What do our questions about God, the Bible, and our faith tell us about ourselves? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Well, hi, I'm 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.
The Core. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. And of course, you can always email us at questions at corechristianity.com. Well, believe it or not, today marks our one thousandth episode of Core Christianity.
That is a whole lot of programs. And during the last couple of years, Adriel has answered more than 4000 questions about the Bible and the Christian faith. And so, Adriel, let me ask you as we start off today, as you think back over those 1000 shows, what are some of the highlights for you?
Well, I mean, Bill, you know, every single day, it's such a blast to be able to do this. I would say, you know, some of the big highlights for me have been, I mean, during the program, getting calls and really being able to minister, I think, to people at various points. We've seen that, but also getting feedback from our listeners. I mean, I got a letter not too long ago to the church where I pastor, actually from another minister in Alabama who was sharing with me that he was able to baptize a family that had been listening to Core Christianity for a long time. And it was just instrumental in them sort of moving in that direction and getting plugged into the church. And so really getting to see the work that we're doing and the whole team, you know, does a lot of hard work, bear fruit. And it's only by the grace of the Holy Spirit. I mean, that has been the greatest joy for me over the last few years. And so really, really thankful for that.
You know, I think for me, one of the things that has encouraged me is how many times you have been able to reassure anxious Christians about their salvation and tell them that their faith is not based on feelings, but on the finished work of Christ on the cross. That has just been so cool. Yeah. I mean, that's, I mean, that's, oh, go ahead. No, no, you go ahead. I'm sorry.
I cut you off. Yeah. No, I was just going to say that we want to help people be secure in the gospel, not so much in ourselves, you know, and this is, you know, people are always looking inward and we hear from so many places, you know, well, that's where you have to focus. No, we have to focus on the truth of God's word and of the gospel. And so it's a privilege to get to do that for people who call in. Now as a pastor who is preaching to a congregation every Sunday and leading a congregation, I'm wondering what has surprised you or maybe concerned you about some of the questions that we receive? What do they tell you about the state of the church in our country and maybe about the understanding of the average Christian in the pews?
Yeah. What's really interesting to me, Bill, you mentioned being able to give assurance to people who are calling in, struggling. I think one of the themes that we see a lot of times here on the broadcast is people really wrestling with that question, how can I know that I'm saved?
How can I have assurance? I've seen a lot of confusion about God's law too, which really should not be a surprise because from the very beginning, when you look at the New Testament, I mean, it was questions about the law of God and the proper application of God's law to the life of the believer. What role does the law play in our salvation, if any?
What does that look like? What's the distinction between the law and the gospel? And so we've seen, and I think we were sort of expecting this, but we've really seen this play out with a lot of the questions that come in, just really wrestling through how to rightly understand God's word, in particular God's law. And so really, key distinctions that we feel like we're able to give that help people have come in clutch.
And so the distinction between the law and the gospel, between justification and sanctification, I mean, these are things that we like to talk about, and these are things that many people have questions about. Well, in honor of our 1000th episode, we are having a drawing for some very special goodies today. We are giving away three gift packages to three different winners who entered our contest online. Now, these gift packages contain our three latest Bible studies on Ruth, the parables and Philippians, a brand new coffee mug with the core Christianity logo on it.
They look really cool. A bag of San Diego's finest coffee to go with the mug. And we've got a pair of Sony Bluetooth headphones. And I think what we'll do is we'll take a call right now. And then in a few minutes, we'll have our first winner.
So if you were one of those people that entered that contest online, well, stick with us, because we may be announcing your name here in just a bit. First, let's go to our phones. And again, our phone number is 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Don. Yeah, Don, who's calling in from Kansas. Don, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yeah, my question is, were the Bible instructs us to bring our tithes into the storehouse? If your church—and maybe you've answered this question before and I missed it—but if your church is setting on some large sums of money, like several hundred thousand dollars, and not doing anything with it, is it okay to consider an outreach rather than take it into the church where it just sits there?
