Does biblical contentment lead to complacency? 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. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.
Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes, so now is the time to jump on the phone. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. You can watch Adriel live in the studio on our YouTube channel and send him a message that way. And of course, you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com.
First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Mark. I was discipling a lady who was not Christian. She said she had a problem with the Bible because God gives the Ten Commandments that said, Thou shalt not kill. And then they went over the hill and he told the Israelites to kill thousands of people in the Promised Land, and she had a problem with that. And to be honest about it, I didn't have an answer, and I thought I'd ask and see how you would handle that question. Thank you.
Goodbye. Well, thank you for that question, Mark. The simple answer is that we would distinguish between murder, which is prohibited in the Ten Commandments, you know, the Sixth Commandment, you shall not murder, and then instances in life and society, whether it's through war or you think of capital punishment described in places like Romans chapter 13, or even under Israel's civil law, where God did allow for and even command instances where, in the Old Testament, as I said there with some of those wars that were taking place, God commanded, you know, the Israelites to cleanse the land of Canaan. It was a picture actually of God's judgment, of this intrusion of God's judgment, and God was judging them specifically because of their sin. He had given the Canaanites many, many years to repent, but they continued to rebel, doing heinous things, even sacrificing their own children. And so there's this judgment that's brought upon them, and God uses the Israelites to judge them justly. So we have to distinguish between murder, you know, you shall not murder, and then some of these other things that we see in scripture. It's not just a simple saying that, well, all killing, if you will, is bad and prohibited by God because you do have those instances.
Again, I think of the discussion on capital punishment in Romans chapter 13, where Paul talks about how the state civil officials carry the power of the sword in regard to bringing about justice and protecting against evil-doing in society. And so, you know, we have to dig deeper. I think a lot of times people approach the Bible very simplistically, and they just sort of see these things at a surface level and say, oh, there must be a contradiction there, when in reality there isn't. We want to dig a little bit deeper and see what the scriptures are saying. And so, Mark, I hope that helps you. God bless you, and how wonderful that you're having this conversation with this woman who isn't a believer. I pray that the Lord blesses your guys' conversations and ultimately that she comes to faith in Christ. You know, that's one of our goals here at Core Christianity is to help equip believers to have those difficult conversations when questions come up about the Bible or the Christian life, that you'll feel confident and able to respond to those questions. So, we'd also encourage you to check out the book Core Christianity by our founder, and you can find that at CoreChristianity.com. Well, the phone lines are open right now. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, give us a call. Here's the number, 833-THE-CORE.
And let's go to Julius from Oklahoma. Julius, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi, yeah, I just had a quick question. My wife and I were reading in Zechariah the other day, it's part of a study we were doing, and we came to the inn, and it kind of says at the end, it sounds like, well, all the nations go up, I guess at the end, to keep a feast. And I had never heard of this before, and a friend of mine said it was the Feast of Booths, or I forget exactly how, yes, the Feast of Booths.
And so I just wanted some clarification on that, because we don't know what to make of that, really. Okay, yeah, I think it looks like you're referring to Zechariah chapter 14, verse 19, this shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. Is that what you're talking about? Yes.
Okay. Well, so you have a series of visions in the book of Zechariah here, chapter 14, to focus on the coming day of the Lord. One thing that we do have repeated in the prophets, Julius, is that in the end, you know, when God's kingdom covers the whole earth, the nations of the world are going to flock to Jerusalem, to keep the feast as it were. Now, the Feast of Booths under the Old Covenant in the Old Testament was this picture of God's provision for his people while they were in the wilderness, camping out, thinking back to how God had provided for them. We're not bound by those particular feasts, you know, those feasts under the Old Covenant which are described and which Paul says in places like Colossians, I believe it's chapter two, right?
