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Does Submitting to the Elders Mean We Have to Do Whatever They Say?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
August 4, 2022 1:30 pm

Does Submitting to the Elders Mean We Have to Do Whatever They Say?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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August 4, 2022 1:30 pm

Episode 1025 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. Is "the spirit of Christmas" something that is antithetical to the Christian faith? It seems very consumeristic to me.

2. Does God give us individualized instructions on life choices?

3. I've heard Hebrews 13:17 used over the years to justify an almost cult like obedience to a pastor. From what color shirts to wear to justifying questionable decisions. Does this verse really command use to blindly do as we are told?

4. Can a pastor require weeks of sinless behavior before taking communion?

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Core Guide - 5 Reasons Christmas Isn't a Pagan Holiday

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To the elders that our church mean we have to do whatever they say. That's just one of the questions will be answering on today's addition of core Christianity will hi, I'm Bill Meyer along with Pastor Israel Sanchez. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.

There's our phone number is 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites course you can always email us your question at questions at core, Christianity.com first up today let's go to Christian calling in from Arkansas Christian what your question for Pastor Israel. All it all that we all know all will be symbolic, but I found out real three you know I doubt that whatever being in spirit is not only is almost like where all dated by the shield of birds you buy Christian reality, the clothing present. Don't observe the throne of God and all that event because they do not hold the same thing. Christian thank you that question yeah I'm getting a lot of things that frustrate you frustrate me frustrate a lot of a lot of pastors that I know as well where you need you take this season. This time where oftentimes will say screw. This is about Jesus. In particular, this is about his incarnation. His is the incarnation of the son of God. The word coming to redeem us from our sins. And yet the reality is you talk to most people out there on the street and you know what they think of the holiday season when they think of Christmas there thinking about as you said that the presence Jesus has been maybe dethroned as you put it there by the consumerism and end things that your you're absolutely right are not honoring to the Lord now course you know giving gifts to each other the wrong with that. But what is central in our minds. The first thing I'll say is that under the new covenant need testing. We don't have holy days if you will, beyond the Lord's day the Christian Sabbath. We gather together on the first of the week for worship as Christians to celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ is conquered death once and for all throughout the history of the church and other been there been times and it really early on the celebration of the incarnation Christmas what everyone what will refer to it as was something that the Christians were doing. Focusing on this great event in redemptive history because the incarnation of Jesus Christ is central to our salvation. God united humanity to himself through the incarnation so that he might redeem it, that he might redeem us and that is something we should talk about and celebrate. The problem is often times we don't not during Christmas time and not throughout the year and so I happen to to like you know what you know it in December to focus on that the talk about the coming of the Lord Jesus to talk about the incarnation because I find that there are a lot of Christians were just confused about this is what we call Christology the doctrine of Christ in particular before didn't work and deeper into some theology but it's important for you guys to know good theology is that we grow in our our understanding of the Lord in our worship of him. What were talking about was called the hypostatic union that is the divine person, the eternal son of God. The word uniting humanity to himself in the incarnation, so that you have one divine person with two natures human and divine, so that he might redeem us and save us. This is this is central to the gospel, so we should talk about it.

We should just say let's get rid of it. We should we should prioritize that and and really think about you when we celebrate Christmas with our families is Jesus. The focus or are we just stressed out and and upset at each other and you and his family feuds that we can take a step back and say Lord help us to honor you and I know were a long way away from Christmas and so what I'll say is this is how it should with everything. We don't want anything in our lives to take the place of Christ. The centrality of his work for us and it can you think of that the parable of the soils that Jesus told resetting of the cares of wood with C that was choked up by the Thornton of the cares of the world. The desire for riches choked up the seed of the word so that it became unfruitful. We want that to happen to us.

Around Christmas time recently wanted to happen to us anytime and so we fix our eyes on Christ on his gospel and draw near to him by faith Christian appreciate your your question and may the Lord bless you, by the way, we have a great resource on this topic is called five reasons, Christmas is not a pagan holiday. It's one of our core guides you can find that by going to core Christianity.com/guides again.

