What does it mean to take every thought captive to Christ? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.
You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Duncan calling all the way from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Hey, Duncan, how are you? What's your question for Pastor Adriel? Okay, good afternoon, gentlemen. I have a question for both of you. Pastor Sanchez, what is your position on house churches?
Hey, Duncan. Well, thank you for giving us a call from Canada first, and I guess my position would depend on how the church was formed. Is there anything wrong with churches that gather in homes? No, I mean, I think especially when a church is early in its life stage, if you will, maybe being planted.
Oftentimes, that's the place where folks will gather together. Certainly in the ancient world and in the New Testament, times, they were gathering together in homes. They had churches in homes. I think of what Paul says to the Corinthians as he's saying farewell to them in 1 Corinthians 16. He says, verse 19, the churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prissa, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. And so it's very clear that churches were gathering together in homes.
Now, the way in which homes are constructed at that time, oftentimes, especially if you were wealthier, you might be able to accommodate quite a few people in your home, in a larger section of the home. But my big question is, as I said at the beginning, is how was the church formed? Is this just something that individuals are doing by themselves, sort of a pastor calling himself to the ministry?
He hasn't necessarily gone through any training. Maybe he's not really qualified on the basis of what Paul said in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, but he just wants to start a church. And I've seen people do this, young people who are passionate about Jesus, and they have gifts, they have charisma, and they think, oh, man, all the churches in my neighborhood are bad, and so I'm just going to start my own church. And they call themselves to the ministry, if you will.
And I've seen that end disastrous, in disastrous ways. And so I think it's really important to have accountability. I think there needs to be some structure, oversight. We don't, individuals don't call themselves to the ministry and just start churches. And so if this is something that, it's like a church plant, they've been sent out by another church, by an overseeing body, and they're meeting in a home as they grow, and there's some accountability, I think that's a really good thing. I think it can be dangerous, though, when it's just sort of off on its own, no real oversight, no real accountability, and an individual just says, I'm going to start my own church, and I'm going to lead.
And so we have to be discerning. My question for the pastor is Second Corinthians 10, five, I hear people using that verse a lot about taking their own thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ. It doesn't seem to me that that's being used in the right context, according to what the rest of that chapter is talking about. I would just appreciate the pastor's insight on this. Thank you.
Yes, thank you for giving us that call, and I think you're right. I think that this is a verse that is oftentimes taken out of context, and so let's try to set it in its context. I'm going to begin reading in verse 1, and we'll go to verse 6. I, Paul myself, entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.
I, who am humble when face to face with you, but bold towards you when I am away, I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments, and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience when your obedience is complete. Now oftentimes the way in which people read verse 5 there, take every thought captive, is I'm taking all of my thoughts captive. So I have this this stray thought, this bad thought, I take it captive in obedience to Christ, and I think I think that that is a I guess one application, but that's not the main thing that the Apostle Paul is talking about here. He's talking about spiritual warfare, and in particular the the evil ideologies that exist out there in the world that are contrary to God and Christ and to the gospel of Christ. And so he's saying look I I speak the truth. I take those thoughts captive if you will, those which are contrary to God, those arguments that are raised against the knowledge of the gospel, and he says in verse 5 we destroy arguments, and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God.