Don't let anybody judge you with regard to Sabbath or New Moon or feast, right? These things are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. And yet, we have to, you know, make sense of these passages in the prophets that do talk about the nations coming to Jerusalem. I think the way that we do that is realizing that the Jerusalem that's being spoken of, you see this in the book of Hebrews, you see this in Hebrews chapter 12 specifically, is the heavenly Jerusalem. Right now, the nations of the world, every time we gather together for worship on a Sunday, we're coming before the heavenly Jerusalem, the heavenly Mount Zion to keep the feast, to receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ by faith, to hear the word of God, the good news of the gospel proclaimed. And so we have to, sometimes this is referred to as the prophetic idiom, you know, reading these prophecies, these passages in the Old Testament that speak of future restoration or the nations flocking to Jerusalem. We have to understand them in light of the New Testament, the New Covenant, and how the apostles spoke of them. And certainly, again, when you look at places like the book of Hebrews, it becomes very clear that right now, today even I would say, the nations are flocking to the new Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem, which one day will descend from heaven to earth and renew and restore all things. You read about this at the very end of the book of Revelation. And of course, there are a lot of parallels between the book of Revelation and the book of Zechariah. And so just not getting too deep into the context there in Zechariah chapter 14, I do think that's the best way to read some of these texts in the prophets that we find. Want to let the clear passages of scripture interpret the less clear ones for us.
And so that's how I'd approach this question specifically. Thank you, Julius, for calling in. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. I want to tell you about some of our great Bible studies that we have available. These would be really neat to order now for personal reading this summer or maybe for a small group or a Sunday school class this fall. Yeah, Bill, if you appreciate the answers that you hear to questions that we get every single day here on the broadcast, then our Bible studies are the perfect resources for you. In these studies, we show you how to go deeper into the scriptures, opening different books of the Bible, whether that's the book of Hebrews or the book of Revelation, the book of Ruth. We have some studies through the Old Testament as well, and also some introductory studies, Core 101, for example, or a study through the Gospel of John. So there's really a study for everyone, whether you're newer to the Christian faith and just beginning to study the Bible, wanting to get a handle on some of the core Christian doctrines, or you've been studying for a long time and you're thinking, hey, I want to tackle a book like the book of Revelation, would love for you to get a hold of one of these studies. And all of them can be found at corechristianity.com forward slash studies for a donation of $15 or more.
We'd love to get those in your hands. And as we've mentioned before, if you want to order some for a Sunday school class or small group, we have them at bulk quantities at a discount. You can find all of our Bible studies at corechristianity.com forward slash studies. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash studies.
Of course, you can call us for any one of our resources at 833-THE-CORE. Well, let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners. This one came in from Charles. My question is this. We're supposed to be content in all situations, as far as I can tell, and I hope I have that interpretation correct. But some of the people who made the biggest changes in this world were the ones who were not happy in their situation. Martin Luther King, for example, he didn't like the way his people and he himself was treated, so he fought back. Everybody, including myself, who are making changes and have made the change, changes are those that were most unhappy.
So how do you explain it? I would just say that contentment doesn't necessarily mean complacency. We're called to be content in all circumstances, but that doesn't mean that we can't pursue to better our situation, to prayerfully use the means that God gives us and look for opportunities to change things. First, with regard to contentment, the text to go to is in Philippians 4, verse 10. This is the apostle Paul speaking to the church in Philippi, and he says, I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length you have received your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity, not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content.
I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ, through him who strengthens me. You know, a lot of people know that verse right there, Charles Philippians chapter 4, verse 13, I can do all things through him who strengthens me, but they don't know the context. The context is contentment in the midst of life's difficulties in Christ giving us strength, strength, grace, peace, even in the midst of those circumstances, and that is something that we're called to as believers, to cultivate that contentment, trusting in the Lord. But again, that doesn't mean we need to be complacent, and one passage of scripture that I would go to is, you know, there's a discussion that the apostle Paul has in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, and he says something very interesting.
In the context here, he's talking about in one sense just being settled with where you are in life. He says in verse 17, let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision, for neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God, each one should remain in the condition in which he was called.
Were you a bondservant when you were called? Do not be concerned about it, but, and listen to what he says here, if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. In other words, he's saying, don't just, hey, be content and accept, you know, that you're in this condition that's not the greatest.
