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Do I Have to Go to Church to Connect with God?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
August 27, 2021 6:30 am

Do I Have to Go to Church to Connect with God?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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August 27, 2021 6:30 am

Episode 781 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

Questions in this Episode

1. Ephesians 2 says that the prophets and apostles were the foundation of the church. If these offices are just for the foundation of the church how does prophecy operate today?

2. I am wondering if we connect with God through the church or within yourself. Do you have to go to church to get that or does it only depend on your personal relationship with God?

3. Since the Bible tells us to submit to our governing authorities, and they’re telling us to get the vaccine, if we don’t get the vaccine are we sinning against God?

4. My daughter has a hard time worshipping on Sunday instead of Saturday since the law of God tells us to keep the sabbath on the 7th day of the week. How should we think about this?

5. Between now and the resurrection, what happens to our bodies when we die?

6. Why does the bible use symbolic numbers in scripture? In Mark 5, Jesus heals a woman who had been sick for 12 years. Then he goes on to raise a 12 year old girl from the dead. These constant numbers used in Scripture make doubts creep into my head about the authenticity of the story.

7. Some pastors call cremation “sub-Christian,” what do you think?

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Do I have to go to church to connect with God? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. 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. We would love to hear from you and you can call us right now for the next 25 minutes or so at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on our social media accounts, and you can email us at First up today, let's go to a voicemail we received from one of our listeners named Austin. So, as the office of the prophet and the opposite of the apostle are just for the foundation of the church and that foundation's already been laid, how does prophecy, yes, the prophecy in the church, operate today?

Thank you. Being the cornerstone in whom the whole structure, verse 21, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Now, Paul does have an extended discussion on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 through 14, so that might be why you were referring to 1 Corinthians, and in particular in chapter 14, he spends quite a bit of time talking about prophecy and the way it was functioning there in the apostolic church. But I'm of the opinion that the office of the prophets is no longer around today. In particular, you don't have prophets walking around like Jeremiah and Ezekiel were in the time of the old covenant. Those prophets were really a part of the theocracy.

They were attached to the theocracy in Israel. They were called to prophesy to the kings in Israel, bringing God's covenant case against the kings when they would sin, against Israel when they would sin, but also to the nations. And so when that theocracy essentially was set aside, you know, God's kingdom is not ruled in the exact same way today, we're no longer under the old covenant, but now under the new covenant, and God's kingdom on earth is the church, which is what the apostle Paul was saying in Ephesians chapter 2, verse 20. Well, prophets don't function in the same way under the new covenant as they did in the time of the old covenant, so it's really important to recognize that. And it's also helpful to note that when Paul talks about the ordinary offices in the church, he mentions in 1 Timothy 3 and in Titus chapter 1, elders and deacons.

And I think that that's telling. He doesn't give a list of qualifications for new covenant prophets, that kind of a thing. The expectation was that churches were going to be ruled by, governed by a plurality of elders who were going to teach God's word, preach God's word, and that's where we focus in terms of ministry today is on the faithful teaching of the scriptures. And so can God, in this sort of extraordinary way, give people this sort of providential guidance or leading through a special word? Well, yeah, but that's extraordinary.

That's not what we look for or what we expect. We focus on the preaching, the faithful preaching of the word of God. And so I know that there are differences of opinion on this.

I mean, we're talking about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and in particular the sign gifts, the miraculous gifts. And so if you want to follow up, feel free to give us a call to give me a call here at the core. Thank you for that question. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, no question is too challenging for Adriel. So give us a call right now at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. We received a call from Travis, one of our regular listeners. And Travis, what's your question? Basically, just wondering if the connection with God, would that be with the church or within yourself with God, or is that something that you would have to do is go to church, or does it really depend on your relationship with God?

Thank you. Hey, Travis, this is a huge question. And, you know, I think a lot of Christians professing Christians today would say, well, you don't really need the church. You sometimes people, you sometimes hear people say things like, you don't go to church, you are the church, I am the church. Now, that's not entirely true.

I understand what people are trying to say there. But no individual is the church. The church is the body of Christ, and we are individually members of that body. This is what the Apostle Paul makes very clear in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. And there he teases out this idea that the reality is we need one another in the body of Christ.