And so a couple of things here. One, I think he's talking about engaging broader society with the truth of God's Word, not just saying, and this is of course what what everybody wants it seems like today, hey you believe whatever you want to believe, that's good for you, I'll believe what I believe over here, let's just you know let bygones be bygones, and of course we need to be peaceable, we need to be gracious, we need to be loving, but that doesn't mean we need to affirm what everyone else just thinks or believes and say oh yeah that that's great for you. No, there is truth, and ultimately that that truth is given to us by God, it's rooted in the gospel of Christ, and so he says when we're confronted with these lies, with those things that are contrary to the Word of God, to the character of God, to the gospel of God, we take those lies captive, we call them to account, we address them with the truth of Scripture, and we call them to obedience in Christ, and and and so there's this evangelism that's taking place, there's this engagement with broader society and the ideas that are that are there, in a gracious way as he says there, you know I entreat you at the very beginning of the text, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, that is you know we're graciously addressing the lies that are out there with the truth of the gospel, taking those thoughts captive, and brothers and sisters let me just say this, this is something that we're all called to, certainly Paul is an apostle and ministers of the gospel in particular, but all of us are called to live according to the truth, and to speak the truth in love to the people around us, and that's why it's so important for you to know the truth, to understand the Word of God, so that when we when we see or and hear these arguments, we'll be able to discern okay this is contrary to the Word of God, to the truth of God, and we can address them with gentleness and with the truth. Thanks for that question. Adriel, I don't know about you, but I've found that when a person is more confident in knowing what they believe and why they believe it, they're a lot less anxious when they get into a conversation with a non-believer, and a lot less defensive, and then they can really respond in the way that Paul and even when Peter talks about you know doing with gentleness and respect, when you know what you believe, you're a lot more likely to be able to engage in a loving way than if you feel backed into a corner.
Yeah, absolutely, and if we don't know, then we just won't. We won't engage because we feel like I don't know what to say, I don't really have an opinion on this, but when we know the truth and we're grounded in it, and you know we're getting answers to our questions as we search the scriptures and think about the things that are happening around us, well it makes it so that we can thoughtfully engage with the people around us who need the gospel, who God calls us to love and to speak to, and that's precisely what Paul said he did there in 2nd Corinthians 10. You're listening to Core Christianity, and we'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, Christian doctrine, or theology, or even how your daily Christian walk intersects with what's going on in today's culture.
We'd love to have you call us right now, here's the phone number, it's 833-843-2673, 833-THE-CORE. Thanksgiving, just a couple weeks away now, we have a brand new resource that you can download from our website, and it's absolutely free. Five biblical reminders for Thanksgiving, that's what this resource is called, and as Bill said, you could download it for free over at our website corechristianity.com. Sometimes, you know, the call to be thankful can feel like a burden, can't it? You know, as we think about our lives and we struggle with thankfulness, with having a heart of gratitude, and it's important for us to reflect on the blessings that the Lord has given to us. Ultimately, the greatest blessing of all, the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness of our sins, and so we want to cultivate together with you a heart of thanksgiving, and I believe that this resource will help you to do that. Again, it's called five biblical reminders for Thanksgiving, and it's a download for free that you can access at core christianity.com.
You can also call us for that resource or any one of our resources at 833-THE-CORE. Again, it's called five biblical reminders for Thanksgiving. Well, let's go back to the phones.
We have Samuel on the line from Kansas. Samuel, what's your question for Adriel? Hey, Adriel. Growing up, I was mainly raised by female influences and never really tried to learn manhood until I was about 18. I now find myself being a nice guy, always trying to make people like me and seemingly incapable of meaningful leadership and unable to firmly confront others. I hate that about myself. How do I discern if this is a God-given desire for masculinity or quenching the spirit like First Thessalonians 519 would suggest?
Hey, Samuel. Well, in some ways I think I can relate to you. I was raised by a single mom and didn't have a ton of those, you know, strong male influences in my life growing up, and so this is something I've thought about for myself as well. And I think part of this, you know, the big question is what does godly biblical manhood, if you will, look like? What does it mean to be a man, as it were?
And of course, I don't think anybody would disagree with this. I think when we look to the scriptures, and in particular to Christ himself, the head of the church, the leader of the church, if you will, we see the clearest picture of what it means to be a man, if you will, the true man. And with that you have gentleness. I mean gentleness was something that characterized Jesus in his ministry. Sometimes people will point to the scathing rebukes that Jesus gave to the Pharisees in places like Matthew chapter 23, and of course Jesus did have strong words at times, certainly for them, but generally his ministry was characterized by gentleness, by grace, by mercy, and this is something that we see throughout the scriptures.
