How should a Christian worship service be ordered? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, this is Bill Meyer with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.
Of course, you can always post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can always feel free to email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Emily calling in from Escondido, California. Emily, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Bill.
Hi, Adriel. I was wondering, I know that we're supposed to follow Jesus example when he was on earth, like loving people, serving people, honoring God the Father. But are there other parts of his ministry that we should also take as an example, like how he went out into the wilderness to fast, or healing people or, you know, some people are even say we should follow his example of raising people from the dead. Is that right?
I'm wondering if, yeah, I mean, you probably have friends who have made this suggestion. There are actually churches and movements in the United States that really emphasize this, that Jesus healed all the sick. And so if we are following in the footsteps of Jesus, we should be performing miracles. And healing the sick, and even raising the dead. Now, I've actually seen this, I mean, clearly be used in some ways that are so harmful to make people feel like, well, there must be some deep rooted sin in my life that keeps me from being able to work miracles like Jesus did, or a lack of faith on my part.
And that's where this gets really, really troublesome. So first, John 13, Jesus washes the disciples feet, and he says, I've left you an example that you should do as I have done, a call to serve in humility. We're called to take up our crosses and follow Jesus. And so clearly, certainly, there are ways in which we as the followers of Christ are called to follow him, right? I mean, in terms of following his example, humble service, sacrificial service. I mean, I think in part, that's really what's meant with that call to take up our cross and follow Jesus.
Certainly in the first century, and in many parts of the world, there are Christians who do that through martyrdom and dying, but all of us, I think are called to lay down our lives in the service of God and in the service of our neighbor. It may not look the same for everyone, but that's certainly a way in which we're called to follow Jesus. Are we called to follow his example with regard to fasting and performing miracles? We have to recognize that Jesus was doing something very specific there in the history of redemption. So when we're thinking about his fast, for example, in the wilderness, he is acting as the true Israelite. Just as the children of Israel came through the Red Sea, out of the water, and then entered that 40-year period of temptation, so too Jesus, after his baptism, is driven by the Spirit into the wilderness where he's fasting for 40 days, being tempted by the evil one. Now the big difference there is that Israel fell and succumbed to the temptation in the wilderness. Jesus never fell.
He was sinless. So really what we're getting in the Gospels with that story is this picture of Christ conquering the evil one. Same thing with his miracles and the exorcisms is Jesus binding the strong man, conquering the evil one, and bringing his kingdom. You and I don't bring the kingdom of God. We are the recipients of God's kingdom.
God gives us his kingdom as a gift through the preaching of the Holy Gospel, through the ordinances or sacraments of grace that we receive as the people of God. So it's important for us to differentiate between those ways in which we are called to follow Jesus and those things that he did as the Son of God. That doesn't mean that we don't pray for the healing of the sick, that we don't lay hands on the sick as James talks about, but you and I aren't the Redeemer, the Savior. Sometimes you hear people use this language of, you know, I live an incarnational life. I, you know, have an incarnational ministry, that kind of thing.
I steer clear of that. There was one incarnation of the Son of God and we're not him. We don't live the Gospel. The Gospel is something that he did and we receive the fruit of that, his redemptive work on our behalf.
So a really good question and an important question and important for us to be able to distinguish between those things. Really important to thank you for that, Adriel, for that great explanation. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can call us and leave a voicemail anytime 833-843-2673.
That's 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners. This is Angel in the Bronx, New York. Hey Pastor Adriel, my name is Angel.
I am blind and visually impaired. I just need to know musically how does a worship service work musically because at some churches you get to sing hymns and in some churches you get to sing songs that you hear on the radio like contemporary Christian music and there are some churches that usually sing hip-hop or R&B. So I just need to know what is the right order for people to worship. Okay. Hey Angel, thank you for listening to the broadcast. I've not been to a church where they do hip-hop and R&B.
You need to. Yeah, Bill, is that where you attend service? Bill is a huge R&B fan. I don't know if you guys know this. He also can sing R&B.
You don't want to hear it. Well, Angel, really good question. You really also hear, I mean, thinking about the different styles of music that you hear in church stylistically, right? We're not told anywhere you have to use hymns or contemporary worship. I think we really need to reincorporate the Psalms more into our worship. Now that might be in the format of a hymn.
I've seen some wonderful, just beautiful, really well done contemporary Psalms singing the Psalms. And so I would say stylistically, one, we want to make sure that the way in which we're worshiping the Lord is drawing together people. When I say people, I mean people from all different backgrounds.
And I think the focus there should be whatever we do, we should do it excellently. This isn't just for one group of people, one style of music. I think a lot of times in churches, we try to cater to this particular group that we're trying to reach. This is part of the sort of church growth movement where we say, okay, we've identified this group of people who love hip hop music or whatever. So we're going to build our worship service around them and that and that style with the hope of attracting them. Now, look, what we do in worship should be accessible. Specifically, the preaching of the gospel should be accessible and understandable. But the goal in ordering a worship service is not, okay, what do other people want and how can I just give them what they want? We have to go first and foremost to the word of God. And so, Angel, to your question about how do you order a worship service, I think fundamentally we need to look at scripture and what scripture says is happening in corporate worship when we gather together as the people of God.
And I think that we do have some good examples. In the New Testament, there's no Book of Leviticus, for example, the Book of Leviticus outlining the way in which the sacrifices were to be offered under the old covenant. We don't have that in the New Testament. And so we're looking at the example of the apostles of the early church and the way that they worship and think of Acts chapter 2 where they gathered together devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching, to the fellowship, the breaking of the bread, which is probably a reference to the Lord's Supper, the prayers. And so you see the centrality of the word of God in worship, the centrality of fellowship, the centrality of the sacraments, making sure that the breaking of the bread, the Lord's Supper is there.