No, he's saying avail yourself to the opportunities to change. And so I think we can say the same thing, you know, and we're grateful for those people who were not okay, especially with the terrible situations that surrounded them, felt the call of God oftentimes to pursue something better for themselves and for their neighbors. And so we should also cultivate contentment in our lives, trusting God wherever he has us in life, whatever season or stage we're in, while not being complacent, while pursuing the Lord and availing ourselves to the opportunities that he gives to us to make things better where we can. And so, Charles, thank you for your question.
Appreciate that question. May the Lord bless you. Just to follow up for you, Adriel, I'm guessing that would apply to the whole issue of biblical justice as well. Pursuing justice, not let someone say, hey, don't worry about it, just, you know, it's all about heaven someday and getting people to believe in Christ and then ignoring the fact that there are injustices in today's world.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and it's just that that specifically is a part of obedience to God's law. Sometimes what we call the second table of the law, you know, the law as it relates to my neighbors and pursuing that which is best for myself and for the people around me through, you know, faithfulness to God's love, God's law, which ultimately is manifested in love.
And so, yeah, absolutely, we can't be complacent in that regard, something we have to take very seriously and think about as Christians, how it is that we're engaging with the people around us, not just sort of sitting back and saying, oh, it is what it is, but Lord, where would you use me to be a blessing in the lives of the people around me to be a voice for justice, for that which is good and right and true in my home, in my community, and in society? And so I appreciate that you bring that up, Bill. Great counsel, thanks for that, Adriel.
This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Jennifer, who's calling in from Iowa. Jennifer, what's your question for Adriel?
Hi, thank you for taking my call. I was wondering if you could speak to the issue of the death penalty, and as believers, if we should support capital punishment, and then, you know, what if someone is wrongly convicted? Yeah, that's a, I mean, obviously a serious issue, isn't it, Jennifer? And under the Old Testament, you know, there were provisions in the law of God, because this is such a serious issue. So with regard to the death penalty, you know, for example, in Deuteronomy chapter 17, verse 6, I mean, there has to be eyewitness testimony, not just one eyewitness, but there have to be multiple eyewitnesses. And so, I mean, I think there's a principle here that we can glean from, right? Like there's the importance of watching out for things like false accusations, for making sure that the evidence is there.
I mean, now we have things like DNA evidence, but it's not as simple as, you know, is it something that we should be for or against? I think there are probably instances where it's carried out in a way that's not good, that's not just, that doesn't take into consideration, you know, some of these provisions that are made in Scripture, and where it's just, you know, people are executed or put to death without real justice, without a real court proceedings, those kinds of things. But it does seem to me like, I mean, it's very clear in the Old Testament, and then even in the New Testament, it talks about capital punishment. Earlier on the broadcast, I had mentioned Romans chapter 13, and Paul talking about how the minister of the state, if you will, these civil authorities, bear the sword, and they don't bear the sword in vain. He says, for he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on wrongdoers. Therefore, one must be in subjection, and therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath, but also for the sake of conscience. He goes on for, because of this, you also pay taxes for the authorities, and he's talking about these civil rulers who are under God's authority ultimately, for the authorities are ministers of God attending to this very thing. And so what we see is that, yeah, I mean, the state or civil government has the power of the sword, but they can use that power in ways that are good and right, and they can use that power in ways that aren't good and right, and I think we've seen examples of that in society.
And so it's something that we have to be careful with, and it's not just as simple as yes or no. We want to think about what God's law says, and in particular, the care that needs to be taken with something this serious. And so I appreciate your question, Jennifer, and those are a couple of the texts you might want to consult, Romans chapter 13, Deuteronomy chapter 17, also Numbers chapter 35. Those are some of the passages that talk about capital punishment under God's law in the Old Testament, and then in the state in Romans 13. Just a reminder here at Core Christianity, we have some great Bible studies available to you this summer, and they are on a wide variety of different topics and books of the Bible, and you can find those by going to corechristianity.com for a donation of $15 or more as you're preparing for maybe a fall Sunday school class or a small group.
This would be a great resource for you. Again, go to corechristianity.com to look for our Bible studies there. And let's go back to the phones. Bill is on the line from Missouri. Bill, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?