In fact, he says, I am gentle and lowly in heart. Matthew chapter 11 verse 29, he came as the prophet Zechariah said, gentle or humble and riding on a donkey, Zechariah chapter 9 verse 9, and this is why Christians are encouraged to exhibit those same kinds of qualities, especially in our speech with others. And so there are a number of passages in the New Testament that I think we can go to that make this absolutely clear. I mean, Paul in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 29 says, let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such is as good for building up as fits the occasion that it may give grace to those who hear. Colossians chapter 4 verses 5 and 6, walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person. Or, I really like this one, 2 Timothy chapter 2 verses 24 through 26, the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome, that is not a fighter, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness, God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth. And so you have you have both things there, Samuel. I think it's important that we have both as leaders, as men if you will. We have the correcting, the honesty, the truth, but you also have the gentleness.
In other words, it's not it's not more manly because it's it's harsh and it's you know we're gonna we're gonna beat you over the head with this truth. No, no, we are called just as Christ was to speak the truth in such a way that it's fitting. And then there are also instances where we where we where we have strong words and of course Jesus did for the religious hypocrites and for the Pharisees. And so I think as you draw near to the Lord, one saying, Jesus help me help me to follow you in in the way that I live, both in in my honesty not not living for the praise of others, not making decisions out of the fear of man, but out of a commitment to you and following you.
And help me as as I do that to serve and care for the people around me with gentleness and respect. That's I think manly if you will and and so may the Lord may the Lord bless you. I would say any sort of idea of biblical manhood that says oh the gentleness, the meekness, the humility, that's that's not a that's not a man thing.
We're the tough guys. I think that completely misunderstands what we see in the scriptures and certainly what we see in Jesus as well. And so I think that the the grace, the gentleness is a good thing and something that God calls you to. It's also having that together with the boldness to speak the truth and confront even when it means people aren't gonna like us. And so may the Lord help all of us in that. And I thank you for for your call my friend. God bless. Samuel, thanks so much for listening to Core Christianity. And, Adriel, what a great explanation of really what God is calling us to in Christ.
So thanks for that. This is Core Christianity. We had a question come in through our YouTube channel.
By the way, you can watch Adriel live in the studio every day on YouTube at 11 30 a.m. Pacific time if you want to check that out. And Jess is watching on YouTube and Jess says, does leading someone to Christ mean asking someone to repent of their sin and accept Christ as their Savior? Yeah, what a wonderful thing it is, brothers and sisters, that God uses people, people like us, to bring people, lead people to Christ. Now of course what we mean by that is when we realize this is ultimately it's the Holy Spirit at work in an individual's life. You think about what what we read in the book of Acts concerning Lydia, how the Spirit of God opened her heart to hear the words that were being spoken to her. And that's how the Spirit of God works.
It's through the Word. And so I think clear communication of the gospel is what is key. And you know, you can say, hey, repent of your sins and accept Jesus into your heart and not hear the gospel in that, right?
I mean that sounds like a sort of transaction that's taking place. You stop doing bad things and then ask Jesus to come and live in you. Now of course I think when a person is turning to the Lord there's nothing wrong with saying that, you know, saying, hey, you need to invite Christ to be in your life. And in reality, as I already said, it's a Spirit of God that's working, opening the heart, leading people to himself and to Jesus.
But we have to be really clear in terms of our communication of the gospel. Here's who Jesus is. He is the eternal Son of God who came to earth, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, for every sin we've ever done, for the fact that we've broken God's law. In other words, we're not saved because of how righteous we are or how well we repent even, how much we obey God's law. We're saved because as sinners we turn to Christ and receive his work for us, his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. And so what we're doing is we're setting Christ and his work before people. And God uses that to draw people to himself, to unite them to Jesus by faith.
And so the power, friends, is in the Word. And that's why we have to be faithful to the Word and to those clear gospel communications. And in line with that, right, as we talk about what Christ has done for us, we call people to repentance and faith, to turn away from themselves, from their sins, and to lay hold of Christ for the forgiveness of sins. That's the message that we have that the Lord has given to us, which he commanded his disciples to go and to proclaim in Matthew 28, the Great Commission, go in all the world and make disciples, baptizing, teaching, and know that I'm with you always.
