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Can Celebrating Christmas Become a Form of Idolatry?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2021 1:30 pm

Can Celebrating Christmas Become a Form of Idolatry?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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December 1, 2021 1:30 pm

Episode 849 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. Do you think that people who celebrate Christmas are practicing a kind of idolatry?

2. If there are same-sex couples who are married and they start going to church, how should congregations and pastors respond to them?

3. Is it biblical to tithe and give to charity if we are in debt?

4. My pastor committed adultery. What should I do?

5. What does Romans 8 teach about condemnation and justification?

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The following is a prerecorded version of core Christianity will be back alive again on Christians who are in debt. Stool five best is one of the questions will be answering on today's edition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer along with pastor Pedro Sanchez and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.

You can call us at 833 the core with your question. That's 833-843-2673 also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram or twitter accounts and you can email us your question at questions at core, Christianity.com burst up today let's go to early in St. Louis, Missouri early what your question for pastor. Israel I will not live as Christians celebrate Christmas nativity like I worship.

Yeah, great question, why do we celebrate Christmas.

Should Christians celebrate Christmas will of course there there's no in the New Testament, you know, there's not like this Christian festival of Christmas that were told about Beano from the apostle Paul that Kennedy had. It is a matter of Christian liberty, if you will. I don't think the churches should bind the consciences of people by saying like you have to celebrate Christmas and observed in this way you know you buy a Christmas tree and get extra money gifts that kind of thing effect. I think a lot of what you see in our culture today around Christmas time would probably not please God.

It's very consumerist it gets very materialistic, but I think that if for focusing on the incarnation of Jesus Christ before celebrating that if you will, and focusing on. I think that's a wonderful thing that obviously that something that we should, you know, keep at the forefront of our minds throughout the year, but I think it can be helpful, even for some churches to to fix their attention on that at least once a year around Christmas time because there's a lot of confusion about the identity of Jesus. We sometimes refer to as Christology. But the study of Christ, who he is what he came to do and a lot of that is rooted in the incarnation, the eternal son of God, the second person of the holy Trinity. The word as John calls him in John chapter 1 verse one assumed humanity that is in the incarnation, he took humanity from the womb of the Virgin Mary and you have one divine person with two natures divine and human and the mystery of the incarnation and as God. He is the perfect infinite Lord who is able to atone for our sins, and is Manny's are perfect representative of one divine person with two natures in and the fact of the matter is a great mystery but is at the heart of the Christian faith.

And so Earl I think it's something that is good for us to think about to talk about. If that's were doing around Christmas time that I say wonderful now. There is a lot of idolatry that that takes place around Christmas time as well and I think that the heart of it really is the sort of materialism that we see all around us and and and when that's the focus then then were were really missing it, and so appreciate your your question sister I know we we set up sometime before Christmas, but I personally is as a minister.

It's something that we as a church do we we we take some time to focus on the incarnation of the word. The great mystery of of our faith and and we give praise to God for that because for us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and of course what a great time of year to evangelize to share the hope that you have with others right this anymore open to it Christmas time so practically bill that's another reason why I I really appreciate is that you know there's some churches are gorgeous knocking to do it when I can do that because the Bible doesn't say you know we have to celebrate Chris was that Kennedy but it's a really good opportunity for evangelism because Christmas in a celebration of Easter pass because it sometimes called by some Christian. These are these are periods where your neighbors who don't ordinarily go to church or are sometimes more willing to darken the door of the church. And so, what an opportunity to just say hey let's let's invite them in and talk about the great message of our redemption, the incarnation of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus to share the gospel with the people around so I see it as an opportunity for churches that we should capitalize on and and if we do that and then I think it's wonderful and serve Christmas cookies and hot chocolate because I like that.

We know that's that's the sort of a peripheral issue bill, but the reality is I who does not love Christmas cookies and all the other Christmas food, bring it on. This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez.

