What does it look like to put God first in your life? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity.
Well, hi there and happy Friday. I'm Bill Meyer along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question. Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, you can also post your question on one of our social media sites. In fact, we have a YouTube channel and you can watch Adriel right now live in the studio and send him your question that way. And of course, you can always email us with your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners.
This is Veola. Hi. Thank you for your ministry. It's been such a blessing. My question is, what does it literally look like to put God first in all aspects of your life? Thank you so much. Bye.
Hmm. What does it literally look like to put God first in all aspects of your life? I like the way you worded that question. Of course, as followers of Jesus Christ, I think this is what we aim for. We want to put the Lord first in our lives and to follow him in all things. The way you worded that question reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 6. In the context of pursuing God, not being anxious about the things of this world, he says the Gentile nations, they're always worried about what they're going to eat, what they're going to drink, what they're going to put on. They're so consumed with the earthly affairs that they don't focus on the Lord.
They have no time for God. Jesus says to his disciples and to those who are listening to him there in his Sermon on the Mount, O you of little faith, do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or what shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. I think in one sense what we could say is seeking God first means putting the Lord and the things of the Lord before everything else in the sense that we're not so consumed and weighed down by the cares of the world. You think also of the parable of the sower that Jesus told. You know how those cares of the world can sometimes choke the seed of God's word out so that it becomes unfruitful. We're not allowing the cares of the world to consume our mind.
It's not that they're not important and not that we don't order our lives and our affairs in the way that they should be ordered. It's just saying that look, for me, the priority is the glory of God in all that I do in the way that I work, in the way that I treat others, in the way that I worship, in everything that I do, even my diet. Oftentimes we compartmentalize the spiritual life and my life for the rest of the week outside of Sunday, but everything that we do really should be done, whether we eat or drink, Paul says, to the glory of God. The decisions that we make, we should ask ourselves the question, the end of this decision, is it leading me closer to Christ, to serving his people, to good works, to the glory of God, or is it not?
Is it drawing me away from the Lord? I think as we think about our lives in that way and as we seek to order our lives in that way as well, we're doing exactly what you're asking about. How do we put God first in everything?
Well, we focus on him. In all our ways, we're acknowledging him, as we're told in the book of Proverbs. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will direct your path. And so may God help each of us to do that, to seek him daily. You think of how Jesus taught us to pray every day, give us this day our daily bread, to seek him daily and to rely upon the grace that he gives and to pursue his honor in all that we do.
May God help you to do that. That's some really great counsel, and I think a lot of it would come down to decision-making. As we make decisions on a daily basis, whether those be small decisions or big decisions, we consider, is this what God would have me do?
Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes I think when we think about decision-making in the Christian life, we're looking for some sort of window to open in heaven and God to say, okay, I want you to do this, not this. But this really highlights, I think, Bill, the importance of God's word. It's so important for us as Christians, as believers in Christ, to be rooted in the scriptures. So that as we're thinking about those decisions, those everyday decisions, they're shaped by the wisdom that God gives us in his word on the priority of faith and our relationship with Jesus Christ. And so if you're going to do this, if you're going to live a life that's honoring to God in all respects, putting him first, you have to be grounded in the scriptures. And so let me just encourage you to do that. I mean, this is the picture that you get of the wise and righteous man in Psalm chapter one, who meditates daily on God's law. That's what we need. We need to meditate on the scriptures so that we might honor the Lord in all that we do.
Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open right now if you have a question about the Bible, Christian life, doctrine, theology, maybe something that's going on in your life where you're finding your Christian walk is challenging because of what's happening in our culture, maybe in your workplace or at your school.
We would be happy to take your question as well. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Now we do have a new Bible study we want to tell you about today. It's actually one that Adriel wrote along with his co-author Josh Maloney. Yeah, this is a 10-week Bible study on the book of Hebrews. Hebrews is in the New Testament. And the book of Hebrews is a letter to a church that was being drawn away. They were drifting from Jesus, from the truth of the gospel.
Actually, they were going back to the ceremonies of the Old Testament, the types and shadows of the Old Covenant. And the author of the Hebrews comes to them and he gives them these stern warnings, calling them back to faith in Christ. And one of the refrains in the book of Hebrews is that Christ is better. He's better than the angels. He's better than the Mosaic Covenant and the Levitical priesthood.
