What does Jesus mean when he says, Do not throw your pearls before pigs? 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. 833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. Also, you can watch Adriel right now live on YouTube and see his very attractive turquoise shirt today and send him a message that way.
You can also email us anytime at questions at corechristianity.com. By the way, Adriel, I really do like the shirt. Thanks, Bill. Next time you're out, I'll give it to you if you'd like. Oh, that's so kind of you. All right, well, let's go to an email question that came in from one of our listeners.
This is from Ty. Ty says, I've heard skeptics say that Christianity is completely false, partly because it creates made up laws that when broken, can't be repaid by works, but have to be repaid by believing in a savior. They say this is very convenient and just create psychological problems for people who struggle with guilt and shame. I'm not sure how to answer these types of challenges.
What do you think? Ty, some years ago, I got into a conversation with a family member who is a therapist, and they asked me, what do you say to people in your church? They're coming to you, and they're just struggling with guilt because you have all these rules in Christianity and your religion.
They're crushed by the fact that they don't do the things that they want to do. She sort of had this sense of or this understanding of the law and the fact that we fall short of keeping God's law. They said to me, in what I do, oftentimes in therapy, I try to help people understand that the decisions that they made were what they were essentially destined to do, considering all the circumstances. They don't need to feel bad for the things that they've done, so sort of minimizing that sense of shame, that sense of guilt by justifying it.
That's one approach, but I don't think that that's the right approach per se. The reason that's not the right approach is because it really doesn't deal with guilt. It doesn't deal with what we call sin. The beautiful thing about the Christian faith is we come to the lawgiver, God.
It's not just these subjective rules. This is the natural law written on everybody's heart. We all have this sense of God deep down inside of us. Typically what we do, Paul says this in Romans 1, is we suppress that sense of God. We sin. We fall short of the glory of God.
If there's no gospel, then there is no hope. People are just crushed by guilt and shame. They are forced to minimize their failures, their sins, as a way of escaping that sense of shame.
But we have something far better. We have a gracious God in heaven who, when we go to him confessing our sins, says, You are forgiven through the blood of my Son Jesus. We don't have to justify our sins or make excuses for our sins.
We can't. Not before a holy God. We go to God, and he justifies us, sinners, by faith. I would just say to this friend, Ty, this skeptic, Christianity offers us the best news on planet earth that there is hope for failures, that we don't have to minimize our sins or downplay them, pretend like they don't exist. But those things that we're guilty of, those things that frustrate us, how could I have done that? And we all have those kinds of things in our lives, don't we? Well, we don't pretend like they don't exist. We go to God, who is merciful, through his Son Jesus, and we receive his grace and mercy, the objective forgiveness of our sins.
And so that's what I would focus on. Focus on the gospel, Ty, in these conversations with skeptics, and may the Lord bless you as you do. That's what the good news of the gospel is all about. So thanks for that, 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, here's our phone number, 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Ralph calling in from Long Island, New York. Ralph, what's your question for Adriel? Hello, Pastor Adriel. Hey Ralph, how you doing?
I'm doing alright, sir. So my question is in Amos 8, verses 11 and 12. I'll just read the last part of 12. It says, They will go to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, but they will not find it. So, can we use these portions of Scripture to date? I believe the true remnant, the true believers, we want to hear the true word of God, but I think we are living in the beginning of birth pains.
I'm sorry, I'm trying to put in a question. Can we use this, or was this, to His people, Israel? Yeah, the proper application of these words here coming from the minor prophets, from Amos the prophet, is coming to Israel, and God is threatening judgment.
And the kind of judgment that's threatened here is something that can happen to, I think, anyone. But specifically here, he's addressing his rebellious people. In verse 11, he says, Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.
They shall wander from sea to sea and from north to east. They shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it. And this is something that we see throughout the Bible, isn't it? People who continually reject the word of God close their ears to it, turning away from the Lord.
