's discussion in 1 Corinthians 15 talks about the reign of Christ, the present reign of Christ. But there really is so much in your two questions, but that hopefully is a good start for you.

Of course, just the desire to read the scriptures according to their context and to get to the heart of scripture, which is Jesus Christ, is the main thing. Dan, thank you for giving us a call. Dan, we have a great core question on this topic as well. If you go to our website at forward slash questions, it's called, What are the main views of the end times? So you can learn a little bit more about what Adriel's been talking about.

Again, our core question, what are the main views of the end times? Well, we get a lot of voicemails here at Core Christianity, and you can call us 24 hours a day and leave us a voicemail at 833-THE-CORE. Here's one we received from Danielle in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My sons and I started going to a new church. We absolutely love it. We've been a few times and the teaching is sound. The worship is Christ centered. However, they sure enough have a community group called Beer and Bible. I was kind of troubled in my spirit about it just because those two things to me don't seem to go together. I had gone to the pastor and he kind of made excuses as to why it was OK. He said one of the guys in the congregation owns a brewery and the apostle Paul talks about if eating meat causes my brother to stumble, then I will not eat meat. So I feel like this could be a stumbling block for a lot of people. And so someone that may have an issue with alcohol, they may see this and it could possibly cause them to stumble.

Not that they have to join that community group because I am conflicted. Is this the Holy Spirit telling me that we should leave or is it something that I can overlook because everything else is so solid and sound? Thank you so much. And I really appreciate your ministry and I'm really blessed by it. Thank you.

Hey, Danielle, thank you so much for your question. Love to hear that you and your family are getting plugged into a church. And of course, there are all sorts of questions that we ask ourselves and we're thinking about a good church. And it sounds to me like a lot of the main things are there. You know, oftentimes one of the things we say on this broadcast is a true church is characterized by the faithful preaching of God's word, the proclamation of the gospel, the right administration of the ordinances that Jesus left to the church, baptism and the Lord's Supper, discipline, that is there's fellowship community there. Those are the things we really ought to look for when we're looking for a church, a place to call home. Too often, you know, I think we focus on things that aren't necessarily the main thing. So maybe the style of music, which again, you know, that's also important. That's not, you know, not important, but the main thing is the word of God being faithfully taught.

It sounds to me like it is. Now, the other question related to this Bible study group, this community group, Beers and Bible, and whether or not that's wise, you know, I think that's a fair question to ask. There is all sorts of discussions in the New Testament about not wanting to cause a brother or sister to stumble. That is doing something that would cause offense, that would give offense. Now, here I think it's important to make a distinction, and I learned this distinction many years ago from a professor that I had in seminary. There's a difference between taking offense, you know, sometimes people just take offense at something that maybe a believer does, and actually giving offense. So, for example, Jesus was criticized at one point by the religious leaders for eating and drinking alcohol with tax collectors and sinners. They took offense at Jesus. They called him a glutton and a wine vapor.

Now, of course, none of those things were actually true. Jesus was temperate. He was godly. He was sinless. And yet the religious leaders, you know, the legalistic, hypocritical religious leaders, they took offense at him. And in that situation, what did Jesus do?

Jesus didn't stop spending time with tax collectors and sinners. And so there are some instances, I think, where individuals in the church might take offense, even though offense isn't truly given. And that can lead to all sorts of problems, but there are also issues with believers, with Christians genuinely giving offense. And I think sometimes, you know, with believers who embrace their Christian liberties, you know, they recognize that the Bible doesn't teach that alcohol is inherently evil, that there's nothing wrong with having a glass of wine at dinner or that kind of a thing.

Some Christians, you know, like to wear that on their sleeve and make that a big thing. Well, our churches should not be known, first and foremost, as the beer drinking churches or the churches that abstain from drinking beer. We should be known as churches that faithfully proclaim the word of God. We should be known as Jesus churches. And so the question is, you know, I would say with regard to, let's say, the culture of this church, if this is just something where some guys getting together and enjoying fellowship and opening up the scriptures and maybe enjoying a drink, I don't know that that should be something that needs to keep you from joining the church. But if it's something that is being pushed on people, people who struggle with this, maybe people who have a history with alcoholism, and for them, you know, that just wouldn't be helpful to go to that kind of a thing, well, then I think that's another question. We have to be wise, and we really want to be charitable with one another within the church, as gracious with one another. As you say, quoting the Apostle Paul, if what I'm doing is causing someone to stumble, if I'm trying to get someone to drink for whom alcohol is a real issue, well, Paul says, what are you doing? You're hurting your brother or sister.