And so that's the encouragement that we have as we get into these kinds of conversations with people around us, with our friends. The Spirit of God is at work, and the Lord promises to be with us as well. And so thank you for that question, and I hope that the Lord is giving you opportunity. Something we should all pray for is, Lord, give me an opportunity to share your gospel with the people around me. That's something that we're discussing right now in my small group at the church, Adriel, is how can we more effectively become evangelists and do it in a natural way, and really care about people, not just see them as a agenda, but really show our love and care for them, and then be willing to take that next step and talk to them about Jesus. So yeah, thanks for that.
Well, just a follow-up on that, Bill. It just struck me as you were saying that the doctrine of God's free grace and justification, that we're forgiven, we're already accepted as righteous in the sight of God solely because of what Jesus has done for us. It frees us not to treat people as projects. You know, I have to serve you, I have to love you, I have to evangelize you so that maybe God will accept me. No, it frees us to truly love our neighbors, to share the gospel, not because we feel like I have to do it in order to be saved, and if I don't do this, it's just this great burden on me, but it's because God has given me the good news. He's forgiven my sins. I'm justified in His sight, and I get to share this good news with other people, not so that I get something from them, but so that they can experience as well the great mercy that God has given to me. And so understanding the gospel rightly, I think, is a great motivator for us in terms of having those conversations.
Amen. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. By the way, you can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day at this phone number.
It's 833-THE-CORE. And make sure to tell the folks at your church or in your small group about this program as well. Again, we air every day live at 11 30 a.m. Pacific Time, 12 30 Mountain, 1 30 Central, and 2 30 Eastern Time.
Or you can always listen to our podcast on the podcast app. Here's a question we had come in from one of our listeners named Laverne. What is the difference between soul and spirit mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5 23? 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 23. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What Paul is doing here is he's giving a benediction, if you will, to the Thessalonians, ending his letter, is he's saying, look, may God keep you, your whole person. And we're more than just a body. There is that spiritual component, the soul, if you will. Now there are some people that would distinguish between the soul and the spirit. I happen to think that usually in Scripture that they're really referring to just the same thing. So there's two parts of us, if you will, as human beings.
What it means to be a person. We have the body and the soul, or the spirit, and often those two are used interchangeably in the New Testament. The whole person sometimes is referred to as body and soul. Matthew chapter 10 verse 28, or body and spirit, 1 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 23.
And so I don't think that we're missing something there by only speaking of the soul or the spirit. And again, what Paul's focus is here is just the graciousness of God who is the one who sanctifies us. And what an encouragement that should be for all of us. My sanctification, your sanctification, is in the hands of the Lord. It's a work of God's Spirit. And he's the one who Paul says, you know, may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless. God is the one who's gonna sanctify you and keep you. And so we look to him not just for our justification, but also for our sanctification by the grace of the Holy Spirit as we draw near to him in his word. And that's the encouragement that Paul gives us there. You're listening to Core Christianity.
Got an email from Justin we wanted to pass along to you, Adriel. He says, how should we explain the doctrine of the Trinity in light of monotheism? How should we respond to a non-Christian who claims that Christians believe in three gods?
Yes, thank you for that question. And it's always fun to take these real deep theological questions at the end of the program, because we don't have a lot of time. But it's clear from the Bible that God is one. Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 4, hero Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. But as we read the Bible, it's also very clear that the Holy Spirit is God, that Jesus is God, that the Father is God. Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, this is just something that's repeated over and over again. And so the way in which Christians have talked about this is, or articulated this, is in the doctrine of the Trinity. God is one in essence, a substance that is very nature and three distinct persons. And so you have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Not three essences, but one essence. And in that sense we say that God is one. And yet there are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They're not different in terms of their essence, right? Then Jesus would not be God, or he might be less than God. That's what the the Jehovah's Witnesses teach, for example. They're one in essence, an undivided three distinct persons.
And it's a great mystery. But we do have the clear teaching of the Bible and the clear testimony of the Church for the last 2,000 years. And so we embrace that and receive it and worship God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, the Trinity.
Amen. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at CoreChristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar. Or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
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