Sometimes there comes a point where, okay, the doors are shut. This is why the author to the Hebrews says, in Hebrews chapters three and four, that we have to be very careful that we don't have an evil, unbelieving heart in departing from the true and the living God, that we take heed to his word. If we hear the Lord speaking to us through his word, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we receive that word by faith. And so the judgment here is on Israel because of their continual rejection of God, of his law, of right worship.
He's saying, okay, fine. I'm going to let you have it your way. Now, I just want to say, because I know that there are a lot of people who, I mean, they're just terrified. They think, boy, I disobeyed God's word.
I failed in this area again and again and again. Is God going to shut the doors on me? Well, no, that's not what I'm talking about specifically. I'm talking about a conscious unbelief, rejection of the law of God, of the word of God, and a warning here that's associated with that. God's saying, look, I'm going to give you over to what you've chosen. But for those of you who are gripped by your sin, you know every day we sin against the Lord in thought, word, and in deed, and you come to him longing to hear his voice, as you said, Ralph, longing to have his grace.
Know that the Lord receives you when you come to him by faith, when you open up the scriptures, and pray that the Lord would give you understanding that he would, by his Spirit, speak through his word to build you up and to build up his church. God bless. Ralph, thanks so much for your call and for listening to Core Christianity.
We really do appreciate you. By the way, if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can always email us. Here's our email address. It's questionsatcorechristianity.com. That's questionsatcorechristianity.com. We also want to tell you about some really cool Bible studies that we have available to you. These would be perfect for summertime reading or maybe even for Bible study Sunday school classes this coming fall. Yes, it's always a good time to study the Bible, and we've got all sorts of resources to help you do that, whether you're newer to the Christian faith and you're just beginning to study the Word of God, or you have been studying God's Word for a while and you want to dive into some books that you haven't spent time studying, like the Book of Revelation or the Book of Hebrews. We have several different Bible studies, 10-week studies that you can go through on your own or with a group of friends, maybe some friends from your church, studies like How to Read the Bible or Core 101, a study through the Gospel of John. I think those would be some really good introductory studies if you're just getting into Bible study, and then studies through the Book of Revelation, Ruth, Hebrews to tackle some of the more difficult books of the Bible as well. So get ahold of these studies for yourself or for friends that you think would benefit from them, and you can get those studies over at corechristianity.com, and they're yours for a gift of $15 or more. By the way, we also make discounts available for a larger order, so again, if you want to get one for a small group or Sunday school class this fall, great opportunity to get some wonderful curriculum that will help you grow in your faith.
You can find those by going to corechristianity.com forward slash studies, again corechristianity.com forward slash studies and look for our many great Bible studies. Well, let's go to an email that came in from one of our listeners. This one is from Cheryl Adriel, and she says this. Jesus says, Don't throw pearls to the swine. What does this mean exactly, and what does it look like in the Christian's life? Yeah, thank you for that question, and the verse that you're referring to comes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 7, verse 6.
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. When we're thinking about that which is holy, especially in the context here, the world that Jesus lived in, that time specifically, the holy things were the things that belonged to the worship of God. You think of the holy food, the bread there in the temple, or the sacrificial offerings, these holy meals that the people of God participated in. What could you imagine taking the food from the altar or the bread of the presence there on the table in the sanctuary? Could you imagine taking that holy thing that had been consecrated, set apart for the worship of God, and throwing it to the dogs outside, treating it as scraps? Well, no, that would be crazy.
Similarly, what would you do? Think about having precious pearls, jewelry, the most precious thing that you could have, if you will, and casting it to the swine, casting it to the pigs. That just doesn't make any sense.
That's foolish. Similarly, when we think about the teaching of the holy gospel, and that's what I would say the treasure here is, that which is holy. It's the teaching of the gospel. It's God's word. Jesus is saying, don't just cast that out to anyone. There are some people who are going to reject it, who are going to trample it and turn to attack you.