He's better than all of those things. I mean, that's really one of the themes throughout the book of Hebrews. And so if you want to set your eyes on Jesus for 10 weeks studying this resource, do it on your own or with a group of people. I hope you can get a hold of this Bible study.
It's yours for a gift of $15 or more. And I know that you'll find it to be encouraging. This really is a fantastic study and we'd love to get it into your hands.
Here is the way to find it. Go to corechristianity.com forward slash studies. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash studies.
Look for the new Bible study on the book of Hebrews. Well, we do receive emails here at Core Christianity, and here's one from one of our listeners named Christy. She says, a pastor at a non-denominational church that I used to attend preached an entire sermon on why Calvinism was false doctrine. It in part led me to leave that church, as I felt as Christians were called to be unified and not create division. The church we attend now definitely has Calvinist leanings, but I feel we're being better shepherded here, and they display a care and concern for their congregation that was missing at the other church. My question is, is Calvinism false doctrine?
Where do we draw the line between being unified as Christians and calling out false doctrines? Christy, there are quite a few questions there, but let me just begin by saying I'm so grateful that you feel that you found a place where you're going to be cared for. One of the marks of the church we often say, this is how you can determine whether a church is a good church and even a true church is, is there a care for the people there?
Are they being shepherded? It sounds like that's precisely what you found, and so God bless you. The first mark of the church, though, is the pure preaching of the word of God. That is a faithfulness to scripture, a faithfulness to the word of God. That's the main thing we're looking for when we're looking for a church.
Programs are important, not the main thing, not even close. The music style, we're drawn to one or another, maybe more, but the reality is the most important thing is the doctrine, what is being taught. Your question is, is Calvinism false doctrine? Well, look, ultimately, we don't want to associate primarily with any individual. I think even theologians like John Calvin would have said, no, thanks.
I'm not trying to start a movement after myself. We want to point people back to the scriptures. The question is, when you have theological movements like this, are they faithful to the word of God? One of the things that I appreciate about Calvinism is the fact that there's a high emphasis on the sovereignty of God and the grace of God in salvation. That, indeed, is something that you are going to see throughout the pages of the Bible, especially the Pauline epistles, but really everywhere, starting in the book of Genesis all the way through the book of Revelation.
I think that's what you're looking for. Of course, there have been Christians throughout the history of the church who have disagreed on matters related to divine sovereignty and human responsibility. I don't think this is something that would say, well, if somebody isn't a Calvinist or is a Calvinist, well, they're not a Christian. They're not saved.
They don't belong to Jesus, that kind of a thing. No, we can have debates about this. But I would say doctrine which maximizes the sovereignty and grace of God that has a high view of sin and human depravity, that's really what we need to recover. In a society today where oftentimes we just say, well, sin is no big deal. It's a blunder. It's a mistake.
Well, no, that's an issue. That's not what the Bible teaches. We need to recover the biblical vision that says, look, sin is terrible.
It's worse than we could even imagine, but the grace of God is greater than we could even imagine as well. That's what we celebrate. We celebrate the grace of God. We boast in the cross of Jesus Christ and the sovereignty of God in delivering his people. I would just encourage you, man, get plugged into that church. It sounds like they're faithfully teaching the word of God.
It also sounds like you're being cared for and shepherded there. And I think that that's so important to have. And so may the Lord bless you while you're there and be with you. Thanks for your email. Hey, Christy, thanks so much for being a regular listener to Core Christianity. We really do appreciate you. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core and you can call us 24 hours a day and leave us your voicemail. We try to review our voicemails each day. And here's one we received from one of our listeners earlier this week. Good morning, Pastor Sanchez.
I'm a little confused. I want to refer to Saul in 1 Samuel 15, 24 through 26, and David in 2 Samuel 12, 13. Whereas in 1 Samuel, Saul said, I have sinned against the Lord, but yet the Lord did not forgive him. Samuel the prophet told him the Lord has not. He's taken away your kingdom. And then over in 2 Samuel, David repents his will and says, I have sinned against the Lord, but Nathan the prophet tells him the Lord has put away thy sin. So the Lord forgives David, but he doesn't forgive Saul.
Can you shine some light on that for us? Thank you. God bless you. Yeah.
Thank you, sister. I mean, is there, what, I mean, what gives? It seems like you hear you have two kings, Saul, the first king, and David, who came after him. Both of them sin, and both of them sin in pretty serious ways, grievous ways. I mean, David committed adultery and murder. And Saul here, right, in 1 Samuel, chapter 15, is not obeying the commandment of the Lord. God commanded him to go and to kill all of the Amalekites, and he doesn't listen.
