Wine or grape juice? What should we serve in communion? 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. You can call us with your question at 833-THE-CORE. You can also leave us a voicemail there 24 hours a day.
That's 833-843-2673. You can also email us your question anytime at questions-at-core-christianity.com. Bill, I feel like that's a pretty controversial one.
I'm excited to get to that one, wine or grape juice. So, interested to hear your thoughts on that one too, Bill. Sorry to interrupt you.
Well, yeah. No, that's okay, and I know that your denomination has a particular belief on that, so we'll unpack that here in just a bit. Let's go to Sarah first, though.
She's calling in from St. Louis, Missouri. Sarah, what's your question for Adriel? Would you do this?
Would you do that? And then sometimes I get so discouraged and I just pause and think, you know what I mean, Lord, and then I pause. And one time it really happened and I got to thinking, why pray? God knows what's going on. He knows my yesterday. He knew what I was going to do yesterday. He knows what I'm going to do tomorrow. He knows it ahead of time, so why pray?
It's almost like I can't change his mind. He knows it ahead of time. And then when I thought about that, I thought about Judas thinking he knew it ahead of time, but he knew he was going to fall back. Anyways, for the longest time and sometimes still, I'll be praying away and really with confidence and knowing that I mean it and God really means it, but then I think he already knows, so why pray? What's the point of prayer?
Yeah, excellent question. And it's a question that I don't know that we've actually gotten this one on the broadcast, which surprises me because it's a question that has been raised many times throughout the history of the church. Why pray? Jesus himself said in Matthew chapter 6 verse 8, for your father knows what you need before you ask him. And if it is the case, as scripture says, that he makes all things work together according to the counsel of his will, Ephesians chapter 1. And if he's going to do that, regardless of my prayers, well then am I just wasting my time?
Am I just speaking into the air? Why did Jesus pray so much? Why do you have so many commands in scripture? Pray without ceasing. Jesus teaching on prayer even. When you pray, Matthew chapter 6, pray like this. An excellent question. Well, here's the wrong way of thinking about it.
You touched on this. Prayer is not our way of changing God's mind or bending his will to ours. No, actually in prayer, we're aligning ourselves with the will of God. And it's through prayer that God has ordained to accomplish his purposes in the world, which is a pretty magnificent thing when you think about it.
God has destined, ordained that through the prayers of his people, he is going to bring about great things. And so God wants us to pray because God uses prayer as a means for accomplishing his purposes. And he calls us to pray. And in prayer, we have that intimate communion, Sarah, which it sounds like you've experienced. We have that intimate communion with God as we grow together in our relationship with him.
I love the way one theologian talked about it. He gave this beautiful analogy of prayer as this kind of shovel, this tool that God gives us to uncover his treasures, his sovereign purposes in our lives. So when we pray, we're never coming up empty handed.
It's not like this is worthless. No, we're drawing near to God our Father as he calls us to. And one of the things that's being highlighted in prayer is our need.
We're reminded of the fact that God is the one who supplies our needs. And so it's doing something in us I think that is so important. It's transforming us. It's not transforming God per se. It's transforming us.
It's changing us. It's aligning us to his will and purposes and giving us this sweet communion with him. And even though he knows all things and knows what we need before we even ask, he is purposed through our prayers to accomplish his purposes, his sovereign purposes in the world. And so keep praying.
Keep praying and praying with confidence, with faith through Jesus. And we're blessed as we do. God bless you, Sarah. Thank you. Sarah, thanks so much for listening to CORE Christianity.
We appreciate you. Well, we do receive emails here at the CORE. You can send us an email with your question at questions at corechristianity.com. And here is that controversial question that Adriel was referring to at the beginning of the show. This is from Deanna and she says, do you believe that wine should be served at communion? I've been in four Christian Protestant churches where only grape juice is served because they don't believe Jesus would have consumed alcohol. I believe Jesus did have wine. Also, if wine is served, what about the young people in the congregation taking communion?