I think there needs to be some wisdom, some discernment when we think about the word of God, this gift that God has given to us, this great treasure, these great pearls, if you will, the pearl of the gospel, and not just casting it out to those who are going to ridicule it and mock it and reject it. I think all of us have been in conversations with people. We're trying to share the faith. Sometimes we'll have conversations with people that are open, maybe not hostile, but willing at least to listen. Lord willing, God opens their hearts to receive the grace of the gospel. There are other times, and maybe this has happened to you, you get in a conversation with somebody, and you realize, this person just is not interested in talking at all and hearing anything that I have to say.
They just want to argue with me. They just want to fight and ridicule and mock Christ and his gospel. Well, there comes a time where we say, okay, I'm wasting my time here, and God is not being honored. Pray for that person, but don't continue to cast your pearls before swine.
I think that's the application here. I appreciate your question getting into Jesus' Sermon on the Mount there. God bless. You've talked about this before, Adriel, maybe when we're dealing with someone who's a really vociferous atheist or a Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness, and they just don't want to hear the truth.
It's like, how much time do you spend, how much effort do you put into it, or do you just move on? The tough thing is we do believe that God, by the grace of his Spirit, can open anyone's heart, and we pray for that. I would say you spend your time praying, maybe more than anything else, that the Lord would soften the hearts of the people that you get to share with. Boy, we should also be praying that the Lord would give us opportunities, open doors for the gospel. What a wonderful thing that is, but again, we want to be discerning. If it's a situation where we're met by nothing but hostility, and God is being mocked, and his word is being mocked, and it's very clear that this person actually doesn't want anything to do with the great pearl of the gospel, then I think we say, okay, wipe the dust off your feet like Jesus says in the gospel, and say, okay, I'll take a step back if that's what you want.
Pray for that person, but continue to share and to pursue opportunities to get the word of God out, and so be discerning. Amen. This is CORE Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Our phone lines are still open. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we'll be taking calls for about the next seven minutes or so, so you can jump on the phone right now with your question. 833-THE-CORE is our number.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Susan calling in from Tennessee. Susan, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?
Hello, Pastor Adriel. I really enjoy listening to you just so well versed in handling Scripture. My question is, when Jesus met the maniac, and then he sent the demons, however many they were, a legion, into the herd of swine, the swine died when they were drowned, but what happened to all the demons that were sent? Because they're spirits, so what happened to them?
That's a great question. The account that I'm looking at is in Matthew 8. I'm going to begin reading in verse 28. When he came to the other side to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him coming out of the tomb so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, What have you to do with us, O son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the time? Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them, and the demons begged Jesus, saying, If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs. And he said to them, Go. So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
A really powerful story here about conversion, about the power of our Lord Jesus here in delivering this demon-possessed person, these people. But what happened to the demons? First, it's interesting that he cast them into these pigs.
Pigs, of course, are unclean animals. They're in the Old Testament or the Old Covenant, so it's almost fitting that they go into these pigs, and then they are drowned in the sea. Now, does that mean that they were eliminated, that they ceased to exist?
No, Susan, because they're spirits. So we don't know from this place specifically where they went. We know that they left this individual, these men that are described here in Matthew 8, verse 28, that they were delivered by Jesus so that they've been healed.
But we don't know. Scripture doesn't tell us exactly where these unclean spirits went, except, I think, to emphasize, the focus is not now they're out terrorizing other people, it's that Jesus has dealt with them in this definitive way. So there's this, I think, this judgment that's brought upon them here. Of course, when they see him, they cry out, you know, what have you to do with us, O Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the time? So they know who Jesus is. They know his authority. They know that he has the ability to torment them, and yet he casts them out and then into the sea. I've heard some people say, and I kind of like this, it's this picture of cleansing, even through baptism. We as believers in Jesus Christ, we come to him, we're redeemed, delivered by faith, go through the waters of baptism where our sins, our uncleanness is drowned, if you will, and removed by faith in Jesus Christ.
So I've heard some people make that application, which again, I think, is kind of a neat application, but we're not told specifically, Susan, where the demons went, only that the man was delivered. God bless. Are you saying that bacon is demonic? No, Jesus has cleansed the pigs. We live under the new covenant bill, and so we're really thankful for many of the gifts that God gives us, mainly the forgiveness of sins and the filling of the Holy Spirit.