Core, Christianity.com/guides look for five reasons. Christmas is not a pagan holiday go back to the phones.

Eric is on the line from Iowa Falls, Iowa. Eric what your question for Israel. Originally interview I heard.

It started told them to give a certain amount of money. And I've heard things like that for someone would say well, God told me to go there to help someone that's where it all meant this person to marry God actually like that not prayed before felt led to something under her tell me to do something that you talk about questions to practical one man because we hear that you hear that as a Christian you think.

Well, maybe I'm just not as connected to God as this other person is and you can begin to feel discouraged and you read the Bible and it seems like God was was talking the people you know Moses speaking directly to the apostles and and that's not your experience will let me just say to you that you're not alone. Eric ordinarily that's not how God leads us and and guides know sometimes in God's providence. Can we have this this sense that the Lord is really steering us in a in a particular direction.

Yeah, sure, and sometimes it can even be you know, in extraordinary ways of the Lord is providentially guiding us or just as a man. These these doors just seemed like a magically opened up in an I know it just has to be the Lord, but ordinarily he uses the wisdom of his word, the wisdom of others around us were encouraging us in in him to help guide us and so you have to have this category of wisdom in Scripture where I think we study the word and we grow in our understanding of the word in the understanding of God's will for our lives we talk about God's will, specifically were thinking about his revealed will you know what he says to us in his law what he calls us to. We want to we want to shape our lives around that following him, obeying him, serving him is a lot of times you know that there's there's decisions that are put before us and it's not like one is is right and the other one is wrong. It's just a matter of wisdom and so we have to study the Scriptures and pray and say God guide me whether that's through closing a door opening a door. Just giving me a sense of where it is that you want to be want me to be but but we shouldn't expect God is going to open the windows of heaven and say hey you're supposed to marry Sally not Jenny you're here, you know you I think. Again, we gotta get back to the wisdom of the word too often let me to say this, Eric. People are looking for some sort of feeling and and that feeling is the indication that God is leading them in a certain direction. I've even heard people say well I know this goes against God's word, but I really felt God giving me the freedom to do this. That's not what divine guidance looks like that you're being led by yourself. You being led by your feelings, not the word of God and so I would say ordinarily the way in which God leads us to think about decision-making is through the wisdom of his Word through the encouragement of others solid brothers and sisters in the Lord that we can go to for counsel. There's wisdom there in a multitude of counselors and then to just the providential circumstances of life us were praying is her saying, Lord, provide for this so that I might be able to do this and he opens those doors is okay got. Thank you. I praise you and and walk through those doors, confident of the Lord is leading you, but don't feel bad if you're not hearing a voice from heaven. Our having a vision, saying, you know, go here and not there.

Can God do that sure does he do that in extraordinary six circumstances maybe having a lot of people you know are just are just saying that I felt this way are just think God spoke to them, but in reality it is a feeling that they had. But God can do whatever he wants the enemies the Lord, but ordinarily he's gonna work through his word and through godly people in your life. And so Eric may God bless you may come for you.

May he give you wisdom and I hope that you as you continue to grow in your saying the Scriptures live a life of wisdom in the decisions that you make day by day, Eric. Thanks so much for your call for listing the core Christianity.

We really do appreciate you. If you have a question for us about the Bible or the Christian life. We would love to hear from your numbers 833 the court of course you can always email us at questions at core, Christianity.com want to tell you about a really cool new Bible study that we have available for you was actually one that a drill cowrote with this author or co-author Josh Maloney as they go through one of my favorite books in the New Testament, the book of Hebrews. Back when I was preaching through Hebrews is fun and the team here at core would always say whenever to answer the questions and we get a phone call and I was always going to the book of Hebrews because it's so rich and it does contain the answers to so many of the questions that we ask as Christians in particular. You were always talking on this broadcast about assurance.