Hey, Don, thank you for that question. Well, of course, the tithe was a part of the old covenant specifically. I think we're called to give generously and unto the Lord with joy, and the Lord loves a cheerful giver. I mean, we talk about what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8 specifically. And in chapter 9, verse 7, each one must give as he has decided in his own heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
So I just want to start there. Giving should be grounded in the Gospel. We give as a response to what God has done for us, a response of worship and thanksgiving for the work of the ministry. And so your question specifically is, you know, how should a church be spending its money? And I think the way churches should spend their money has to be great commission related. I mean, we're thinking about discipleship. We're thinking about the advancement of the Gospel.
I know some churches, you know, they're saving money for buildings or for other things, maybe planting a church, that type of a thing. But I think so long as the mindset is, how are we using the resources God has given to us to invest in God's kingdom? And I think it's important for churches to think along those lines.
I mean, certainly just in terms of our mission that Jesus has given to us. But that's where, I mean, that's where it requires wisdom. And so I think in part what churches can do that are sitting on money is come together and say, OK, how can we wisely use these resources for the advancement of the Gospel? I think you don't want to just sort of just say, well, we've got to just give it all away. I was talking to a brother who's a minister not too long ago.
We were having actually a discussion about something very similar. And he said, look, there's a lot of money that gets wasted by churches. Even in terms of, you know, they see something that they think is a legitimate mission opportunity and they just sort of dump a bunch of resources into it. But they didn't do their homework in terms of really thinking about, you know, is this a viable thing? Is this something that we should invest in?
Is it wise to invest in this? And so I think it's important for us in churches to think long and hard about how we're using the resources that God has given to us for the advancement of his kingdom. And so, yes, I would say definitely thinking about outreaches, whether they're local outreaches or foreign outreaches, you know, missions, foreign missions, I think is very good things, Don. So may God give your church wisdom if you guys are in that position and open up doors for you guys to be able to use those resources in a way that is pleasing to him. Don, thanks so much for your question.
Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. As we mentioned all week, we've been encouraging you to enter our contest online. We have three winners in honor of our one thousandth episode today of a special prize pack.
And we're going to pick a winner right now. This is for several good things. First of all, our three new Bible studies, which are just awesome. We also have a core coffee mug. This is our brand new coffee mug with our logo on it, which Adriel is showing off right now on YouTube and some San Diego coffee. Plus, how about this?
Some special Bluetooth headphones. So, Adriel, why don't you reach into your basket there and pick out your very first winner? Yeah, OK. Well, let me dig in. We got this nice big bag. We had quite a few people.
Here it comes. Our first winner is Eric Cleveland from Iowa Falls, Iowa. Congratulations, Eric. All right. Very cool. Congratulations, Eric. And if you were if you were one of the people that entered the contest, we're going to pick two more before the end of the show today.
So hang tight. We may be going to you next. We need to get those sound effects like the clapping. You know, when I'm done answering a question or I don't know why we haven't incorporated that into really good theology.
You make a when you when you have just one of these amazing theological responses, you know, like digging into the Old Testament and some obscure passage that you just blow us away. We should have the applause right there. I think that exactly. We'll talk to the producer about that. Yeah. All right. Well, we'll do that. OK, let's go back to the phones.
Brian's on the line from St. Louis, Missouri. Brian, what's your question for Pastor Adrian? Yes, sir. I appreciate your ministry. First of all, Pastor Adrian, I got a really philosophical question. People always wondered what paradise is. And you probably heard as well as I have about people claiming to have died and gone to heaven. But 98 percent of these stories I hear, they see all these beautiful things. And things they hear and see, but they never mentioned seeing Jesus in these experiences they have.
So I'm thinking, like the Bible says, we got to try the spirits to see whether they be of God, because as the Bible says, the devil can actually transform himself into an angel of light. So I'm asking what exactly is paradise? Well, when we die as believers, we enter into the presence of the Lord. Second Corinthians chapter five, Philippians chapter one makes this clear. You see an example of a picture of heaven and the worship taking place in heaven in Hebrews chapter 12, and then throughout the book of Revelation as well. And so paradise is the place where God dwells. I mean, when Jesus says to the thief on the cross, today you're going to be with me in paradise. You're going to be with me in the presence of God worshiping the Lord.