Your hand or a foot or an eye uses the illustration of a body, and not one member of the body off on its own is healthy at all. We need each other to function properly. And so I, as a pastor, just emphasize, yes, we need, you need the local church. If you're a Christian, but you're not a member of a local church, there is a problem.

I'll just say it. And you have these exhortations all over the place in the New Testament, exhortations to fellowshipping, to being under the word. The assumption was that believers were baptized into these local bodies, into Christ, and into these local bodies, these communities of faith, where there was accountability, where there was governance, the plurality of elders, as I said earlier. Think about the exhortation that we read in Hebrews chapter 3 verse 12.

It's so important for us to hear this. Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart leading you to fall away from the living God. Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

The author of the Hebrews is making it very clear. You need each other. You need the body of Christ. You need that exhortation that comes from Christian fellowship. And that's why a little bit later in Hebrews chapter 10 verse 24, it says, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Brothers and sisters, we need Christian fellowship. We need the church. Now you can have, and you have to have a personal relationship with Jesus. You personally have faith in him, but it isn't a private relationship with Jesus. That is, it isn't you by yourself on your own living the Christian life.

We can't do that. Sin is so deceitful. We're so prone to wander. We need the body of Christ. Now there is no perfect church. And that's one of the reasons why a lot of people just avoid church altogether. They say, well, there's no perfect church.

I don't know where to go. But the fact of the matter is, is Jesus promised to build his church and he is wherever the gospel is being faithfully preached and people are gathering around his word to receive the gifts that he's given to his people. And so you need to be in a church, brother. And I hope that you do have a good local church that you go to that you attend. And that's how God intends for you to grow and to continue to mature in the Christian life. And so for all of those listening right now who you don't have a good local church, make that a priority. Get plugged in and be under the ministry of the word where you can continue to flourish as a Christian. Great counsel.

Thank you, Adriel. You're listening to Quora Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have kids or grandkids, we want to tell you about a wonderful book we have available, one that will help you answer some of the tough questions they may have about the Christian faith. And more and more, we're finding that it's so important that we help our children, our grandchildren know how to defend the faith.

Right. And not just understand what they believe, but why they believe it. And that's what this book is going to help you do. It's called How Do We Know That Christianity Is Really True? It's a helpful book written for ages nine to 13 in mind.

But just getting to the heart of the Christian faith and why we believe and know that Christianity is true. And so get a hold of this resource for yourself or for your children or your grandchildren. It's a really wonderful book.

You know, I'm over 13, but I still like the books. It's really helpful. I would strongly suggest you get this. You can get a copy of the book for your gift of any amount at forward slash offers.

Again, forward slash offers. Look for How Do We Know Christianity Is Really True? Let's go to Dan in St. Louis, Missouri. Dan, what's your question for Adriel? My question is, Adriel already said that getting the vaccine is not, you know, a precursor to the mark of the beast or even the mark of the beast. But what I'm wondering is if we don't get it since we are told to obey governments, are we sinning against God? Yeah, well, thank you for this question.

Sort of the opposite side of the question. We have to exercise wisdom, and God calls us to exercise wisdom in these kinds of decisions. And we have to consider, one, our own health and the good of our neighbor as well. That's what we're called to pursue as Christians.

Love for God, first and foremost, and love for our neighbor. Now, for those who are concerned about the vaccine and they're really wrestling in their conscience, you know, I'm not sure if this is the right thing for me to do. You know, that is a personal choice. I wouldn't say that they're sinning against God by choosing not to get the vaccine. That's not an issue that's clearly defined in Holy Scripture in that sense, right?

When we think about God's law, the Ten Commandments, what God calls sin, we have to be very careful that we're not just inventing things to be sin that may not necessarily be sin. So I would say this is a wisdom issue. I personally, and again, I'm just speaking personally here, I think probably the wisest decision would be to get the vaccine. But I would not say that someone who did not get the vaccine was sinning against God. And so, Dan, appreciate your question.

Did you want to follow up from that? What I meant is that the president would like us to get the vaccine, but if there's people that don't, what I'm asking is if we don't, since we are told to obey governments in the Bible, that's what I meant by sinning against God. Yeah, so in like a Romans 13 sense, right, where we're called to submit to governing authorities. Well, I don't know that it's at the place yet where they're saying you have to do this.