How can I know that I belong to Jesus who is who are the covenant people got me so much of the book of Hebrews addresses these kinds of questions. As the author is calling a group of Christians were drifting there wandering away from Jesus calling them back to the gospel and to the once for all sacrifice of Jesus, which is sufficient to put away all of our sins. And that's something we only be called back to frankly every single day reminded of that great truth of the fact that our sins have been washed away and were called to live in the light of that great reality is I hope you get a hold of this Bible study to 10 week study through the book of Hebrews and I believe it will bless you and so it's yours overcook Ashanti.com for gift of $15 or more in all of our Bible studies are great for personal study, but you can also use them in small group for Sunday school format fact, if you're looking for a resource for something to use this fall in a Sunday school class or small group, you might want to consider this new Bible study on the book of Hebrews. Again, go to core Christianity.com/offers to learn more will. Here's an email that we received from one of our listeners earlier this week Rex over the weekend.

Josh says this I've heard Hebrews 1317 used over the years to justify almost cultlike obedience to a pastor from what color shirts to wear to justifying questionable decisions. Does this verse really command us to blindly do as we are told know it is not, it command you to blindly do as you are told.

If you're in a church where your pastor is saying you need to wear this color shirt. There is a huge issue say because he brought on by different church because he's stepping out of line. There Melanie just read the verse that you referenced Hebrews chapter 13 verse seven. Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. And then he goes on to say in verse 17/7, obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning for that would be of no advantage to you a couple of things I want to highlight here. I'm glad you brought this verse up to something that many people need to hear first when it comes to the authority of the church. We need to distinguish between what we call a ministerial authority and a magisterial authority that ministers of the gospel pastors like myself. We don't have the authority to make up rules for people we don't have that magisterial authority that God has that his word has over our lives, calling us to submission and faith as ministers of the word recalling people to submit to the word to the law of God. What God calls us to. As Christians that's the only authority that we have as we preach the gospel we call people to faith we call Christians to walk in accordance with what God's law says with God's word says and, in so far as people don't do that will then then I think there's this call to submit to obey specifically their but we do so is ministers. Is this ministerial authority serving God and his word and calling people to obedience to that and so when a pastor is making up rules for people saying well I know that doesn't say this in Scripture, but you have to dress this way. In particular, you know, we always have to wear red on Sunday.

Are you have to do this that or the other they're abusing their authority there there stepping outside of their authority and and that's a serious problem is something that the Protestant reformers actually had to address during the time of the Reformation because the issue was they were all these practices within the church that were not rooted in Scripture and people felt bound to these things into their consciences were bound to these things and and it was it was a huge addition to the call back to the word of God and back to submission to the authority of God's word and and and pastors as ministers of the word of God calling people to that and so that's where were called to obey and to submit no here's there's the other thing I wanted to say I really can't point my life when I was in college I believe where I would read verses like this. I just thought I don't have anyone over me to whom I am account but I don't have anyone is watching over my soul. Yeah, I've got Christian friends and Christian community and will talk about the Bible and even talk about theology, but I'm not a member of a local church accountable to the elders there to the to the ministry that's taking place or that guy go to churches when I feel like it, you know, sometimes here are there but really being connected to a local church. There are a lot of people maybe you're one of maybe one of these people you profess faith in Christ. But if if I asked you who's keeping watch over your soul who the elders to whom your accountable you wouldn't be able to say it would be with anybody because you're not a member of the church are not really plugged in anywhere. I just why don't you note this, the New Testament assumes it as.

As these letters are being written. There's the assumption that Christians are plugged into churches where they're being cared for spiritually speaking, where where something like this makes sense. It's coherent. You know he's these writings and obey your leaders and submit to them and their other people in my life who were calling me to obey God's word to follow him, for they are keeping watch over your soul's friends we need that in the Christian life. We need people who are keeping watch over our souls.

Why because the Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation.

First Corinthians chapter 12.

Write each of us is a is a part of the body, a member of the body, but none of us individually are the whole body were were were part of the body called to grow together in the faith under the ministry of the word, and so I want to I want to say that because I think it's it's so important. We want to be in good churches were that the ministers understand the the extent the scope of their authority is not to command us to do things that aren't written in Scripture to give us laws that God is not given to us is to call us to follow Jesus and to obey his word and to set that example for us as pastors and elders and so I hope that you have that and and as I said if if you're in a church where that's not happening where actually there is this heavy-handed rule and all sorts of new laws being invented on on behalf of God.