And so that's the first thing I would say, and I think it's wise for us to be discerning. You're right, there are a lot of people out there who make really big claims about what they've seen, those near-death experiences, but we have to sift everything through the word of God and determine whether or not it's true or not true. Now, one thing I'll say with regard to this specifically, because there have been several books that have come out where people have said, you know, 20 minutes in heaven or 15 minutes in hell, that kind of a thing, books where people claim that they've gone to these places and then came back to tell about it.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 1, I must go on boasting, though there is nothing to be gained by it. I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who 14 years ago was caught up to the third heaven, whether in the body or out of the body, I don't know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise, whether in the body or out of the body, I don't know, God knows. And he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. Now, you have one example here where a guy says, Paul says, I knew a guy who somehow got up into heaven, if you will, I don't know if he was in the body or out of the body, Paul says, maybe it was a vision, but what he heard, he can't utter. He's not going to share it with you. And so it just seems strange to me that there are so many people who are saying, Oh, you know, I died and went to heaven and let me just tell you all about it.
And they write books to get the word out. And Paul says, I'm not going to boast in that. I'm not going to boast in those visions and revelations. Actually, here's what I'm going to boast in, my weaknesses. Because in my weakness, Jesus Christ is made strong in and through me.
His strength becomes my strength. And so I think we have to really think about just these claims and say, does this even make sense on the basis of what we have in scripture and even what Paul says there in 2 Corinthians chapter 12? And my sense is, no, it doesn't make sense.
So we want to focus on the teaching of God's word and get our understanding of heaven and paradise from the scriptures, not from people who are making these claims. Thanks for your question. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you just joined us, this is our 1000th episode. If you can believe that Adriel has answered like 4000 questions over the past couple of years. And in honor of our 1000th episode, we're having a drawing this week. We've asked you to go to our website all week and sign up. And we're going to have another winner right now.
This is for our three new Bible studies on Ruth, parables and Philippians. A brand new coffee mug with a Core Christianity logo on it. A bag of some really good coffee from San Diego.
And one pair of Sony Bluetooth headphones. Are you ready to draw the next winner, sir? Okay, I'm ready, Bill.
Let's do it. Where's the drum roll? There it is.
I dug deep for this one. Here we have Nathan Baker from Mooresville, North Carolina. Nathan Baker, congratulations.
Enjoy your coffee and the headphones. All right. Nathan, I've actually been to his town. I've been to Mooresville, North Carolina.
How is it? It's a nice town. Beautiful town.
Yeah, some great churches there, too. So, Nathan, thanks for listening to Core Christianity and congratulations. Okay, our phone lines are still open for the next couple of minutes. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to David in Albuquerque, New Mexico. David, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi, Adriel. First of all, congratulations on your 1000th episode.
That's a great accomplishment. Thank you. My question is in regard to... It kind of goes along with the previous question in a way. It's in regard to Sheol and Hades and where the dead went prior to Christ coming to Earth. I've read a lot over the years on this and even in Reformed writings, like Robert Morey wrote a book, Death and the Afterlife, where he really goes into great detail about prior to Christ coming to Earth, that there was the compartment divided between Sheol and Hades, and the righteous and the unrighteous dead went there, and then when Christ came, he released that and took those to Heaven. But then, later on, I started hearing from a lot of other pastors, like you and John MacArthur said, that he believes that the Old Testament saints, when they died, they went directly to Heaven. They didn't go to this holding place, so it got me kind of confused. So I was wondering what your take is on this, and if you have any understanding on this that could shed some light on this.
Yeah. Thank you for that question, David. It seems like there is some difference of opinion here among interpreters of the Bible and scholars. I mean, I would say that the main thing is, one, understanding that the saints in the Old Testament were saved in the same way that we are. I think that that's key. Two, that we're not thinking of some sort of like purgatory-type holding place, but that there is this place of blessedness where the Old Testament believers win, ultimately through Christ and looking forward to the promise of the Gospel. And so I think those are the key things. I think when people get nervous about this sort of like limbo, sort of waiting, holding tank before Jesus, is that a kind of purgatory?
I think we can reject that specifically. And then there are some passages, right? I mean, I think of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.