No, you should just choose to abstain for their sake. And so, again, this is not necessarily a black and white thing. It's something that requires wisdom. But I would say, and I say this as a pastor, finding a good church where the Word of God is faithfully proclaimed, where you're going to have elders who are going to care for you and shepherd you, and there's a community there.

I mean, that's hard enough. And so if the main things are there, maybe working through some of the other stuff and having conversations with the pastor and with the rest of the leadership there could be a helpful way forward. Appreciate your question. May the Lord bless you, and have a wonderful day.

Thanks so much for your question. We appreciate you asking it and being a regular listener to Core Christianity. By the way, today we are offering a great new Bible study, and it's one that Adriel wrote just for us. It's on the book of Galatians, and Adriel, tell us a bit about the theme of the book of Galatians. Yeah, well, I mean, Galatians was written to a group of Christians who were really struggling because false teachers had come in from the outside, agitators as they're called by the apostle Paul, and they were corrupting the gospel.

And the reality is this kind of thing happens all over the place today. Some of the big themes in the book of Galatians is a proper understanding of the law, a proper understanding of the gospel, how it is that God works by His Spirit in our lives today. I mean, a lot of stuff that's so relevant for the church today, for our churches today. And so it was my privilege really to be able to work on this 10-week Bible study through the book of Galatians. I think it'll bless you individually if you're looking to go deeper in the book of Galatians. It'll also bless you if you're the leader of a community group or a Bible study group, and you want to study this particular epistle of the apostle Paul, get ahold of our new resource on the book of Galatians.

It can be yours for a donation of $20 or more. By the way, we have these available in bulk quantities as well if you're involved in a Sunday school program or small group ministry at your church and you want to get some of these, again, it's a great Bible study on the book of Galatians. You can learn more at forward slash studies. Again, forward slash studies.

Just look for the new Bible study on the book of Galatians. You can also call us for that resource or any one of our resources at 833-THE-CORE. That's 833-843-2673. Well, let's go to Selah in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Selah, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yes, thank you so much for taking my call.

I really appreciate it. My question was about a pastor that I had heard that said something about, well, I kind of knew this, that the devil is not omniscient like God is, so he can't hear our thoughts and know our heart like God can. So I'm wondering, how does he tempt us? How does he come and do all the attacking and the interfering and things like that with human beings? He says in the Bible to tempt us and to commit sin and all that. Does he influence our thoughts or how does that happen that you know of from your study?

Yeah, Selah, I've said it on this broadcast before. The devil is not omniscient. He's a created being.

He's finite. He is under the control of a sovereign God. The devil is God's devil, as it's been said before. And so the question is, well, if he can't be everywhere at one time, how is it that he tempts us? Well, remember that there are a great number of fallen angels who are at work in the world today, demonic forces working in the world today, and they do try to tempt the people of God.

They do hold this world in their sway. John talks about the spirit of the Antichrist in the book of 1 John. Really, the ultimate goal of the devil is to take our minds off of Jesus Christ.

I love the way C.S. Lewis put it in his little book, The Screwtape Letters. You want a good resource on spiritual warfare, read that. He says, you know, it's not so much what the devil puts into our minds that causes him to be effective. It's what he tries to keep out of our minds. And that is the truth of God's word, the truth of who Jesus is.

And see, let me just say one other thing. I think a lot of times we think that any temptation we experience is spiritual warfare. It's demonic.

It's the evil one coming against us. But remember what James said in James chapter 1. Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God. For God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured away and enticed by his own desire. Then desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death. So often you know where temptation comes from.

It's not from the outside. It's from our own hearts, from our own sinful hearts. And that's why we desperately need the gospel, because the problem is a heart condition. We need the forgiveness of sins. We need God to renew us, and to transform us, and to work in us. And so I just want to say that, because I think a lot of us, when we think of temptation, the devil, we see it all as external, when in reality the problem so often is internal. We need grace for our own sins. And so, Cielo, thank you for your question.

Good to hear from you. May the Lord bless you. I hope I think of what Jeremiah says about the heart being desperately wicked.