He brings back the king of the Amalekites, and Samuel's very upset because he's disobeyed the word of the Lord. And so, but in both situations where there's, there's, you know, a call to repentance, if you will, it seems like Saul recognizes that he sinned, and yet still the kingdom was taken away from him. And then with David, David sins in this grievous way, but the kingdom is not taken away from him. Well, in one sense, we can say it's God's prerogative.
God can do whatever he wants. But what I, what I will stress is that when you look at 1 Samuel, and you think about the life of King Saul, what you seem to find is this pattern of consistent unbelief, lack of repentance, turning away from the Lord further and further. I wonder if we could even call Saul's repentance a true repentance.
I mean, it seems like there's remorse, right? I mean, he thinks he's really following God, but he isn't. He's more upset about the fact that he's losing the kingdom, and then as time goes by, and as David begins to lay hold of that kingdom, as God promised to give to him, you know, Saul is just filled with rage. He tries to kill David, and at the end of Saul's life, he's visiting a witch, essentially. I mean, he's totally turned away from the Lord. And so I don't think that what we see in Saul is true repentance. And I would say that that's one of the reasons why his life ended up the way that it did. I think, you know, sometimes people will read the story of Saul, and they'll think, oh man, I don't want that to happen to me. It seems like Saul lost everything through his sin.
I don't want that to be me. And then we say, look, there's always hope. If you believe in Jesus Christ, if you're sincere in your repentance, confessing your sins to God, God isn't going to abandon you.
He's not going to leave you high and dry. You can trust in his promise to forgive. But if we're coming to God, not in true repentance, but maybe just this sort of remorse, there's no faith in turning to Christ and turning away from our sins. But we're just upset that, you know, we got in trouble or we got caught or that we're bearing the consequences of our sinful behavior, which I think is what you see over and over again with Saul.
Well, then we can expect to experience the blessing and the goodness of God in our lives because we're not actually turning to God in Christ. And so I don't think that Saul did that. I think Saul, for all of these sort of external, you know, shows of repentance, he's continually going back to his rebellion, turning away from the Lord. And ultimately, God judges him because of it.
Whereas with David, I mean, you just read Psalm 51, for example, there is contrition, there is genuine repentance. There's this real sense of I've sinned and my sins deserve death. God, be merciful to me. Don't take your spirit away from me. And when we come to God like that, he hears our prayers and he receives us and he forgives us. And so you can be confident, sister, that when you go to the Lord like that, he hears you and he forgives you. He doesn't cast you away. God bless. Don't be a Saul.
That's what I take away from that. Thank you, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. And by the way, we're going to be recording a second episode of the Core today after our live episode finishes. So if you still have a question and weren't able to get through, you can call us for the next 35 minutes or so at 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Feel free to call us any time in the next 35 minutes. Let's go to Andrew from Grand Island, Nebraska.
Andrew, what's your question for Adriel? I wanted to know. I thought I was saved like a few years ago before the COVID and I came back. I had fear for my mother. I went back and I back slid like really hard and drinking and smoking and everything else. And I want to come back to the Lord, but I feel like I'm not.
I don't feel like it's coming back like I was like. I just seem like I'm thinking about the branches. You know, he took away the vine, the branches, and they weren't fruitful. And like that question right there, the one before me, Saul was anointed. But there is that like, once saved, always saved. You know, I'm thinking of that verse in Hebrews 6, the Enlightenment. And I can't remember that verse 6-4 or 4-6. But I'm just wondering, I really want to come back to breathing and coming back to Jesus and really giving my heart back. And just, Andrew, to follow up, so you want to come to the Lord, but are you are you afraid that you've sinned so much that he's just going to reject you, that he won't accept you?
It could be. Well, you know, as I said earlier on the broadcast, when we turn to the Lord in faith, he receives our prayers. No matter what we've done, you know, we come to him confessing our sins, he forgives us. Even when we've sinned in grievous ways, and we were talking about David, the other example in Scripture is Peter. While Jesus is being crucified three times, Peter denied him, cursing, saying, I don't even know the guy. And you think, boy, Christ is probably done with him. I mean, think about that. And then in Jesus's moment of need, Peter, his disciple who had seen him, had seen the miracles, who had experienced his grace, who had walked with him, you know, by the beach, denies him.
