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Does God Keep Unbelievers From Seeing the Truth of the Gospel?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
October 12, 2022 3:55 pm

Does God Keep Unbelievers From Seeing the Truth of the Gospel?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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October 12, 2022 3:55 pm

Episode 1074 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

 

Questions in this Episode

 

1. Does Jesus Contradict Himself in Luke 11:11-13 and Matthew 7:11?

2. How Can I Have Fellowship When Autism Makes it Difficult to Socialize?

3. Does God Prevent Unbelievers From Understanding the Truth of the Gospel?

4. If a Christian Commits Suicide Are They Still Saved?

5. How Do We Receive the Holy Spirit?

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Indispensable by David Cassidy

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Resources

988 – Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Core Guide – 9 Things Everyone Should Know About Depression

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Does God keep unbelievers from seeing the truth of the gospel? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, this is 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. We'd love to hear from you. Here's our phone number.

It's 833-THE-CORE. Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so, so now is the time to call. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites.

In fact, we have a YouTube channel, and you can go on YouTube right now, watch Adriel live in the studio drinking his coffee, and you can send him a question that way through our YouTube channel. And feel free to email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Pastor Adriel, really appreciate your program. I just have a question here from Luke chapter 11, verse 11 through 13. It starts out, kind of the same, which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone, or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake. But then the next verse, verse 10, talks about God will give all good things to those who ask him, something like that. The verses in Luke 11 seem slightly different than Matthew 7. So just wondering what's your opinion on that.

I appreciate it. I love both of these passages that you've brought to our attention. Now, of course, these sermons which Jesus preached, I mean, often he was repeating himself in many of these teachings.

There's no contradiction there. In Matthew's account, where Jesus is emphasizing the Father's goodness, the fact that he gives good gifts to those who ask. And then in Luke 11, the emphasis is on the greatest gift of all that God gives to us, which is the Holy Spirit, namely himself, God giving us himself. And so, no contradiction.

I think that the focus in both of those passages is on the goodness of our Heavenly Father. If we, being evil, Jesus says, that is sinful, know how to give good gifts to our children. You know, if my son comes to me and says, hey, can I have a piece of bread?

I'm hungry. I don't give him a scorpion or a snake. I don't try to harm him.

No, I give him food. If we, being sinful, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will God give good gifts to those who ask, God who is the Heavenly Father. And so, each of us should be encouraged on the basis of Jesus' words to pray, asking God that he would bless us with those good gifts. Now, what is the greatest gift that God gives to us?

Again, it's himself. And that's what Jesus emphasizes in Luke's account, where he says, the Holy Spirit. How much more will God give to those who ask the Holy Spirit? And so, what an encouragement for us to approach God. You know, a lot of people, I think, and maybe you listening right now, when you approach God, you view him as stingy, as, you know, just, you know, he's got that heavenly hammer and he's just waiting for you to mess up so he can crush you. Jesus says, no, that's not the Father that we worship. He's good and he gives good gifts to us, and so we should approach him and say, fill me, Father, with your Holy Spirit.

Hmm. So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you've got a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Maybe there's a passage in the Bible that's confusing to you, where you see what you think is an apparent contradiction. We're always open to those questions.

Maybe you have some doubts about the Christian faith. Hey, we'd love to talk to you if you consider yourself to be an agnostic or an atheist and have some questions or maybe you practice a different religion and you'd like to talk to Adriel about that. Feel free to give us a call. 833-THE-CORE is the number.

That's 1-833-843-2673. We do receive emails here at the Core, and here's one from Alyssa. She says, Excuse me, do you have any advice for people like myself who have autism and really struggle with the social aspect of fellowship? I've recently started attending church after many years of not doing so. The reason I stopped going was because I have so much difficulty socializing with others in person. I'm finding it difficult to connect with anybody, and I often feel worried that I'm making the other members uncomfortable by my lack of communication skills or that they just find me plain rude. I will keep going because I know I need to be disciplined in my church attendance and not let my feelings overcome my obedience to God's word, but I feel like I'm falling short of what real fellowship should be.