I think that there are really strong recommendations and they're trying to do everything that they can to recommend people to get the vaccine and to make it available and so on and so forth. In that regard, I would say no. Still, it's not an issue of sinning against God. As far as I can tell, still this personal decision that's being strongly encouraged and that does have a significant impact on us and on the people around us, so it is an important decision.

I think you need to consult your doctor and have important conversations as you make this decision, exercising wisdom, but I think that there is also some freedom here in terms of just your own conscience and trying to think through this for yourself and for your family, Dan. Great question, Dan. Thanks so much. Obviously, a very controversial topic right now in our culture and within the church, and so something we need to, I guess, grapple with, and I love your advice, Adriel, that it really is a matter of personal conscience here, not clearly spelled out biblically. Well, let's go to Lori, who's calling in from Omaha, Nebraska. Lori, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hey, good afternoon, and thank you for taking my call.

I really appreciate it every day on my way home from work, so it's wonderful. My question specifically is about the commandments, and in particular, to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. I know we worship now on Sunday, but I have a daughter who has a hard time reconciling this because it is a commandment given by God. She just, she can't understand it, and I was just hoping for a little bit of help for her. Yeah.

Well, thank you. Yeah, so how do we reconcile this, right? Because you look at the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, and we're commanded to observe the Sabbath, the day of worship that the Israelites observed, the Hebrews observed under the Old Covenant on Saturday, resting. And the first time you hear about this Sabbath really is in the early chapters of Genesis, Lori, and it was a picture of God's eternal rest. Many of the ancient rabbis, they saw the seventh day not just as just the day of worship, but as a picture of heavenly rest. That's what the Sabbath is ultimately about, and in fact, the author of the Hebrews makes that clear in the book of Hebrews, in the early chapters of the book of Hebrews, the rest that is being extended to the people of God, and Jesus made it very clear that that rest was something ultimately that could only be found in Him. That's why Jesus could say in the Gospels, come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart. And so this Sabbath rest is a rest that we can only ultimately find in Jesus, and we enter into that through our union with Christ in His death and resurrection. And one of the reasons why the early believers began gathering together on Sundays was as a sign, in one sense, of having entered that rest in Christ. In Jesus, Sunday was the day of the resurrection.

And so what I oftentimes say is people say, well, you know, how can we justify this? I say, look, we're following the example of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Himself, because when they would gather together for worship, they would gather together on the first day of the week. And I think people who say, well, we have to worship on Saturday, this Sunday worship thing, there's a problem with this, this is a corruption, you know, that came later into the church. Well, no, you have to grapple with the fact that the apostles themselves were gathering together to break bread, to take a collection, breaking bread, they're probably a reference to the Lord's Supper, to take a collection for the needs of the saints on the first day of the week. That is on Sunday, on the Lord's day.

And so that's what I would point to. I would point to that reality, that's when Christians were gathering together. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16, now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do on the first day of the week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up as he may prosper. That's when the church was gathering, that's when the church was essentially having their service of worship. So I would encourage her with that, and then ultimately in realizing that the Sabbath was pointing us to that rest, that heavenly rest that is found in Jesus Christ primarily, and so it leads us to Christ, and that's how we experience the true Sabbath of God in Jesus, and we worship him on the Lord's day. Thank you.

Great explanation, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and one of the ways you can access our program is by watching us on YouTube live every day at 11.30 a.m. Pacific, or 12.30 Mountain, 1.30 Central, or 2.30 Eastern time. For that half hour we're on Facebook Live, and you can actually send us a message through both our Facebook Live and our YouTube channel.

We have some people right now watching in the United Kingdom and New Zealand on YouTube and Facebook. Thanks so much for joining us, we really do appreciate that. And you can also call us with your question at 833-843-2673. Let's go to Gary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Gary, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yes, thank you for taking my question. My question is, since Jesus hasn't came after his church, has raptured his church to get our new bodies, what bodies do we have now when we go to heaven?

Gary, that's an excellent question. And right now, when we die, when we're in the presence of the Lord, we don't have a body. We don't get new bodies until the resurrection. It's what Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 42. So is it with the resurrection of the dead.

What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory, it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power, it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, the first man, Adam, became a living being. The last Adam, referring to Jesus, became a life-giving spirit. And there Paul is talking about this resurrected, glorified body that we're going to receive as believers on the last day. But between now and then, when we die, we enter what's called the intermediate state.

