If God is all I need, then why am I so reliant on other people? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Here's the number. You might want to jot this down. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. You can watch Adriel live in the studio right now on YouTube. We have a YouTube channel and you can message him that way with your question. And of course, you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Gregory.
Hi there. My question is around Luke 16, verse 1 through 13. There's a parable there, excuse me. If you could explain to me what that means, I'd really appreciate it. Bless you guys.
Thanks. Hey Gregory, thank you for that question. So Luke 16, you know, this is notoriously one of the most difficult parables in the Gospel of Luke to interpret. It's the parable of the dishonest manager. I'm not going to read the entire parable, but basically the gist is you have an individual who's being accused of mishandling his master's resources. And so he's about to lose his job.
He's this manager, this household manager, who's about to be fired because he's been mishandling the finances. And so he comes up with a plan. He doesn't want to beg.
He's embarrassed to beg. So he says, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to the people that owe my master money and I'm going to reduce what they owe and collect on that. And as a result, Jesus says something, well, in the parable, the master says something really interesting. He says in verse 8, or we read in verse 8, the master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness.
There's some confusion there. You know, people think, why would the master commend this dishonest person? He's not commending the dishonesty. He's commending the shrewdness, commending him for his shrewdness for the sons of this world. And I think that's where Jesus begins to provide an interpretation, if you will, of the parable. The sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.
There's a comparison here between the sons of this world, the sons of this age and the sons of light, the children of God. He's saying that sometimes we can have this naivety as God's people. And I tell you, Jesus says, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails, they may receive you into eternal dwellings. And you just scratch your head and you think, what is Jesus talking about there? Well, in the context, this shrewd household manager who's handling the finances, he's making friends.
How? He's lowering what they owe. He's saying, look, okay, this is what you owe.
Just pay me this. His shrewdness is commended. And here, and especially as the parable or the, I think, interpretation continues in verses 10 through 13, what's being focused on here is one, being wise with the way we think about money and handle money specifically shrewd. And here, I think there's this reality that when we handle it well, especially when we're generous, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, that is, we're giving generously.
And I think that indicates something or sheds light on what we believe about the world and the gospel. Jesus said, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. How we think about money and possessions tells the world something about how we think about eternity as well. And Jesus goes on in verse 10, one who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, if you can't handle money, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. And so the thrust here is one, being wise with the way we handle our resources, not putting our hope in them, they fail us.
And that's actually something that Jesus makes very clear here, but using them for God's kingdom purposes. Brothers and sisters, I was having a conversation with somebody yesterday, there are so many people right now who are concerned about the economy, about inflation, about are we going into a recession? Maybe you have that great fear, that great concern right now. And that's the reality, is money is fleeting. It's here, it's gone. We're never called to put our trust in riches. We're called to invest in heaven where moth and rust don't destroy. I think of James and his exhortation in James chapter one verse nine, let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away, for the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass, its flower falls and its beauty perishes, so also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
We don't put our hope in riches, we're called to be, in earthly riches, we're called to be good stewards of what God has given to us and to invest in the kingdom of God. And I think that's at the heart of this parable, Gregory. Thank you for your question.
Great explanation, thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, or maybe some doubts about the Christian faith, we're open to your calls, whatever your question might be.
Here's the phone number, it's 833-THE-CORE, just spell that out on your phone, 833-THE-CORE, 1-833-843-2673. Now we have a brand new Bible study here at the Core we want to tell you about. It's on an Old Testament book that teaches us some really incredible lessons. Yeah, if you're looking for a 10-week Bible study resource to go through on your own or maybe with a small group at your church or a group of Christian friends, I really want to encourage you to get a hold of this resource. It's a Bible study on the book of Ruth that digs into, I think, one of the less studied books of the Old Testament. And so we want to help illuminate it for you, encourage you, and ultimately help you to see how the book of Ruth points us to Christ and to his gospel, really situating it in the history of redemption so we can understand Ruth's relationship to the entire story of the Bible. And so get a hold of that Bible study.