Do you have any advice for this kind of situation? Alyssa, God bless you in your desire to be a part of the worshiping community even though it's very difficult for you with autism. I definitely want to pray for you on the broadcast and encourage you first. Whether we feel like it or not, here's the beautiful thing about the Gospel. Through Christ, you are a part of the body of Christ. You are a part of the fellowship.

We are one church, one body through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You've been baptized into the body of Christ, so you fit in. You're a part of the family, and God has gifted you in unique ways for the edification of the body of Christ.

It's not do I fit in, do I not fit in. Jesus has made you a part. He's made each of us a part by faith in his name, and so we're called to live in light of that and into that.

So hopefully you receive that as a comfort just knowing that, look, you're in. You're in through Christ and through his mercy, through his goodness, so that would be my first encouragement for you to view yourself not as someone who doesn't fit in, but as someone who has been welcomed into the family through what Jesus has done. And as those who have been welcomed into the family, we are growing up into Christ more and more as we exercise the God-given gifts that we have for the edification of the body as we benefit from the gifts of others in the context of the local church. I think primarily of the preached word, the sacraments of grace that we receive. I mean, first and foremost, we don't go to church as sort of a social club or the social element.

There is a part of that. We go to church to receive the gospel, the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the promises that God gives to us, and so I wouldn't put the pressure on yourself to feel like, okay, I have to build all of these relationships and focusing on the social element. I think that that's a good thing, but know that you can just go as one of Christ's little lambs to receive his good word for you.

That's why we gather together, and I would just say praying that in time, as you continue to participate and seeing it as a priority that you should have, that the Lord would bless you with friendships, with relationships, with others in the body of Christ that are mutually edifying, relationships that help you grow in your faith and where you can encourage others as well. I want to pray that for you, Alyssa. Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for our sister, Alyssa. Thank you that you have welcomed her into your family and that she is a part of the body of Christ because of the work of Jesus Christ. And, Lord, what a great thing that is that we are one church united together in one body and called to live in light of that great reality, and so I pray that you would help each of us, and in particular my sister, Alyssa, to do that. Would you bless her in the church that she's at with fruitful, edifying relationships and friendships. Lord, and more and more, I pray that as she attends worship that she would be encouraged in her walk with you. In Jesus' name, amen.

Amen. Just to follow up for you, Adriel, I think this also speaks to those of us in the church who may be uncomfortable with someone who has special needs or some kind of a social deficit. We're called as well to reach out in love and to be able to bear burdens and to encourage one another, and that includes those who might have autism. One hundred percent, Bill, and I think that's a great reminder for each of us in the body of Christ. As I said, it's not a social club.

It's not an affinity group. God is choosing our brothers and sisters for us, and so when we go to church, I mean, that's the beautiful thing about the body of Christ is the church should be a diverse place where people are coming from all different walks of life, but what we share is a hunger for the grace of God, and that's what unites us. It's what Christ has done for us and a longing to grow in Jesus. So we have the main thing, the most important thing in common, and that's what gives us fellowship.

Well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, give us a call right now, 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. By the way, we are really excited to share a new book with you today. It's by a friend of Core Christianity, Pastor David Cassidy.

Yeah. This book is called Indispensable. It's over on our website. You can access it there at corechristianity.com. I just want to read a little section of this book.

This is on page 31. Pastor Cassidy writes, Don't dismiss Jesus with faint praise, calling him a great teacher or reducing him to a messenger who is no more divine than any other religious leader. Those whose hearts have been captured by Jesus would sacrifice everything in order to pursue what Paul called the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. That's from Philippians 3, verse 8.

Even if you choose to reject Jesus, it's important that you recognize the truth about him and reject that rather than rejecting a mythical Jesus who bears no resemblance to reality. So important for us to understand this today, to understand who Jesus is, and Pastor Cassidy helps you to do that through this book, Indispensable. So again, I hope you get a hold of this resource over at corechristianity.com. Well, that passage you read there, where there is so powerful, Adrilyn, if that's any indication of what this book is about, I would highly recommend that our listeners take advantage of it. By the way, you can find out more about this book and order it from us by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. That's corechristianity.com forward slash offers and look for the book Indispensable by David Cassidy. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core and you can call us anytime 24 hours a day and leave your voicemail at 833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Viola.