Hello, Adriel. First, I want to thank you for the work you're doing on there. Thank you, Bill. And then to get right to it, I wanted you to reflect again on the views you expressed very recently on air regarding communion. I'm quite familiar, I think not as much as you, but quite familiar with what the scriptures say, but that doesn't, your view you expressed, those do not, they're unrealistic in terms of the current situation we all find ourselves in, and particularly those of us who are seniors or with previous conditions where we don't feel that we can safely take part in our churches communion.
And what our church does is they allow for that by having these little sealed packaged things that one could pick up and then celebrate their communion alone if they have to. And I was just reminded also that the previous church I was a member of had a regular program of two elders always taking the communion to a shut-in who was unable to come to join the congregation on that Sunday. Bill, can I just, I'm assuming that currently are you not able to attend church? Are you shut-in right now?
I've just started back, but I'm self-isolated because of my age pretty much for the entire pandemic. Well Bill, thank you so much for your thoughtful question, and if you weren't listening to previous broadcasts, Bill is referring to a time on air where we were talking about the Lord's Supper, now he's talking about the importance of gathering together as the body of Christ to take communion. That is not something that we do individually on our own, because communion is a sign of the unity we have as the body of Christ, you know, the bread that we break. This is the one body that we're all a part of, and in the New Testament communion was always something that happened in the context of the church together, the family of God, the family meal, if you will, under the ministry of the word through the pastor.
But Bill, you bring up a great point. This has been hard for many people, and so are there ways to minister to brothers and sisters, a dear brother like you, Bill, in situations like this? And I think, yeah, I do actually really like the practice of, you know, the pastor and some elders and maybe others in the church visiting, going to the home of someone who's shut in and having a kind of mini service, if you will, where they're sharing the word of God, maybe even singing a hymn together as the church, and taking the Lord's Supper, administering the Lord's Supper, bringing the Lord's Supper to those who are shut in. And so I do think that there are ways, I mean, this is why church community, the body of Christ, is so important. And being in a church where you're known and where the elders, you know, know about your situation, can care for you and minister to you. And so I would be in favor of that, Bill. I'm not opposed to that, if it's done in that way. But I'm not a fan of just individuals on their own being totally isolated from the church community.
People don't even know where they're at, and maybe they're not reaching out, and these individuals saying, well, I just got to have to do it all on my own. That's not how God intended it to be. But I am grateful that, you know, in God's providence He's raised you up and that you're able to get back to church. I pray that the Lord blesses you, Bill. And I do just want to take a moment to pray for you right now and invite all of our listeners to pray for Bill as well as he gets back to church and continues to grow in the Lord.
Father, I thank you for Bill. I thank you for his heart, for his thoughtful question. I thank you, Jesus, that he loves your word and that he knows your word. And I pray that you would bless him and minister to him and to continue to strengthen his faith, especially as he gets back into church, Lord. I pray that you would keep him strong and healthy, that you would protect his body from disease, and Lord, that he would be blessed and that he would be able to be a blessing to others and for all those, Lord, who are shut in, who don't have Christian community. Jesus, thank you that you pursue us, that you pursue them. I pray, Lord, that you would help them to stay connected to their church and, Lord, that you would work in the lives of the leaders in those churches to pursue those shut-ins and to care for them, Jesus, even as you do.
Pray these things, gracious Father, in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
You know, Adriel, I love that. And I think it's a challenge for all of us in our churches to realize that oftentimes we do have church members. We have fellow congregants who are isolated in some way.
My wife and I work with the ministry or the organization Meals on Wheels to take meals to shut-ins and elderly people. And I think every church probably has some people like that, whether it's elderly or whether it's somebody who's maybe recovering from something. What a great opportunity for us to minister.
Absolutely. Let me just say, as a pastor in a local church, we got to work together, brothers and sisters. I mean, you know, the pastors and elders really, I think, have, you know, it's placed on them to reach out to those who are in need. But something we do all together is the body of Christ. So if there's people in your church that you haven't seen in a while, why don't you give them a phone call? Reach out to them and see how you might be able to minister to them and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. We are the body of Christ.
We get to serve each other and we praise God for that. Thanks and God bless. 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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