What does it mean that we can do all things through Christ? 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. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.
We've got this down. It's 833-THE-CORE, which is 833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. And of course, you can always email us your question at questions at corechristianity.com. Before we get to our calls today, I want to follow up on something we discussed yesterday. One of our listeners asked when it's appropriate to rebuke someone. And in your response, you cautioned about being careful not to use the world's methods when responding to those who might differ with us, let's say on political or cultural issues, particularly maybe on social media, which tends to happen a lot. And we received a lot of positive feedback on what you said. So for our listeners who missed yesterday's program, would you mind just kind of summarizing that?
Yeah. Well, one of my concerns is, and I think this should be a concern that every pastor has, you know, what are the ways in which the world is shaping the people in my church? And, you know, we oftentimes will think about, you know, the sexual ethic of the world or, you know, just some of the, you know, the obvious inequities that are out there creeping into the church.
But especially for churches that have, you know, conservative theology that we, you know, we hold fast to the teaching of the Bible, we believe the Bible is God's word. One of the issues that I see, one of my concerns is that the ways of the world in terms of how the world communicates with, you know, and when I think I'm using the world here kind of loosely to refer to non-Christians, non-Christians who are not in the church, not a part of the church, they're the world in terms of the world system. And what we see around us today oftentimes is people fighting, you know, just sort of mudslinging in communication, tearing each other down, painting your opponent, whether it's your political opponent or, you know, somebody who thinks differently on some issue than you do, in the worst possible light.
The lack of charity and it is almost just really cutting the other side down. And I think we have to be careful that we don't employ those same methods in communication, that the ways of the world in terms of communicating don't creep into the church. The irony, right, is oftentimes, you know, we're like, we have to be like this, we have to speak in these strong ways to combat the world. And I think, you know, what I said yesterday on the broadcast is if we're using the weapons of the world, the tools of the world to try to advance God's kingdom, quote unquote, then it's just not going to happen.
We've already failed from the get-go. And so we have to be so careful, brothers and sisters, that we're characterized by the fruit of the Holy Spirit in all of our communication. And I think this is one of the ways, Bill, I think you see this as well, that we can shine brightly as lights in the world for Jesus today because we live in a time where the way in which people communicate, especially with those with whom they disagree, is oftentimes very uncharitable, very unhelpful, very, you know, just sort of mudslinging. And so being characterized by something different as the body of Christ as the church is one of the ways, I think, that we testify to the grace of God and his work in our lives and that we set ourselves apart from the world.
And so we've got to be, I think, we've got to be cautious here. I think that's a really great counsel and hopefully something that all of us can apply in all of our communications when we're dealing with somebody that maybe we differ with. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and we'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, theology, doctrine, you name it, we are open to it. Here's the number, 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also leave a voicemail for us anytime, 24 hours a day. Here's a voicemail we received from one of our listeners named Jim. I just wanted to say, Pastor Adriel, thanks so much for your service to the kingdom and to the body of Christ. I appreciate your program so much. What I was wanting to see if you could share your thoughts on the continuationist cessationist debate, what you think about it and why, maybe bring some clarity to it, seems to be a lot of confusion depending on who you're talking to. Thanks very much. I appreciate your ministry and look forward to hearing what you have to say.
Yeah, Jim, first, thank you for your encouragement. Let me define some of these terms, especially for our listeners who aren't familiar with this debate. In some ways, if you're in church and you've been in church for a while, you've at least been exposed to this, because the continuationist cessationist debate has to do with, are all the gifts of the Holy Spirit described in places like 1 Corinthians 12-14 still ordinary in the life of the church today? Gifts like the gift of prophecy, the gift of tongues. Should we be pursuing those gifts as Christians in the body of Christ today and seeking to have these manifestations of the Holy Spirit in our local churches, in our local assemblies? The continuationist side says, yes, we don't believe that there's anything in scripture that prohibits this. On the contrary, you have these calls to seek and desire prophecy in places like 1 Corinthians 14. Whereas the cessationist side would say, well, God can and does still do miraculous things in the world today, but ordinarily, he's not giving those gifts. Those are gifts that ceased shortly after the time of the apostles. They served a particular purpose. It's not for us as Christians today to pursue those gifts specifically like they did in the days of the apostle Paul.