But there are other great gifts too, like BLTs, and so we're thankful for those as well. Okay, this is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go back to the phones and let's see, we've got Bill on the line from Missouri. Bill, what's your question for Adriel?
Adriel, thank you for taking the call. I hear four terms nowadays used by pastors almost interchangeably. Those terms are conscience, heart, spirit, soul.
Question, will you help me sort through these? Yeah, well, I mean, some people really distinguish sharply between the soul and the spirit. I think in the New Testament, those words are used interchangeably. We are, as human persons, created in the image of God, made up of body and soul. And sometimes, an individual, the whole person is referred to as a soul or a spirit. You see this especially in places like the book of Hebrews in Hebrews chapter 12, for example, the author of the Hebrews sees the spirits of the righteous made perfect. You have the souls of the martyrs underneath the altar in the book of Revelation. So I think that the words soul and spirit are and can be used interchangeably.
Other people will distinguish more sharply between those two, but I don't necessarily. And then in terms of conscience, that is something that we see in a word that we do find in Scripture. And I think it's related to the idea of heart or spirit.
Oftentimes, when it's used, it's used with this sense of understanding or discerning between right and wrong, a sense of conviction. Paul early on in the book of Romans talks about the fact that even though Gentiles don't have the law of God, they have this sort of natural law that's written on their hearts. And their conscience accuses them or excuses them based on how they respond to that natural law, that general revelation, that sense of God that we all have as I mentioned earlier.
And so I think there's some overlap between these words, but we wouldn't want to use them all interchangeably except for maybe heart and spirit. And maybe the big takeaway is that there's more to us than meets the eye. We're not just a big bag of bones and flesh. No, we have souls and this sense of God. There's a spiritual component to man, if you will. And so that's something that we see throughout the Scripture.
And so we're not just these material beings, if you will, but spiritual beings as well. Thanks for your question. God bless. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We do receive voicemails here and you can call us anytime 24 hours a day with your question at 833-THE-CORE.
Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Jerry. My question is, as it says in John, the last part of 13, the first part of 14, and Jesus tells the disciples, where I am going, you can't come. Later, you will. But when I come back, I will take you to be with me where I am. So my question is, they died over 2000 years ago.
Are they asleep or are they with Jesus right now? Thank you. I appreciate if you would answer that. Thank you.
Thank you for that question. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness and they immediately pass into glory. Their bodies go down into the ground waiting for the resurrection of the dead the final day, but they're with the Lord in the Spirit, if you will. We're gathered together with the Lord. To be absent from the body, Paul said in 2 Corinthians, is to be present with the Lord.
I love another passage that makes this absolutely clear. It's what the apostle Paul says in the book of Philippians, in Philippians 1, where he's talking about his desire to depart and be with Christ. He's referring to his death. He sees his death coming soon and he's writing to the Philippians. He knows he's going to die soon, but he's going back and forth between what would be better, to depart and be with Jesus or to stay and to help the church, in particular the Philippian church. He says, if I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me, yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. I don't think he's talking about just a soul sleep there, not being conscious and waiting for the resurrection of the dead for thousands of years as he takes this really long nap. No, he's in the presence of the Lord. That's exactly what we see in places like Hebrews 12, where the author of the Hebrews paints this picture of what's happening in heaven.
You know who's there? The departed saints, the spirits of the righteous made perfect, gathered around the throne of God, worshiping God. Friends, that's the great hope that we have through Jesus Christ, through his life, death, and resurrection from the dead, that we are united to him by faith, so that we have the hope of the resurrection in the future, on the last day when God judges the whole world, but we know also that the moment we die, the moment our souls leave our bodies, if you will, that they enter into the presence of the Lord, and that they are perfected in holiness. And we worship the Lord together with our loved ones in Christ who have gone to be with him. What a hope we have, and again, we have that hope solely through what Jesus has done for us, his blood on the cross to forgive our sins. 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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