I have something I want to ask you about. In 2 Corinthians 4-4, it says, In whom the God of this world hath blinded the mind of them, which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. And then in John chapter 12 verse 40, it reads, He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart and be converted, and I should heal them. In 2 Corinthians, this is speaking of Satan blinding eyes. And in John chapter 12, this is speaking of God blinding eyes. So could you explain? I know that Satan wants to keep us from the truth.

Could you explain why God blinds eyes? Thank you. God bless you.

Yeah, Viola, what a question. And you're absolutely right. There in 2 Corinthians chapter 4, it's the quote-unquote God of this world, the evil one, Satan, who's blinded the minds of those who don't believe, lest they see the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And then in John chapter 11, where it speaks of the unbelief of the people, God is the one who has blinded the eyes of the people who are being described.

Now I'm just going to read some of that text. This is John chapter 11, beginning in verse 36, when Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled, and so this is in fulfillment of prophecy, Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed. Therefore Isaiah says that they could not believe, saying, verse 40, he has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.

Now here it's speaking in particular of the religious leaders. Now not everyone was unbelieving because the text goes on to say, verse 41, Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue, for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. For the religious leaders who had been blinded in fulfillment of that prophecy that we see in Isaiah, there was this hypocrisy, this sense of we see, we get it, we know, when in reality they didn't. They were continuing in sinful unbelief, unwilling to embrace Christ, and so I think what you have there is God just giving them over to essentially what they had chosen for themselves. God hardening their hearts.

This is something that you also see with Pharaoh, for example, described by the apostle Paul in Romans chapter 9. I think the warning for us all throughout scripture, you see it in particular also in the wisdom literature like in the book of Proverbs, is not to reject the word of God, not to harden our hearts against what the Lord has said. This is what the author of the Hebrews says to the Hebrew generation. Don't harden your hearts in unbelief, turning away from the living God, and that's precisely what so many of the religious leaders did during Jesus' earthly ministry. And for that reason, we can read, and this is what God did, he has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts.

He's let them have essentially what they wanted. He's confirmed them in that unbelief because of their sinful rejection, and so we are called not to turn away from the word of God, but to embrace it, to believe it, to fall on our knees before Christ and say, I believe, help my unbelief, because that's the struggle that we all have. And so two different texts, obviously, of scripture, but I think focusing on two different things specifically, and that's what John chapter 11 is honing in on. Thank you, Viola, for your question. Some great clarification.

Thanks for that. A lot of times I think it's so important for us to understand the context of what we read in scripture, and people will often pull things out of context or be confused because they don't understand the full context. And I know that's something that you really encourage, is make sure, maybe use a study Bible, but fully understand what you were reading, especially when it comes to the words of Jesus. Yeah, and I appreciate that, Bill, because so far, at least with a couple of the questions that we've received on the broadcast, it's about comparing two texts of scripture that seem to be saying something different. We had that question earlier with regard to prayer, comparing Matthew and Luke, where Jesus says, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask in Matthew's gospel? And then in Luke's gospel, we read, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask? And then here, comparing 2 Corinthians 4, where it talks about Satan blinding the minds of those who reject the gospel, and then John 11, where it talks about God blinding the eyes of these individuals, these religious leaders who were rejecting the gospel. Again, it's, as you say, so important for us to look at the context of each passage and then to dig in deeper in order to come to a proper understanding of the text of scripture. And that's what we should all do as we approach the Bible, and that's what we want to help you, our audience, to do as well.

You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, our phone lines will be open for the next five minutes or so. Here's the number to call. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 833-843-2673. Let's go to Rachelle, who's calling in from Lincoln, Nebraska.

Rachelle, what's your question for Adriel? My question is, if you take your own life, which I think nobody has the right to do that when God gave us our life, do you go to heaven? Do we have a chance to talk to God and say, I'm sorry, please forgive me for what I'm about to do? I've been there where I wanted to do that, but I couldn't because of Jesus. So I'm just wondering for the people that do succeed, where are they going, Pastor?