Let's go to Andy calling in from Kansas and he what's your question, I I can hear you any two women who are married and they were legal I married for several years and in a low to a state or auditing a church, what will the Lord is pleased that according to the word homosexuality. In addition to marriage is not typical. I would be how should the congregation react to what should the pastor preach, or what would be our response to to man a winning recommendation.

They not been, charge because of the reaction they got from the community and come to church though. How are you people yeah and and you know what, I hope that that does happen in our church is seeing Paul in first Corinthians chapter 14 seems to indicate that there are non-Christians who are coming into the church services in that context there. He's encouraging the Corinthians to exercise decency and order in the context of worship service that when when people come there, not just that you guys are out your minds that kind of a thing, but he also assumes that the word is being faithfully taught and people are coming under the conviction of sin, because that that you know it's from that place that they are able to embrace the gospel of forgiveness. So I think the church what what what needs to happen is one we need to be a place where were were proclaiming the word preaching the gospel in a way that's understandable so that people who are coming in from the outside maybe don't have a background in Christianity at all.

Yeah, they don't know all of the Christian ease all the jargon that we sometimes use are we preaching the word and explaining the gospel in a way that there can understand it's gonna convict them so I think that's 111 thing that we need to make sure is happening in our churches, and that that just dentist goes you know know no matter what I think.

As that happens that when people are coming into your church from the outside who you know. Ordinarily you know they don't they don't go to church maybe there ethics you know related to sexual totally different from from that of the church or you're trying to help them understand what God's word says and so and then ended. Besides that, I think it's really important for the people of the church not to push away these individuals by you know giving you dirty looks and that kind of thing. The were called to love our neighbors, the people around us. I was a investing in them. I'm getting to know them, inviting them over for dinner. That kind of a thing building a relationship that that that's different from saying I agree with your decision. I think that this is okay.

We can disagree with one another while still loving each other and Jesus calls you to love your neighbors, your gay neighbors included Dan so that so with all that, though I think the church also asked as I as I mentioned before, remain faithful to the word, and it could be that that the couple this couple goes to the church for some time and they feel like, well, these people are just going to accept our decision and what what we've done and so maybe they leave or maybe by the grace of the Holy Spirit date. They do have a sense of wow the spirit of God is here in this place were convicted by our sin.

We don't know how it's going to work out the wheat. We know that God doesn't call us to be together. He calls us to follow Jesus and that creates you know all sorts of questions but you enter into this process of, say, what does look like for us than to follow Jesus faithfully and I had to get it in a situation like that always would mean your you're no longer in that relationship and that romantic relationship, but we have to be a place where people sinners of all stub all different kinds are willing to come are welcomed and yet at the same time were not compromising the word of God resting faithful to God's word and be honest about what is sin, and then what is in sin and bringing people along discipling people in that and so any that takes a lot of care and it takes a lot of prayer as well and so III would just encourage you to pray. If this is a situation in your church. They pray for this couple and and I was a get to know them and build a relationship with them.

Continue to encourage them to go to church and to hear the voice of Jesus speaking in the Scriptures anything. So much for your question and for being rudderless are the core Christianity really do appreciate you. By the way, we have a group of people who listen to this program on a regular basis and really believe in what we do and if you're one of those we like to invite you to join what we call our inner core, yes, I am so grateful for the inner core bill. It's a good group of supporters who have basically partnered with us.

Partnered with this broadcast.

You know what we want to continue to get the word out to encourage people in the Christian faith to help ground you in the core doctrines the core beliefs that we know are can have a huge impact in your life and if you been blessed by this broadcast I would you consider joining the inner core of our inner core members get all sort of exclusive materials that we produce. We do monthly devotional. I do monthly devotional for the other core members and there's a bunch of other goodies we send out and it's it's a monthly donation of $25 or more to recurring donation is really not that much but it really blesses us a ton and so if you been blessed by us. Would you consider joining the inner core. It's a huge help to us because we don't receive money from a particular denomination or any government funds.