Well, I imagine if you're giving them really big cups, that could be a problem. You know, if at your church they're using, you know, red solo cups for communion or something like that, well then, well then, yeah, probably most churches, mine included, you know, we have those little tiny plastic cups that, I mean, I don't even know how much is in there, but it's really a small amount, a negligible amount. So I don't think that there's an issue with, you know, younger children who have professed faith in Jesus Christ. They've been baptized.
They believe in him and they're coming to the table in faith. I don't think it's an issue necessarily with wine, but of course there are differences of opinion. For many evangelical churches, you know, it's pretty typical that you go and they just serve wine for communion. There are other churches that will have grape juice and wine, sort of choose which you want to take. Our church does just have wine. We only serve wine in communion. It hasn't been an issue for us, per se.
One of the things we wondered early on is, you know, for people who are coming out of alcoholism, is this going to be an issue? And it's provided us opportunities to have really good conversations with members in our church or with people who are visiting to talk about the Lord's work and also to talk about just the significance of the Lord's Supper. And of course, Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper with wine. And so I think any time we're doing something different, not in line with what Jesus said or how he instituted his worship, we've got to be very careful.
We don't want to be willy-nilly about worship, about holy worship and the things that Jesus has said in his word or commanded in his word. Now that doesn't mean, and I don't think that, you know, a church that uses grape juice for the Lord's Supper is not taking the Lord's Supper or is in sin or something like that. I just think my preference is, this is what Jesus instituted the meal with, and so let's use that. And here's the thing, the Lord's Supper is this this means of grace. Communion is one of the ways that the Spirit of God is powerfully at work in our lives and in our churches.
Oftentimes we minimize it as just a sort of, you know, it's a time for me to have this individual moment with Jesus where I'm thinking really hard about his death and the passion, and it's pretty heavy, pretty weighty, and that's what it's about, you know. But it really is this meal of celebration, this gift that God gives to us by faith, the body and blood of his son Jesus. Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 called it a communion. Koinonia is the Greek word that he used, a communion, a close fellowship, bond with the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and it's a picture of the heavenly feast that we're all going to participate in, the marriage supper of the lamb. Isaiah chapter 25 verse 6, now this is a beautiful prophecy, on this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. This kingdom banquet, it's going to be, you know, steaks, bone-in steaks, the best wine, well-aged wine, a celebration.
You think of going to a wedding and the festivity, the party, the joy that's there. Well, that's what we taste in the Lord's Supper through the forgiveness of sins, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, through the promise of the gospel. And so yeah, I think, you know, my view is that we should be using wine in the Lord's Supper, but again, I'm not trying to say, well, if you're doing it differently, then you're not taking communion at all or something like that. I just think we want to stick to what Jesus has said in his word. We want to take his word serious, and we want to take his worship seriously as well. And so the main thing is coming to the table in faith, clinging to the promises of God, receiving his grace by faith, clinging to it, and resting in those great promises that he gives to us.
You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And if you are a parent or a grandparent, we want to tell you about a great free resource that we have available for you today. Yeah, as the kids or the grandkids get ready to go back to school, we've got a resource for you and for them. It's called Six Ways to Help Your Kids as They Go Back to School. It's a resource that will give you insight on just, you know, some of the areas where you want to focus with your kids, things like performance, peer pressure, how to approach these things from a biblical perspective and really help our children as they go back to school.
And so this is a free resource, absolutely free. We want you to get a hold of it over at corechristianity.com. Again, it's called Six Ways to Help Your Kids as They Go Back to School. This is really a helpful, practical resource for families, and you can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers, and look for Six Ways to Help Your Kids as They Go Back to School. Well, we do receive voicemails here at Core Christianity.
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And here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Michael. Hey, I just had a quick question about the structure of church. How come it's not more Bible study-based instead of going to church and listening to a preacher preach a sermon where you can't ask questions? For me personally, I get a lot more out of a Bible study, but I guess that was that was my question.
Thanks. Hey Michael, thank you for that question. One that's near and dear to my heart as a preacher and as a pastor and wanting people to show up on Sunday to be there. We were just talking about communion and the significance of that, the means of grace, or you have the preaching of God's Word, the Holy Gospel, these ordinances or sacraments of grace where God promises by His Spirit to be at work in our midst, to be present with us in His promises.