Now, where do I land? I've really wrestled through this question, to be honest with you, in my life. When I was a newer believer, I went to churches that were more open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, if you will, to use that language where there was an emphasis on the gift of prophecy and the gifts of tongues and interpretation. I was wrestling through scripture and also what churches were doing, what my own church was doing in its practice. As time has gone by, I think I've landed more on the cessationist side.
I'll give you some reasons for that. First, it seems to me like in the New Testament, these miraculous gifts, the primary purpose was for the confirmation of the gospel, if you will. There are a number of passages that bring this out. One that I will go to oftentimes is in Hebrews 2 where the author of the Hebrews is encouraging this church, this group of Christians, to hold fast to the gospel. Listen to what he says beginning in verse 1.
Therefore, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord and it was attested to by those who heard while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Some of these miraculous gifts.
What's going on here? Well, God is bearing witness to the word of the gospel. It's almost like this stamp given from heaven saying this is the true message. This is what we see throughout the preaching in the book of Acts where God is bearing witness with these miraculous signs, gifts like the gift of tongues. And certainly when you look at the gospels and you think of Jesus' miracles, again, they're there to confirm who he is and what he's doing. There's that scene in Mark chapter 2, if you remember, where Jesus heals a paralytic who's let down through the roof of the house. And the first thing Jesus says is, son, your sins are forgiven. And the religious leaders who are there, you know, they begin to scoff and to think to themselves, you know, who's this guy think he is forgiving sins. And Jesus says, you know, what is more difficult to say your sins are forgiven or to say rise, take up your bed and walk, but so that you might know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins, I say to you.
And he says to the paralytic, rise, take up your bed and walk. So this miracle is confirming the authority of Christ to forgive sins. It's confirming the gospel. Because I think that that's what these signs and wonders primarily were doing there at that time. Now, that's not to say that God can't work in miraculous ways today.
He's free to do whatever he wants. And I think we all can share stories about, you know, an instance where the Lord healed us or a loved one, you know, through prayer, but oftentimes and ordinarily God uses means, means like the preaching of his word. So I think where we need to focus is not on trying to experience some miraculous move of the Holy Spirit. We need to go back to the word, Holy Scripture and be grounded in what Christ has said to us, what God has spoken to us definitively in his Son Jesus. And that's actually what the author of the Hebrews says in Hebrews chapter one. And so this isn't, you know, one of those differences within the church that should cause us to say, oh, that person is not a Christian or they must not really believe in Jesus.
Right? We're thinking about scripture. We're thinking about the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, the role of miracles in the history of redemption. And there can be differences here. And so we want to exercise charity with each other, which is ultimately the main sign of the Spirit in the life of the believer.
It's love. That's what the apostle Paul says in first Corinthians 13. So let's have that for each other and pursue that with all of our hearts that the Lord would manifest the fruit of his Holy Spirit in each of our lives.
Thank you for that question, Jim. Just to follow up for you, Adriel, it does seem like there are certain churches, certain denominations and certain Christians that tend to really be focusing on the emotional experience of their faith. And I'm not saying that emotions aren't valid.
Certainly they are. And God can use them in powerful ways. But when we seek out emotion above, let's say, God's word, it seems like there's a real danger there.
Absolutely there is. And you know, I think for a lot of people, they tie faith together with feeling primarily. So it's not rooted in something objective, like something that took place in history, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But in how we feel, you know, when we get up in the morning, do I really feel the presence of God? The issue there is we're not always going to have those feelings. Our faith is not rooted in how we feel or in what we feel or in an emotional experience.
Those things come and go. And so if that's what's anchoring your faith, you're going to be tossed to and fro by the waves of life. Our faith needs to be anchored in the word of God, in His promises to us, in what Christ has done objectively in history, so that no matter what happens and no matter how we feel, we can rest on the solid rock that is the gospel. And that's where we place our faith.
That is so well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and we are excited to tell you about a new resource that we are offering today. We think it'll be really helpful in your Christian walk.