Well, boy, you're done. And yet what does Jesus do, Andrew, for Peter? He'd go to the end of John's Gospel, and Jesus is on the beach cooking breakfast for his disciples, and he invites Peter to come in, and he makes him breakfast, breakfast of fish and some food, and he says to Peter, Peter, do you love me more than these? He restored Peter. You know what's crazy is Peter, when Peter denied Jesus, it was due to cowardice, the fear of man, and that was something that Peter struggled with throughout his life, actually. In the book of Galatians, Paul has to rebuke Peter, he says, face to face.
Why? Because of this fear of man that Peter still had. There were certain Jews who didn't want to eat with the Gentiles, and so when the Gentiles would come around, Peter would leave.
He wouldn't be around anymore because he was a respecter of persons, because he was a man-fearer, if you will, and he needed to be rebuked. The reality is we're going to struggle with sin all of our lives. When we recognize our sin, when we confess it, you know, we experience the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
It sounds, Andrew, like you've experienced that conviction. And let me just say, that's the grace of the Holy Spirit in your life. Thank God that you can look at your life and say, yeah, no big deal. I'm just going to continue to live however I want. But you know, hey, there's things that I'm doing that grieve the Spirit of God. There are things that I'm doing that I know aren't right. And when you recognize that, I would say to you, brother, turn your eyes upon Jesus Christ. Turn away from those things and say, Lord, help me and forgive me. And when you do, he does receive you. It's not like you have to, you know, go and do penance first or, you know, be just transformed and everything, and then Jesus will accept you. No, you just go to God, falling down on your knees, and say, have mercy upon me, Jesus Christ. I'm a sinner.
And when you go to him in faith, again, I can tell you, as a minister of the gospel, on the basis of God's Holy Word, that he does indeed forgive all those who call upon his name. But don't take that for granted. Too many people do.
They think, oh, you know, God is gracious, so I'm just going to do my own thing and continue to live in this way. Don't do that, right? Because, you know, that's dangerous. That's turning away from them.
I mean, that's what Saul did. We were talking about that earlier. Turning away from the Lord, being presumptuous.
Don't be presumptuous. You've recognized me. You see something where it's like, God, I've not been serving you or walking in the way that you call me to walk.
I confess that to you. Help. And, Andrew, God will help.
Jesus is there for you to forgive you, but you can't do it alone. And so let me just ask you a follow-up question. Andrew, are you a part of a church? Do you have a church community where you can get accountability and encouragement? I kind of travel for my work, so I just go to whatever church or what town I'm in.
Okay. Well, one, I would say you need to prioritize church and Christian community. It's really easy when we're outside of that, when we're kind of off on our own trying to do the Christian life, to slip into things that we know aren't honoring to the Lord.
We don't have that accountability. We don't have that continual encouragement in the faith. And so you need that.
I don't know if that means for you changing your work schedule around or saying, hey, I can't travel on weekends anymore. I don't know even if that's possible for you, but I would just say you need to prioritize Christian community, and not just any community, but solid Christian community, where the Word of God is faithfully taught and where you can be encouraged so that when you have a struggle within, you can say, hey, pray for me, or you can go to your brothers in the faith and confess that and say, Lord, have mercy on me. And this is how God puts to death those sinful patterns in our lives that oftentimes quench the Spirit of God and give us this sense of, man, I don't feel the presence of the Lord in my life.
You need Christian community. You need to be rooted in the Word of God. And so continue to read the Scriptures, especially the promises of the Gospels, to meditate upon them, and to take God at His Word with His promises. You know, you mentioned Hebrews 6, and a lot of people will go there and say, I'm afraid that I've lost my salvation. There are these people who were enlightened, and then they sinned, and then it seems like the doors are closed for them. But the problem in the book of Hebrews, Andrew, it's really important that you understand this, is that these people were turning away from Christ altogether.
They were beginning to trust in their own works, in their own righteousness, in the sacrifices of the old covenant, if you will, to justify them before God. And the author of the Hebrews says, if you're doing that, you are hopeless. If you're trusting in anything apart from Jesus, yeah, you're in trouble. But here's what you can do. You can lay hold of Jesus, the once for all sacrifice, whose blood is sufficient to cleanse all your sins. And when you do that, you can rest assured that you're forgiven. And so, lay hold of Jesus and get into the community that you need to be in, brother. God bless. .
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