It's yours for a donation of $20 or more. By the way, many of our Bible studies are set up for both personal use and for groups. So maybe if you're thinking about something for your small group from church or a Sunday school curriculum for this fall, this would be a great choice for you. You can learn more about this by going to corechristianity.com forward slash studies.
Again, corechristianity forward slash studies, and look for our new Bible study on the book of Ruth. Well, here's a question from one of our listeners named Jean. She says, I grew up thinking I had to be good to go to heaven, but now I hear kids say they don't believe in hell. Who got rid of the teaching on hell?
There's a couple things I want to address there. First, a lot of people, I think, Jean, grow up thinking that in order to get to heaven, they have to be good. And they imagine that on the day of judgment, there are going to be these balances, and our good works are going to be on one side, and maybe the things that we did wrong, the sins that we committed are going to be on the other side. And so long as our good works outweigh the bad ones, well, we're going to get that ticket to heaven. That's not what the Bible teaches, though. The Bible does not teach that heaven is for people who do enough good works. The Bible teaches that heaven is for those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ, because we can't do enough works.
We can't, you can't, I can't perfectly keep the law of God in order to be justified before a holy God. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Paul says in the book of Romans. And so it's not to the one who works, as he goes on to say in Romans chapter four, but to the one who is forgiven.
God justifies the sinner. And so heaven is for those who have trusted in Jesus Christ, received the forgiveness of their sins by faith, and are united to Jesus. The only hope that we have of heaven is in Christ and his perfect righteousness. And as those who trust in Jesus, we live lives of good works, we're called to. And the Spirit of God works in us, both to will and to work for the good pleasure of the Lord.
And so I just want to, I just want to provide some clarification there. Now, with regard to what the kids nowadays are saying about hell and how they don't believe in hell, and who got rid of that teaching, well, it's always been there in the Bible. Throughout the history of the church, there have been people who have interpreted it in different ways, but by and large, universally, the Christian church has understood that there's this place of judgment, this place of perdition or torment that is everlasting for those who reject Christ and his gospel. Now, of course, I think part of the issue is we've so minimized the holiness of God in our society today, in our culture, in the way we think about God, that hell doesn't make any sense to us because we don't really even have a doctrine of sin.
And so I think that that's part of the problem. That's why many have jettisoned this idea of hell is because they've also gotten rid of the doctrine of God's holiness, they've gotten rid of the doctrine of sin. And so when you start stripping away those important doctrines that we see in scripture so clearly, well, then, yeah, things like hell and judgment don't make any sense. And so that's why it's so important for us and for all people to get their understanding from the scriptures, from God's revelation, what he says in his word. And so we do well to go back to the word in order to understand the doctrine of salvation and the doctrine of judgment as well.
Thank you, Gene, for your question. And of course, I'm guessing you would say when we're sharing the gospel with people, we want to make sure that we include the whole gospel. It's not all hearts and butterflies and then you accept Jesus.
Then all of a sudden things go great in your life. But there's, there are eternal ramifications to that decision. Yeah.
Yeah. Well, the gospel itself is good news, but it comes to us as those who deserve the judgment of God. Grace is God's good gifts to people who have demerited those gifts. I mean, what we deserve is death. The wages of sin is death judgment.
And yet God gives to those who deserve this judgment, grace and mercy and forgiveness in his son, Jesus. And so we preach the law, pointing people to the Lord and saying, look, we fall short of this. And then, you know, you preach the good news of the gospel.
So you have to have both. We have to understand why we need the gospel so desperately. And if we don't recognize, you know, the holiness of the Lord, the holiness of his law, the seriousness of sin, well then we won't cherish the gospel like we should.
Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We do receive voicemails here and you can call us 24 hours a day and leave your question on our voicemail system. Here's the number 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.
Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners in Minnesota. I was wondering, biblically, what your advice would be as to how we can replace that codependency with a feeling of reverence of the Lord and a dependency on him. So thanks again. Thank you guys so much. Quinn, man, thank you for your encouragement and praise God for five years of sobriety. The first thing I want to do is just pray for you and for your fiancee and just ask that the Lord continues to sustain you guys and also helps you to depend first and foremost on him. And so, Father, I pray for my brother Quinn, Lord. Thank you, God, for the work that you've done in his life, for the work that you've done in his fiancee's life, and I pray that you would continue to sustain them. God, that you would give them many more years of sobriety, walking with you, pleasing you in all respects, being filled with your spirit and the fruit of your spirit, Lord. I pray that you would bless them with solid Christian community, that they would continually grow in an understanding of your word, in an experience, Lord, of your love in Jesus through the gospel. And I ask, Lord God, also, that you would help them to rely first and foremost to depend upon you and upon your spirit for the strength that they need for everyday life, Lord, but that you would bless them also as they encourage each other and care for each other as well.
And so be with Quinn, be with his fiancee, and thank you for them in Jesus' name. Amen. Okay, so here's what we want to avoid as the people of God.
We want to avoid the sort of independent spirit that I think many people have today, the sort of I can do it on my own without any help. I don't need the church. You know, I accepted Jesus into my heart.
I got my Bible. I can listen to Christian podcasts, you know, but I don't need anybody else. I can do the Christian thing on my own, that sort of independent attitude which is foreign to the scriptures. So we avoid that independence and we embrace, I think, what scripture puts forward as a kind of interdependence. We are dependent upon each other as the people of God. Texts that I would go to are First Corinthians chapter 12, for example, where Paul says very clearly, Quinn, that each of us play an important role in the body of Christ. We're just one part of the body, one piece of the puzzle, if you will, and it's only as the body is coming together and we're working together interdependent with each other that the body builds itself up in love, as Paul says in Ephesians chapter 4. And of course, over and over again in scripture, we have these one anothers where we're called to bear each other's burden, to care for one another, to strengthen the weak. And so I think in your relationship with your fiancé and with the church, you can have that kind of interdependence, but you don't want to have the kind of codependency that can be unhealthy. And I see that manifesting itself when we begin to seek what we should only seek in God in another person and depend on another person for our ultimate well-being, if you will, sort of looking to them as a kind of savior. And at the end of the day, that's a burden that no human being can bear, and it ends up crushing our spouse or whoever it is that we're putting in that position that really belongs only to the Lord. And so in terms of cultivating a healthy interdependence and rejecting an unhealthy codependency, I think it's realizing more and more that the source of our strength, the source of our life is from the Lord, the Lord himself, and going to him and trusting in him, relying upon him for continued growth and grace, for protection, lead us not lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil, while also welcoming the people that he brings into our lives who are supports for us that we, you know, in a healthy way where we can depend upon each other. And so I would just encourage you through prayer, through the study of scripture, and through healthy interdependence with the body of Christ to grow in that and to fix your eyes more and more upon the Lord and depending upon him for those ultimate things that you need in life and not placing that burden on your fiancee or on another person.
Bill, would you add anything? I think you really said that well. It really is all about interdependence, and, you know, you think about all those illustrations of the body working together.
And so if we're doing things like encouraging one another, praying for one another, bearing one another's burdens, but not, as you said earlier, not counting on someone to be our savior and to bail us out of our depression or our hopelessness, that's God's job. And so turning to him, I think that's just so well said. So, so thanks.
This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And by the way, we're going to be recording a second episode of the Core today after we finish this live program. So if you weren't able to get through with your question in the last 25 minutes or so, you can feel free to call. For the next 40 minutes, we'll be taking your calls. Here's the phone number.
Jot this down. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.
And again, we'll be taking your calls up until about 2 30 Central Time, 12 30 Pacific Time, if you want to give us a call. Let's go to Anna in St. Louis, Missouri. Anna, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?