These are things I think you can't get anywhere else. And I mean that, you know, church is not this domesticated experience where it's just like, ah, you know, I could get that in my living room or just with a group of friends. No, you know, the New Testament, when it paints the picture of the gathered assembly, it's like the powers of heaven, of the new creation, are breaking in on us, showering on us through the holy preaching of God's Word, through the ordinances that Jesus gave to the church.
We need to recover, I think, this understanding of what takes place when we come together. There's nothing wrong with, I love Bible study too and I think it's wonderful, especially gathering together with people and asking questions, thinking about the text of Scripture on a deep level, but that's different than what's happening in church on a Sunday morning. Think of it like this, through the preacher and through the preaching of the Word, God Himself is speaking to you. Boy, I mean, if we really believe that when we went to church, God was going to speak to us through His Word, wouldn't we be excited to be there? Wouldn't we be like, man, there's nowhere else I'd rather be than there, hearing from heaven, hearing from God, what God has to say to me today through this preacher. This is why it's so important that pastors preach the Word of God.
It's not about, you know, just your favorite hobby horse or, you know, some ideas that you sort of put together by watching the five o'clock news or whatever it is. It's opening the text of Scripture where God has spoken to us, the God-inspired Word and communicating that Word to people. And so when you go to church, you know, why do we focus on preaching, preaching the Word of God? It's because God is speaking to us from heaven through His Word and we're called by faith to receive that Word, to come with humility. It doesn't mean that the perfect pastor's sermon is always going to be perfect per se, and I think it's good for us to ask questions when we have questions, and it's God's Word to us insofar as it's faithful to the Scriptures.
But boy, I just think this is something we need to recover. And a passage that I go to oftentimes, Michael, to highlight this is in Hebrews chapter 12. I remember preaching through this some time ago, and it was really helpful, I think, for our people at the time to think about worship in this way. Hebrews 12, beginning in verse 18, the author of the Hebrews is talking about what happens when we come together to worship God, and he says, "'You have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further message be spoken to them, for they could not endure the order that was given. If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.' Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, I tremble with fear." He's talking about the old covenant there.
He said, we're not going to receive the old covenant given by Moses. We're coming as those who are under the new covenant, recipients of the grace of the new covenant. He says, "'But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem and to innumerable angels in festal gathering and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven and to God the judge of all and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.'" That's the word of the gospel, the word of the forgiveness of sins. What is happening when we go to church?
Why do we prioritize it? Why do pastors like myself say, be there, get there, and prepare your heart for worship? Well, because think about what scripture says. We're coming to the heavenly Jerusalem, Mount Zion, gathering together with the saints and angels, if you will, in heaven around the throne of God, the church militant, the church on earth, joining the church in heaven, the church triumphant around God's throne to worship him and to receive a better word than the word spoken by the blood of Abel. That blood cried out for justice, cried out for condemnation even of his brother who had murdered him. The blood of Jesus cries out for mercy, for justification, for forgiveness for us.
That's what we're getting. That's what we should be getting in church on a Sunday morning. That's not, again, to minimize Bible studies throughout the week.
Man, do that. Study the scripture every day when the Lord gives you time, but don't miss out on that great gathering that God welcomes us into and calls us to. He calls us to worship him.
Don't miss out on that and the gifts that God is giving to you there. Thanks for that question. You painted such a beautiful picture there of what corporate worship is supposed to be all about, and unfortunately it seems like in a lot of our churches today we sort of lost that vision, huh? I think so.
You know, I don't know. Well, I think there are a number of things that have led to that, Bill. I mean, think of maybe the more sort of seeker-sensitive movement where the growth of the church and how to get a church to grow is really sort of humanistic in the way people thought about it. You know, let's find a particular demographic and then cater a worship service all around them, and let's make everything really comfortable, this sort of domestication of Christian worship so that you feel like when you go to church you're in your living room, you know, drinking your coffee, there's a big screen TV.