That's what we call it. It's that time between our death and the final resurrection. And we're in the presence of the Lord, in the Spirit, in the presence of the Lord, in heaven, gathered with the rest of the believers and even the angels, worshiping around God's throne.

We have a picture of this in the book of Hebrews, in Hebrews chapter 12. Paul told the Corinthians to be absent from the body as to be present with the Lord. And so we do have this strong indication in the New Testament that we are going to be in the presence of God when we die, but not in bodily form. We're not going to have bodies yet until the resurrection. And so we're looking forward to, even after our death, when we're in the presence of the Lord, in the intermediate state, we're still looking forward to something else. And that is the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

Thank you for your question. I, for one, am looking forward to that new body because mine's getting a little bit ragged around the edges right now. Yeah, I think we all are, Bill.

We're looking forward to you getting a makeover. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And we want to go to an email question. By the way, you can email us anytime.

Here's the email address. It's questions at Christy asks this, Adriel. She says, Why does the Bible use symbolic numbers in scripture? In Mark, Chapter five, Jesus heals a woman who had been sick for 12 years. Then he goes on to raise a 12 year old girl from the dead. These constant numbers used in scripture make doubts creep into my head about the authenticity of the story. Yeah.

Well, great question. And actually, this is probably my favorite scene in the Gospel of Mark, because you're right. So you have the healing of this little girl who's 12 years old, and you also have a woman who has a discharge of blood for 12 years. We're told Mark, Chapter five, verse 25.

So you have this this 12 year old problem in both cases, if you will. What's interesting to me, I think what's being highlighted here in particular, is the fact that here Jesus is ministering to two people who are on the sort of opposite ends of the social status. One is a synagogue official, someone who's really respected in the community, probably is fairly wealthy, just, you know, everyone goes to him and likes him and thinks highly of him. And he has this problem.

His daughter, who's 12, is very sick. She's dying, and he doesn't know what to do, and so he cries out to Jesus. And then this other person, this woman, who doesn't have a name. The synagogue official, he was named.

His name was Jairus, and so he's got this prominence. But this other woman, the woman with the flow of blood, she's unnamed. She would have been ceremonially unclean in that time because of her condition.

She's basically at the bottom of the social status, and would have been looked at probably very negatively by the people in that society. And yet here you have two people, opposite ends of the spectrum, but with the same problem. And what is that problem? It's the problem of death. It's the problem of sickness. It's the problem of human mortality.

It doesn't matter how rich you are or how poor you are. We all have the same issue, ultimately. It's sin and death, and our need for redemption. And so I think one of the things that is being highlighted there in Mark, chapter 5, is despite the fact that they're on opposite ends of the social spectrum, if you will, social status-wise, they have this common problem, and Jesus is able to and does minister to both of them, the rich and the poor, those with high position and those at the very bottom.

And so it really is this beautiful thing. And I think, just in God's providence, I don't think that this is being made up. I think in God's providence, it's one of the things that's being highlighted in this story.

Just providentially, they both have this 12-year-old problem, if you will. And so, Christy, I don't think that you need to be worried about that, as if it should call this account into question. We do know that in other places, numbers are used symbolically. In apocalyptic literature in particular, you think of places like the Book of Revelation, where oftentimes numbers are used symbolically. And so as we understand the particular genre of scripture that we're looking at, it helps to inform us to know how to take those particular numbers and how to understand them. But I appreciate your question, and thanks for helping us to open up Mark, chapter 5. This is Core Christianity. Let's go to Mark from Kansas City, Missouri.

Mark, what's your question? Yeah, thank you for taking my call. I just have a question about cremation. I'm getting conflicting commentaries from pastors. One classified cremation is sub-Christian, and I was just wondering if there's anything in the scriptures about being cremated. Let me just say, got just a little bit of time, but let me just say, no, I don't think there's anything in the scriptures that would make it so that you couldn't. It would be a sin for you to be cremated, that kind of a thing. The Bible does have a very high view of the body, but in terms of burial, our hope in the life of the world to come is not based on how we were buried. It's based upon who we believed in. And so I think there's freedom for Christians on this issue to determine what they want to do. But our ultimate hope, the reason we know we're going to be raised, is because Jesus himself was raised. 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 / 2023-09-12 18:38:15 / 2023-09-12 18:47:48 / 10

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