Yeah, it's a great little booklet called Tough Questions Answered. It's only about 50 pages long, and it will help you to answer some of the difficult questions that people are asking with regard to faith, science, culture. Questions like, doesn't science make religion unnecessary? Questions about the exclusivity of the gospel, Jesus being the only way?
Isn't Christianity just a bunch of fairy tales? How do we address that question when our friends ask it? Or what about the Bible's view of sexuality and gender? There are many people who are saying today, well, it's just outdated.
It's so archaic, so restrictive. We answer all of these questions and many more. So if you or your friends, family members are looking for answers to these questions, pick up this booklet for a donation of any amount. Give what you can over at CoreChristianity.com.
This is such a great resource. We'd love to get it in your hands. You can find it by going to CoreChristianity.com forward slash offers. Every time we mention a daily offer, that's where it's located.
CoreChristianity.com forward slash offers and look for Tough Questions Answered. Of course, you can always call us for any one of our resources. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 833-843-2673.
And our phone lines are open right now. If you have a question for Adriel about the Bible or the Christian life, feel free to give us a call. You can always email us as well. And our email address is questions at CoreChristianity.com.
Here's an email from one of our listeners named Jordan. And Jordan says, I have a question about Philippians 4 13. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. It seems that verse is often used for self-help purposes or is quoted before Christian athletes play a game.
Why is that? What does Paul mean when he says we can do all things? Because obviously we can't do lots of things in life or we fail at them. So what are your thoughts on this verse?
Yeah, you're right. I think that a lot of people take this verse out of context and it becomes this sort of self-help. I mean, I've seen it on t-shirts at the gym, right?
Like, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He's got a big buff guy squatting, you know, a thousand pounds, you know, beneath the sand. That was me, by the way, in case you were wondering. Yeah, did they use you as the model for that, Bill? I wondered, yeah. But it's not about you accomplishing all your life goals and Jesus being your cheerleader and giving you the strength to do that.
No. I mean, and this is the issue is so often I think in life people think about Jesus as this sort of, you know, the supporting actor to their story. Just there to sort of cheer you along and make you great. And that's what God does.
He's up there cheering for you and helping you. And if he doesn't, then, I mean, this is why people have this idea about God. And then when things don't go their way, oftentimes they abandon faith or they say, well, you know, Jesus let me down.
He didn't help me do all things like he promised. And so that's why it's so important for us to understand the context here. The context here actually has to do with suffering and contentment and being able to persevere through the difficulties of life, through the strength that Jesus gives us by the grace of his spirit. Paul says in Philippians chapter 4 verse 10, and just remember here, the wider context of the book of Philippians is Paul is writing from prison. So he's not out, you know, on a beach somewhere and just enjoying life.
He's in prison. He says, I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I'm speaking of being in need. I have learned in whatever situation I am 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 him who strengthens me. And so in other words, Paul is saying in the midst of my suffering, you know, those times where there's plenty and then there's times where there's not, where I'm hungry, where I lack, where I'm in prison. But I've learned to be content.
How do I do it? You know, what's the source of my strength? It's Jesus. It's the grace of his Holy Spirit. And so this isn't about, you know, me just going and accomplishing my goals, the goals that I set for myself and God coming alongside of me and saying, you can do it, you can do it. No, this is about following Jesus. And even when it's difficult, because brothers and sisters, let's be honest, taking up our crosses and following Jesus isn't easy. You know, it involves the mortification of our sins, putting them to death, putting others and the needs of others before our own. And we struggle with this as sinful human beings.
And as sinful human beings, even in Christ, we experience want at times. There are times where we feel very blessed and we have a lot and there are other times where, as Paul says, here we're brought low. And yet in the midst of all of it, we can cling to the promises of God and find strength from, draw strength from Christ himself. And in that sense, we can do all things through him, Jesus, who strengthens us. And so, brothers and sisters, let's cling to him, whether we're in a place of plenty or a place of want, whether we feel like God is exalting us for the time being or in the moment that we're in, or bringing us low, that we would cling to Jesus during that season.
Well said. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Let's go back to the phones. Ariana is on the line from Palm Springs, California. Ariana, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Pastor Adriel.