It feels like you're at home, right? There's one theologian who said sometimes we never get any place in worship because we never leave any place behind us, and Christian worship really is a leaving of this world, if you will, a taste of the world to come through what we call the ordinary means of grace, through the preaching of God's word, through these ordinances that Jesus gave. And so I think there are a lot of factors that have led to many churches, I think, losing this or missing out on this, but there's an opportunity for us here, right, to really recover, I think, reverence in worship and a high view, a prioritizing of gathering together with the people of God in humility and in submission to the word of God to receive the grace of God.
Amen. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question for us about the Bible or the Christian life, we'd love to hear from you. Here's our email address. You can write to us at questions at corechristianity.com.
And here's one from Tabitha. She says, I want to say thank you for not having a judgmental attitude when you're giving advice. I can hear the love of Christ in each of your voices.
Thank you and may God bless each one of you in your ministry. My question is, why do so many other Christians often speak with condescension toward others? I mean, I can't speak for them. You know, I think, I think scripture says that knowledge puffs up, love edifies. And I think sometimes, you know, when we feel like we're right, we can have this, this sense of arrogance. We're puffed up and begin to speak down to others.
And so there's an issue there. True knowledge though, the true knowledge of God in Jesus Christ should lead us to humility and to love ultimately the fruit of the Holy Spirit described in places like Galatians chapter five. And so it isn't just that we're called to speak the truth and to have the right answers. We're also called in scripture and exhorted to do so in a particular manner that doesn't bring reproach upon us, upon the church, upon the word that we preach. And so sometimes I think it is important for us to speak the truth in a strong way, in a forceful manner, especially when we're addressing heresy and false teaching and it's stuff that's leading people astray. And then there are other times where we have to be tender and especially with the church, with the sheep who are struggling with things and have questions.
And that's oftentimes the things that we get on this broadcast is people who are wrestling through things. You think of Jesus' own disciples and how often they needed help understanding something. So for us, really just wanting to come alongside of people and dig into the scriptures and encourage them as they pursue God in faith. And so it is an issue when people are just harsh and condescending, no matter who they're talking to or what they're talking about. And I think that it's a spiritual issue, right? What we're seeing there is a lack of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. And so the solution is not, well, let's get rid of knowledge, let's get rid of theology.
That's not the main thing. Let's just all love. It's letting the truth that we embrace, the truths of God's word, sink deep enough into our hearts that they begin to transform us and fill us with that love, fill us with that compassion for each other, for those who are struggling. And especially as the word of God brings to the surface the things that we struggle with, highlights our own shortcomings and failures, and we're walking in repentance and receiving that, that gives us grace for others as well in their struggles and with the questions that they have.
And so may God help all of us, right? Not just to know the truth and to speak the truth with boldness, but also to do so in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord, that glorifies Him and brings people in as opposed to pushing them away. Because there are instances I think where people will, you know, they'll use the truth like a hammer to just crush people. And in some instances, it really does turn people off and drive them away.
So I think we want to be wise here and we want to be careful. And I pray that the Lord helps us to continue to do that and also blesses you, Tabitha, as you seek to encourage the people around you. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Here's a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners earlier this week. Hello, my name is Sid Booth and my question is, is baptism absolutely essential to salvation or can you be saved without being baptized? I'd appreciate an answer on that for me, please.
Thank you. Yeah, I mean, well ordinarily we should be baptized as those who believe in Jesus Christ. It's not treated as this just sort of like, oh do you want to do it?
Do you not want to do it? No, this is commanded by Christ and it's a means of grace. It's one of the ways that the Spirit of God is at work in our lives, but we don't want to treat it as a work, if you will, that we do that saves us. It's an act of God by the grace of the Holy Spirit solely through faith. We're only saved by faith and so, you know, there are extraordinary circumstances where you do see in scripture people who weren't baptized but still entered into heaven, the presence of God. So we don't want to draw just a hard and fast line and say if a person didn't receive baptism with water that there's no way that they can be saved.
For some people it's just not possible for whatever reason. Maybe they come to believe late in their life like the thief on the cross, right as they're on their deathbed. And so we trust the mercy of God and ultimately recognize that it's through faith alone, trusting in Christ and in his gospel, that we are saved.
And so appreciate your question and think that should clear it up for you. God bless you and thank you once again for listening. 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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