Yes, hello. I used to go to an Assembly of God church. And I since gone and gone to several others. But I wanted to enter a particular church. And they told me that the baptism that I had at the Assembly of God church would not be valid. They said that you have to be immersed three times in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And so I was worried that my baptism wasn't valid and that that might throw everything off for me.
Anna, a quick follow-up question. Were you baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit at the Assemblies of God church? Yes, I was. I was immersed and baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It's just that the Orthodox church would want you submerged three times for, you know, in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And I was not.
And they said that wouldn't be valid. So I worried that, you know, this would, you know, affect, you know, my relationship with Jesus and so forth. Yeah.
Yeah, thank you for that question. And of course, you know, I think it's an important one because baptism is a sacrament that Jesus gave to us, gave to the church to sign and seal of his gospel grace. It's a gift for the people of God.
And so it's not something that we should take lightly. And there are, I think, churches that do take it lightly. There are churches that reject, for example, the doctrine of the Trinity. And so even though those churches might baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, like the Mormon church, for example, I would say that that's not valid because that's not a true church. That's not a valid church. There are others who say, well, you have to do it just this way and you can only be baptized in the name of Christ or whatnot. But I would say a valid baptism, what makes it valid is the word and promise of God. It's done in accordance with what Christ says, you know, Matthew 28, baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit with, you know, belief in the true God. So if the church rejects the doctrine of the Trinity, and I know, you know, there are different evangelical quote-unquote churches or charismatic churches, there's some question about that. I mean, there's sort of oneness theology out there in some of these charismatic churches.
But I know that by and large, for the most part, it seems like they embrace the doctrine of the Trinity. And so I would say if it was done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit with belief in the Holy Trinity, and with water as Jesus instituted, I don't think that you had to, you know, be immersed three times, then yes, it is a valid baptism, a valid sacrament. And so again, the validity comes from the word and promise of God, not from the holiness of the person who's administering the baptism. There was a great controversy in the ancient church about this called the Donatist controversy where a number of people had abandoned the faith under Roman persecution. And so pastors who had abandoned the faith, who had performed baptisms, people were beginning to wonder, well, were those baptisms valid? Because the guy who baptized me is an apostate.
He turned away from the faith. And essentially the church said, Christians said, no, no, they are valid because it's not the holiness of the person, the minister, and thank God for that, that makes a baptism valid. It's the word and promise of God. It's that it was done according to the way in which Jesus said it should be done with water and in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
And it sounds to me like that's how it was done. And so I wouldn't say that you need to, you know, try and go and get baptized all over again. I would say you just embrace the promise that God gave you in your baptism there, even if you have some disagreement now with the AG church. And as you've developed and grown and had a deeper understanding of what the Bible teaches, you know, you're going somewhere else now, it sounds like. But again, it's the promise of God and the truth of God's word that makes the baptism valid, not some of the other rituals that kind of go along with the thing you needed to do it three times, that kind of a thing.
And so that's what I would say to you, Sister. I would say trust in the word and ultimately let that picture of baptism point you to Jesus. And I mean, that's what it should do. I mean, these signs and seals, these sacraments that God gives to us, baptism in the Lord's Supper, are meant to direct our gaze upward to the reality that they exhibit for us as the people of God, that God has washed away our sins, that he nourishes us day by day with the body and blood of Christ.
Don't just get caught up in the sign in and of itself. No, it's meant to direct our attention as signs do to the reality, to the body and blood of Jesus, to the fact that, you know, his blood washes away our sins. And so I would say just rest in that and receive that and walk in that. And brothers and sisters, for those of you who are listening right now, and you've been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, you know, Martin Luther said, you know, we've got to remember our baptisms every day. The fact that we are the baptized, we have been washed by faith.
And as the baptized friends, God calls us to live as his redeemed people, rescued from slavery, followers of Jesus Christ. God bless you. God bless you. God bless you.
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