Who can know it? It's my life verse, Bill. That's the one that I just feel like I can say amen to that one with absolute certainty.

Can't we all? Oh, man. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go to Daniel in Orange County, California. Daniel, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hey, Pastor Adriel. Just wanted to get your take on how you'd respond to someone who would claim that the law gospel distinction in scripture is not actually biblical, and that scripture doesn't actually make that distinction, but it's just a reformation reading of the text.

How would you respond to that person? Hey, Daniel, thanks for that question, giving us an opportunity to talk about the law gospel distinction. And just for you listening right now, maybe that's a distinction that you've never heard of. It really is one that we think is quite vital and important here at Core Christianity, and one, as I said, that we like to talk about. It's really sort of a breakdown of scripture in one sense in terms of viewing God's word as having these laws, these commands, these imperatives that are given to us that call us to obey God. Ultimately, the law summarized in the reality of the fact that we need to obey God, love God with all of our hearts, and love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus says that's the fulfillment of the law. But that law is not the gospel, and this is where the distinction comes in, because the fact of the matter is all of us, as Paul says in the book of Romans, have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and so we're not saved by our obedience to the law or by works of law. That's a phrase that you sometimes hear in Paul, in the book of Romans, in the book of Galatians. We are saved solely by the basis of God's grace, what God has done.

Not what we do, but what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. And so that's the law-gospel distinction. And having received the grace of God in Christ, we are then called to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law. Paul talks about this in Romans chapter 8, by the Spirit, not so that we can be justified. We can't be justified by the law, I'd say, and that's what Paul makes very clear in the book of Galatians, which we just plugged in our new Bible study. You can't be justified by the law, so when it comes to justification, there is this sharp distinction. The law is not a faith, Paul says, again, in Galatians. And so we're justified solely by faith. Now, I think one way that people sort of misunderstand this distinction is they think, well, then you just think that the law of God is a bad thing.

It's just purely negative. Well, no, there are different uses of the law of God. Yes, the law of God reveals our sin, drives us to our knees so that we might embrace the gospel, but having embraced the gospel, no longer being under the law, we get to follow the Lord.

Out of a heart of gratitude, out of a heart of love, we get to conform our lives, God conforms our lives by His Spirit to His righteous and holy law of liberty. And so I think that, again, this is a distinction that is very biblical, especially as we're thinking about the doctrine of justification. And another text I would go to is Hebrews chapter 12, sort of a passage that oftentimes people don't go to in this discussion, but I want you to listen to what the author of the Hebrews said to a group of Christians who, by the way, were struggling with, you know, this idea of going back under the law, under the old covenant, and he says to them, verse 18, Hebrews 12, For you have not come to what may be touched, blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further message be spoken to them, for they could not endure the order that was given if even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.

Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, I tremble with fear. He's talking about the giving of the law, the old covenant. You haven't come to Mount Sinai, the author of the Hebrews says, when you, as new covenant believers, are gathering for worship, you're not gathering at the base of Mount Sinai, where it was fear, and dread, and doom, the giving of the law. But you have come to the church today, to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, this is the new covenant, not the old covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Right there you have this sort of distinction. Even embedded in this picture of the church's worship, we're not going back to Mount Sinai to receive the law, and too often in churches today, that's what's happening. People go to church, and they're just burdened by a bunch of new laws, new commandments, do this, that, and the other, and they don't hear the voice of God ringing from Mount Zion, saying, your sins are forgiven through Jesus Christ. They don't hear the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. The author of the Hebrews there is alluding to the Old Testament, Cain and Abel. Abel's blood cried out from the ground that God would judge, vindicate him. Ultimately, it led to the condemnation of Cain. The blood of Jesus does not cry out, Father, condemn.

It cries out, Father, forgive. That's the gospel, and that's where we go. That's what we need as believers under the new covenant. We need, you need that gospel, and so when people bring up this law-gospel distinction, they say, I don't know if it's there. I would just go to all of these different passages. I'd go to the book of Galatians. I'd go to the book of Hebrews. I'd go to the book of Romans, and you just sort of tease out the relationship between the law and faith, grace and works.

It's so important that we understand this. Too many believers are living their lives as though they're still under the law. Brothers and sisters, by Christ, through Christ, you are free to love and serve God and your neighbor. 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 / 2023-09-18 08:12:52 / 2023-09-18 08:23:07 / 10

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