Rachelle, I have a question, but one that is so important, I think, to get right. There are so many people who wrestle with depression and suicidal ideations. I think that this is an important one for us to address. The first thing I'll say is that we're saved solely through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ who forgives our sins. So the question of our eternal destiny, if you will, whether or not we're in heaven, has to do primarily with the question of, well, are we united to Jesus Christ by faith? Am I trusting in Christ? Now, even those who trust in Jesus Christ can struggle with depression, dark depression. I think you see this oftentimes in the Psalms. Certainly the history of the Christian church bears this out. You think of many of the mighty men and women of God that were used who really wrestled with dark bouts of depression, who wrote about it and talked about it. So the key question is, does an individual have Christ? Are they believing in him? And as I said, even believers can struggle with depression and succumb to it.

I've seen it in my own life. Now, suicide, as you said, is a sin. We don't have the right to take any life, including our own life. It is a sin against God, but I wouldn't say that it's the unpardonable sin. The unpardonable sin described in the Gospels, Jesus speaking to the religious leaders who had rejected the truth of the Gospel, had rejected his grace, were hardening their hearts against him. And Jesus expresses there, he refers to it as the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, an unpardonable sin. And so I wouldn't say, and there are some people who have said this, that suicide is the unpardonable sin.

No, I don't think that that's the case. Now, if you are struggling with suicidal ideations, you need to get help immediately. And Bill, I know we've shared the suicide hotline on the broadcast before.

I think this would probably be another good time to do it because I know that this is a serious thing. But let me just say for those of you who are struggling, man, Christ is there. He is our hope.

He is your hope. And it's in those deep and dark valleys that he hasn't abandoned us. Even there, he meets us.

And here's the other thing. It's not just that he meets us there. It's that Jesus knows the valley of the shadow of death better than anyone else.

I mean, he's been there. I think of the psalmist, Psalm 88, for example. It's the darkest psalm.

It actually ends with the word darkness. The people of God throughout their history have experienced these seasons of deep darkness and pain. So sometimes I think when an individual is wrestling with, struggling with depression, there can be a sense of shame, feeling like, man, how could this be?

I can't believe that I'm going through this or why am I feeling like this? I just want you to know that you're not alone and that your Savior, Jesus, can and does sympathize with you in your weakness. Cling to him and to his grace. Amen, Bill? Amen.

So well said. And by the way, for any listeners who might be struggling with the depression and maybe even suicidal ideation, there's that new suicide hotline number, which is 988. You can call 988 and talk to someone there, a counselor who will help you. And we also have a wonderful resource. It's called Three Biblical Ways to Fight Depression. You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash downloads and look for Three Biblical Ways to Fight Depression. By the way, October is Mental Health Awareness Month. So I'm glad that this caller brought this to our attention and it is such a huge issue right now in our culture and it's something that we need to address regularly.

Yeah, absolutely, Bill. And one other resource I was going to mention is over at our website corechristianity.com, we have a ton of articles on all sorts of different subjects, even some articles related to this. There's one article in particular that's titled Can People Who Die by Suicide Be Saved?

Basically, I gave a summary of the answer there, but if you want it on paper, something that maybe you could share with somebody else, you could check out that article at corechristianity.com. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez. Here's an email we received from one of our listeners named Jason and he says, How do we receive the Holy Spirit?

Yeah, great question, Jason. Well, I mean, there are a few passages of scripture, one that we already covered. You think of what Jesus said in Luke chapter 11.

If you being evil know how to give good gifts, how much more will your Father who's in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? And I think as followers of Jesus Christ daily, we need to be asking God, fill me with your Spirit. Guide me by your Holy Spirit.

It's not rocket science. It's just coming to God as our good Father and asking him to fill us with his Spirit. Now, if you're not a Christian, if you don't know if you're a Christian, if you've never been baptized, think of what we read in Acts chapter 2 verse 38, Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost. He's called people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and he says, this is Acts 2, 38, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If you don't know Jesus Christ, today is the day.

Turn to him. He died on the cross to forgive all of your sins. Turn to him and get plugged into a good church.

Be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-08 07:34:14 / 2022-12-08 07:44:18 / 10

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