We are self-supporting here a core Christianity so would ask you to prayerfully consider joining what we call the inner core. You can find out more by going to core Christianity.com/inner core, or you can call us and we'll tell you more about that at 833, the court will. Here's a voicemail we received from one of our listers. His name is Keith and he's in North Carolina. Also I love the show biblical writers, a Christian and you through time negative or eliminated. Personally work towards paying off the first and then I'll start to give cheerfully and joyfully to the church. Want to know your thoughts on long sure you do. Keith, thank you for that encouragement, brother, I would say begin cultivating a heart of charity. Now don't wait until some future point out.

Maybe that means you can't give as much as you would like, but I think even now it it's important that you partner with the church are a part of that you give to those who are in need. I recognize that that could be difficult, but I would sing.

Do not wait until you finish paying off your house or your car, your student loans. That kind of thing now of course I don't know your financial situation entirely, but I think I can say to you that Christ calls each and every one of us to have generous hearts to cultivate that that charity in and amongst ourselves for for all of our lives and know that it we don't want to say I guy I could do this now because I'd I just bought a house or I just viewed I still own money on my car. Listen to what the apostle Paul said in second Corinthians chapter 8 about how the Christians were giving at that times as we want. You know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. You know it, they will. They were giving it at a point where they were just like overwhelmed with resources like our man. God has really blessed us with so much. You know those churches in Macedonia the of the Golden you note the buildings and all that's the biggest got so much money and that's why they're willing to give no pulses.

Actually, they were in a state of extreme poverty and yet there was so much love in their hearts that they were willing to overflow in a wealth of generosity, for they gave according to their means. Paul says in verse three as I can testify and beyond their means of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints boy.

Lord help us to have hearts like that to give even even when it hurts a little to be able to say Lord I know, I know that this means. Maybe I'm not going to get the, the, the Starbucks that I want to get or the, the, the level of vacation that I want to have, or whatever it is, but I I am. I'm begging you to give me an opportunity to meet the needs of the people, the Christians who are around me that the churches of Macedonia were, so I think even read it in a difficult situation. Extreme poverty as as Paul mentions there in second Corinthians 8, we can still of our own accord.

Choose to give. And that's not something that the New Testament views is foolish me think of that the parable of the poor widow who gave her last my issue condemned by Jesus know she's commended and so we want to cultivate in our own hearts that that kind of generosity messing you know to be foolish. I am saying to cultivate that part of generosity. Whether you still have debts or not. And the Lord loves a cheerful giver and God. God provides for us so that we might have sufficiently man.

I have everything that we we wanted.

But God is for us and will take care of us, and so God bless you, thank you for that question. Your listing to core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez, one of the ways you can ask your question is to email us our email addresses questions at core, Christianity.com. Sometimes we get some really difficult questions about things going on in the life of the church and Samantha asked us this. She says the pastor of my church has been caught committing adultery with one of our members who is not his wife. When confronted, he brought up first Corinthians 736 and used this verse to justify his sexual immorality.

He also said the Greek word for fornicating his poor nail which only means sex with prostitutes. This is outrageous and I need guidance on what to do here Samantha I'm so sorry this this kind of stuff diamond breaks my heart. It also makes me angry because you have someone a pastor so-called who is taking advantage of the church and of the sheep. First and foremost, it's very clear on the basis of the.

The adulterous affair that this individual is no longer qualified to be a pastor. That should be simple enough.

Eight they should. He should step down of his own accord, but the reality is that it's the churches job also to say you're no longer qualified. You're no longer the pastor he should be fired from from his position is always also sounds like he's trying to justify his behavior and this is often what takes place when an individual is caught in sin, even when we are confronted by her own since you know I I think that the tendency that we we frequently have is to minimize our sins is out. It's not that bad it's not as bad as you think, or to different blame shift to say well the reason I had to do this is because of what someone else did. Or if somebody else drove me to this work were always looking for ways of not having to own up to the severity of what we've done and that's not real repentance that is not real repentance.