That's one text that people will go to. And then the idea is that this is one of the things that Jesus did after his death and prior to his resurrection from the dead. He's just releasing the captives. There seems to be some indication of this in places like Ephesians chapter 4. So I don't have a strong sort of one way or another on this. Personally, I think it's just getting the main things right, which are Old Testament saints were saved, justified the same way that we are through Jesus Christ. I mean, I think Paul makes it absolutely clear in Romans. Romans chapter 4, specifically, thinking about Abraham's justification. They're saved the same way that we are. And upon death, they are in a place of blessedness, if you will, in the presence of God. And so all of that is through Jesus, of course.
Through his work, even though he had not come yet, they're anticipating and were anticipating through the types and shadows of the Old Covenant, the grace that was theirs in Christ. And so I would say those are the main things in this discussion, and that's sort of where I would focus personally. Thank you for your question. Hey, David, thanks so much, and thanks for listening to Core Christianity. All right, time for one more winner in our giveaway.
This is for our special 1000th episode of Core Christianity. Adriel, are you ready for our third and final winner? Let's do it, Bill. All right. All right, here we have Lou Core from Mission, Texas. Yay!
All right. Congratulations, Lou. All right, let me tell Lou what he's won in case you didn't hear earlier. First of all, we've got three new Bible studies from Core Christianity. You can find these, by the way, by going to corechristianity.com forward slash studies. We've got new ones on Ruth, the parables, and Philippians. We're also going to send him a brand new coffee mug with Core Christianity's logo on it, a bag of San Diego's finest coffee to go with the mug, and one pair of Sony Bluetooth headphones.
So congratulations, and congratulations to all of our listeners. Well, we have a question from one of our listeners in Minnesota from Reid. He wants to know about Matthew 3.15 and why, when people are baptized, they're not asked for an admission of sin. Well, Matthew chapter 3, verse 13, this is the baptism of Jesus. Matthew chapter 3, verse 13, Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? But Jesus answered him, Let it be, so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he consented, and when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him, and behold, a voice from heaven said, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.
This is sort of a unique situation here, Reid. We're talking about the baptism of the eternal Son of God, Jesus. And so with regard to your question, why don't they ask for an admission of sin? Well, here specifically, we're talking about the sinless one. Jesus has no sin. So the question is, and oftentimes this is the question that we get related to the baptism of Jesus, why was Jesus baptized if he was sinless?
Isn't baptism about the washing away of our sins? And here he says it's to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus is walking in the footsteps, if you will, of Israel through the wilderness, the temptation in the wilderness, which he's about to enter into, out of Egypt, through the water, into the temptation. He's essentially walking in the footsteps of Israel, but what's distinct here is he's the true and perfect Israelite, the one who doesn't succumb to temptation in the wilderness, the one who delivers and perfectly keeps the law. He delivers the law in Matthew chapter 5. And so you have this really interesting connection between Jesus' life and ministry here in the early chapters of the Gospel of Matthew and the experience of Israel in the Old Testament.
Again, God bringing them out of Egypt, through the waters, 40 years of temptation, and then giving them his law. And here you see that same pattern, except Jesus is the true and perfect Israelite who's baptized to fulfill all righteousness. And ultimately this baptism is a foreshadowing of what's going to happen to him on the cross. It's the picture of the judgment that he was going to receive in our place for our sins. And so that's why our Lord was baptized. But there's no reason for there to be any discussion about admission of sin there or confession of sin, repentance, because Jesus never sinned.
He was sinless, and that's what makes him a perfect Savior. This is CORE Christianity. Congratulations again to our three winners for our special contest. For our 1,000th episode of this program, Eric Cleveland, Nathan Baker, and Lou CORE. We're sending you those wonderful gift packages. And, Adriel, just any final thoughts as we wrap up our 1,000th episode of CORE Christianity? Well, Bill, it has been such a joy. And my prayer is that the Lord continues to use this ministry in us and the team that I know works so hard to encourage people in their faith to help people really understand the core truths of the Christian faith, to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
At the end of the day, that's what it's all about. That's why we do what we do because we want to see Jesus glorified and we want to see people fall in love with him more and more and fall in love with his word. And so thank you to all of you who have supported us and listened to the last 1,000 episodes. We pray that you continue to join us and may the Lord bless you. 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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