Ouch. I was a run from that that's that's legalism get into place with the gospel of Christ is exalted in the word of God is respected now it really your accountable to your elder board.

What if they told you what shirt to wear like what they said where a Hawaiian shirt when you're preaching on Sunday my elder board said where Hawaiian sure I would say is you guys where you guys are gonna buy it. If you want, where you guys better by and now I'm just joking. Thankfully I don't think that the elders that I serve alongside of really wonderful men would ever say how you need to wear this them. And if if I was really dress and kinda scrappy. They might say, you need to up your game, but by now Emmett. What a blessing it is to serve alongside others who love Jesus want to serve his church and so with great score Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez.

Let's go back to the phones we have Adrian on the line from St. Louis, Missouri Adrian what your question for a drill back in human I'm doing well how are you all are popular proto-last week about a younger to her trying to choose between Christianity and the Mormon so forgive update on all him chose Christianity, man, praise God. Now Thank you for your prayers. With that, but I do have a question that he asked me the reason why he chose the right spirit. They asked him to write sure that before you baptize the lecture that he declared two weeks will clearly no alcohol, no drug like that and may not what you got what I think about that often. Well basketball you know our children become as we all know, I'm really trying hard. Scripture that I share with them about that.

Well you know it's interesting you bring this up and say praise God, man, I was am so grateful to hear that that he's he's hopefully getting it plugged into a solid Christian church and we want to pray for him. Certainly this today but but it was interesting you with the previous question that we just got on on the air this this idea of you know making up rules for people to follow to obey and sing somebody had before you get baptizing up for two weeks of his assertive you like, why, why do we want to months went to years or two days every two weeks yet. Make sure you don't drink any alcohol because we know that the Bible says that's a sin to drink, which it doesn't, FYI, and so that is adding to the law of God, and that's a problem that's abrupt, so I think just be able to say, look, what's what you saw there was rules and regulations not rooted in Scripture people calling you to do something that you knew wasn't right as it were.

You can put your finger on it but but it's they don't have the authority to say things that are in God's word and when churches do that you got you got all sorts of of problems and I think that your you're onto something right because we think about coming before the Lord in baptism were coming by faith to experience his grace in our lives that cleansing which baptism is is a picture of our our union with Christ in his death and resurrection through faith that he's the one who washes our sins away. So to say to somebody hey you need to cleanse yourself first and make sure your you're cleansed first for two weeks and then you can come forward and Jesus will accept you know there's there's every that is the just muddies the waters of baptism and so I would say that that one again. Praise God that he's getting plugged into a good church and to be encouragement for him would be look if there are sins in your life. Your call to repentance. Jesus calls you to follow him if if you're doing things that you know are contrary to his word like like doing drugs and and being consumed with alcohol.

Maybe this is an there's an issue. Alcoholism well look, this is a real struggle. But Jesus invites you to turn to him and experience his grace and his forgiveness. Any offers to you the promises of his gospel even as you limp along in life, even as you struggle and as you turn away from these things and say Jesus help me, help me to follow you to obey you in your laying hold of Jesus by faith through his word, the promises he gives in places like baptism, no not on the basis of God's word that he receives. You none of us. None of us can perfectly cleanse ourselves to the point work where we deserve to be in God's presence is in dip indwelling sin still clings to us and so we we come to God broken and even not even our best works are still stained with the remnants of of sin with impure motives, impure desires and yet God receives them through Christ and welcomes us and cleanses us, so I hope that your friend can experience the grace of the gospel in a powerful way and and that cleansing that he needs Buses pray for this young man that was thinking about becoming Mormon, LDS, and has decided he wants to want to stick with the Christian church father I pray for this young man Lord, would you to a mighty work of redemption in his life. Would you bless him what you give them a deep understanding of your gospel and would you be with Adrian giving him wisdom as he continues to minister to this man. Lord blesses efforts by the grace of your spirit in Jesus name, amen. Thanks for listening to core Christianity request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us at core, Christianity.com and click on offers and the menu 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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