People who say okay, I've been caught, but it's not that bad that the Greek word porn. It doesn't doesn't mean what I've done that's false there.

It sounds like this person is qualified, not just on on moral grounds, but on the basis of the fact that they don't really even understand the Scriptures, they are unable to rightly divide the word of truth. They're not competent or able to teach and so I would say that this individual disqualified for more than one reason on moral grounds and then also on the grounds of incompetency and so II think that the that the it does. The obvious answer is this guy should not be a pastor. Now if for some, I think crazy reason the church says that he still qualified then then there are deeper issues there and I would I would encourage you to find a church where where abusers frankly where wolves aren't permitted to get behind the pulpit and so sister I'm so sorry about the situation. May Jesus fix your eyes and in the eyes of those in the church on him, the chief Shepherd and give the church courage and wisdom in this very difficult time. God bless you, really tough one. This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez. You can always leave us a voicemail with your question 24 hours a day. Here's the phone number it's 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673. By the way, some of the stations that air our program actually errored on a tape delayed basis.

So if you want to call into the studio and talk to pastor Israel live you want to do it at 11:30 AM Pacific 1230 Mountain 136 E. Central certain sorry into 30 Eastern my time zones write every day for that half-hour. You can call into the studio and talked with live.

If not, just leave us a voicemail. There's a voicemail received from one of our listeners named this is just anonymous voicemail we received from someone in Pennsylvania about guided is guided by feedback and pray stated, who died more than that would raise the life is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for Wednesday. Who is he that came down it.

Pray stated, I just wondered about that because clearly in Romans eight. Why is therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ, dated you that because it is a word order can be a little bit confusing to us and in text like this but it's not saying that Jesus is the one who is now there to condemn us impact on the contrary what's being focused on is the fact that there is nothing or no one that can condemn us, why because Christ Jesus is the one who died. He was the one who was condemned and more than that was raised who is at the right hand of God and is not condemning us interceding for us, who shall separate us from the love of Christ shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or danger or sword. None of those things. Candace is what is Jesus doing at the right hand of the father. He's not condemning us. He is our advocate. This is what John says in the book of first John, Jesus Christ the righteous is our advocate before the father and he is interceding for us now friends. Isn't that an amazing truth of it, you just got, like, you can't even wrap your mind around it fully. Don't you love it when someone says I'm praying for you and especially when when you know that someone is really going to pray for you when you know there's someone who has or really close walk with the Lord who loves Jesus, was that one of those prayer warriors will let me tell you something. If you are in Christ, if you belong to him.

If you're one of the sheep. You've embraced him.

You've received the forgiveness of your sins, you have the great high priest, Jesus Christ the righteous at the right hand of God interceding for you. Praying for you and that's why Paul can go on to say in verse 37 of Romans chapter 8 in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who condemned us know through him who loved us.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor anything present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. For those of you who struggle with that sense of condemnation with feeling like a God just doesn't like me. He hates me my sins are overwhelming to me. My circumstances I'm I'm struggling with tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, I don't have what I want.

Maybe God doesn't love me pulses. No no no no no, God demonstrated his love for you, not by giving you everything that you want the easy life, the comfortable life.

God demonstrated his love for you by giving you what you needed more than anything that is his very son, to make atonement for your sins so that you might have communion with him.

And if that's the case if that's the reality. Who on earth could condemn us. It was Jesus who died was condemned in our place so that we might have eternal life and that's brothers and sisters. The good news and not only did he die for us is our great high priest were talking here about me. That's is to the priestly ministry work of Jesus. But again, he's praying for you right now he's in heaven at the right hand of the father interceding for you and because Jesus is interceding for you when you can have a lot of hope you can be excited about the future because you know you have a great high priest in heaven is something we need to rest in and encourage one another with praise the Lord. Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us at core, Christianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833 when you contact us.

Please let us know how you 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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