Thanks so much for your ministry. It's been a really cool way to spark biblical conversations between my husband and I. Speaking of that, the other day, my husband and I were talking about what heaven would be like. And we were wondering if we would be able to recognize each other when we got there.
You hope so, right? Wouldn't it be just terrible if you're in heaven? My wife often teases— Well, let me just also say how awesome that you and your husband are having these conversations about the Word. And, you know, my wife and I, we'll get into these conversations as well. One of the things she said is, you know, in heaven, I don't care, you know, what kind of mansion you're in, you have to live with me still.
That's what she tells me. The funny thing is we don't know a lot in terms of, you know, what heaven is going to be like, how it's going to look exactly. We know that the saints right now are in the presence of the Lord around his throne together with the angels worshiping him. And we also know that heaven is in our final destination. We're looking forward to the new creation, a new world that's restored by God through Christ and through what he's accomplished for us. So we have the hope of not only heaven, but the resurrection of our bodies and the life of the world to come. And I do believe that we will know each other there. You know, Jesus talks about people sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Presumably, they recognize who these patriarchs are.
It's not just like our memories have been erased. No, we're going to recognize each other and we're going to be filled with perfect love by the grace of the Holy Spirit. We'll be perfected in holiness so that our relationships with each other are going to be perfect as well. But in terms of, you know, what exactly that's going to look like there in heaven and then after in the new creation, it's just going to be better than anything we could ever imagine. The pictures that are painted for us of heaven or of the kingdom of God in the Bible include feasting, festivity, worship, joy.
You think about a wedding feast or, you know, the greatest birthday party you've ever been to, just celebration. That's what heaven is going to be. And that's what we get to look forward to and that celebration we enter into through Christ because he has put away our sins once and for all.
He's the one who restores our relationships, making us holy and giving us the hope of heaven and of the new creation. So grateful to hear about those conversations that you're having. I hope that you guys can continue to talk about the Word of God together and encourage each other. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Just a reminder, we have that great resource available for you today called Tough Questions Answered, a 50-page booklet that really gets into some great topics about science and faith, sexuality, different religions, and a whole lot more. And you can get that for a donation of any amount by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers.
Well, we do have a YouTube channel, and you can watch Adriel live on YouTube every day at 1130 a.m. Pacific time. Here's a question from one of our YouTube viewers from Paula, and she says, How do you get integrated into a new church when joining at a later age? I'm 59 and single, and I want to be in community at my new church. Hey, Paula, I know that that can be so difficult, so the first thing I want to do is pray for you, that the Lord would give you just open doors of fellowship there at the new church. Gracious God in heaven, thank you for Paula, thank you for her desire to be plugged in to Christian community.
And Lord, would you give all of us that desire? We know that you didn't create us to be alone, that you united us to your church through Jesus, your Son, by faith and holy baptism, and that we're called to grow together in the body of Christ, and so would you help our sister Paula, would you be with her, and would you give her opportunities for fellowship and growing in grace through the community there at her new church? I pray that you would bless her there and continue to sanctify her in her walk with you.
We ask these things in Jesus' name, amen. I know that it can be difficult, especially depending on the demographic of the church. Sometimes we go to a church and we feel like there's not a lot of people in my same stage of life or who are in the same place that I'm at, it can be hard to connect. I would say, one, being committed to worshiping there, certainly, being there on Sunday, finding ways that you can get plugged in, in serving, oftentimes even small things like greeting at your church or helping with the offering, whatever it is, can be ways that you get to know others and build those relationships by serving alongside of them. If your church offers things like community groups or fun fellowship times, those kinds of things, church barbecues, I would say invest in those things and go and be a part.
Don't feel bad if right away it doesn't feel like you're making all of these relationships and things aren't clicking immediately. It takes time. I think it takes presence and commitment and prayer. My prayer for you is that as you continue there and trusting that this is a church that's faithfully preaching the gospel and people are being encouraged to love one another there in the community, that as you continue there, you'll be folded in and valued and you'll feel yourself valued because God has gifted you, Paula, in ways that he hasn't gifted other people in the church there. And so you're an integral part of the body of Christ and may God help you to see that and encourage you as you use the gifts that he's given to you for their good. 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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