I think all of those things are very important. Another text that many people go to, and I think that this is legitimate, is the Book of Revelation. Revelation is structured, believe it or not, like a worship service, a liturgy, if you will, in heaven. It begins with God's summons, Jesus calling John up to heaven to hear a word from him, a call to repentance, several calls to repentance early in the book with the seven churches. So you have worship being God inviting his people into his presence, into his house, calling them to repentance. Typically the first act of worship is humbling ourselves and confessing our sins and then speaking his word to them, consecrating them through his word, nourishing them with his body and blood by faith. At the end of the Book of Revelation, you do have the Merit Supper of the Lamb, this beautiful picture of the people of God there in heaven. And then ordinarily, I think, and you see this at the end of the epistles, there's a benediction, God's sending his people out with his blessing into the world.
So there is, I think, a structure that we can take, but then in terms of the style of music, I think there's some freedom. I would just say we want to make sure that we're doing it according to God's word and excellently. And when we focus on that, on excellence in worship, it does attract people from all different backgrounds, maybe don't have a particular interest in this kind of him or whatnot, but we're coming to worship the Lord. And when it's done well, I think that's attractive.
And so those are some of the things I'd say. Angel, I appreciate your question. And boy, we really want to take worship seriously. What about worship dance? Worship dance? Yeah.
I know you're an expert in that, so that's something I don't do very often. But you do, I have heard of actually, you know, some people appealing to David in the Old Testament, you know, as David did in Jehovah's sight, I will dance with all my might. I remember singing a song with those lyrics. Look, whatever we do, we want to do it decently and in order. And this is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 14. One concern that I have with that kind of thing, you know, I've heard of people, we have like, you know, folks running around with flags and dancing around, is the focus needs to be on God, on the Lord, not on a particular singer or a particular dancer. And I think we can fall into the trap of distracting each other in worship. And we have to be careful that whatever we're doing, it's decent in order and the focus is on the Lord. That's really well said.
Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Well, tomorrow is Veterans Day and we have an excellent new resource that actually is designed specifically for Christians who are in the military. Yeah, whether you are in the military or have a friend or loved one in the armed forces, we have a new booklet for you titled Called to War, The Christian and the Military, written by a friend of our organization named Steven Roberts. Steven is an experienced chaplain who has helped countless soldiers and he wrote this booklet for people who are considering signing up to be a service member, for those who have been in the military for a long time and might be disillusioned, and for those unsure how to relate to friends and family members who are veterans. Veterans have a 57% higher risk of suicide than those who haven't served and many of their friends and family members really have no idea how to help them.
What advice and encouragement to give and how to relate to them in some of those complicated situations? And so we hope that you do get a hold of this resource. Again, it's called Called to War, The Christian and the Military for a donation of any amount over at corechristianity.com. What a great resource to offer on Veterans Day.
So if you are a veteran or you're currently an active service person or if you're a family member or a friend of someone who's in the military, check this out by going to our website corechristianity.com forward slash offers and look for Called to War, The Christian and the Military. Well, let's go to a voicemail that came in earlier this week. Now, on Election Day, we talked a little about this whole expression, Christian nationalism, and Adriel addressed that very clearly, talking about kind of the extremes on both sides of that issue. Well, we had one caller named Kim who disagreed with you pretty heartily, and we're going to listen to her voicemail and let you respond.
Okay. I've tuned in to your show today, 10-8 on the day that we're voting, and I so heartily disagree with what he's saying. This country of America was founded on biblical basis. All of our laws, everything was around Christianity.
You did not have to be a Christian, but our laws were based on that. So we are losing our Christian society, and because we haven't engaged, we have been lazy, we're losing America. It doesn't make any sense. I'm so hurt. It's just unbelievable how people will tune into this and believe whatever this guy says.
Well, Kim, I do, one, just want to thank you for listening to the broadcast and for calling and leaving that voicemail for us. And I can hear, obviously, the frustration in your voice and also the fear. And there are so many people right now who are afraid because they look at the direction of the culture, especially with regard to sexual immorality. You think of the issue of abortion also, the right to life and the sanctity of life. And people see so many shifts, changes that are just jaw-dropping.
You think, how did we get here? And so there is this great fear, Kim, that many people have that many people in the church have. Now, I feel that it is my responsibility as a minister of the gospel to apply the word of God to the people of God and to bring comfort and hope. And certainly that's something that we need right now desperately, never to tell people. And I think we are called, and this is something that I said, as Christians, just insofar as God calls us to love our neighbor, we're called to engage as Christians in broader society, in civil government, in the sense that we're seeking the good of our neighbor.
We're seeking also those laws that are just and right and promote the sanctity of life and so on and so forth. But here's our ultimate hope. Our ultimate hope is in the kingdom which Jesus Christ is building, which can never be shaken. Now, that doesn't mean that we don't take what's going on around us seriously.
We do. And it sounds to me like you do, Kim, but I would just want to encourage you and say, look, we pray, we pray for civil authorities, 1 Timothy 2, verses 1 and following, that we as the people of God might be able to live godly lives, quiet, dignified in every respect, that the gospel would continue to advance. I mean, those are all good things, things that we need to be praying for and pursuing here with the opportunities that the Lord gives to us. But let's not be overcome by fear and despair. That's something that I'm seeing among just so much fear, so much despair, so much, and you said it, we're losing America. And so then, you know, one concern that I have is that in desperation or out of desperation, our response as the people of God would be misplaced, would be sinful even in terms of putting our hope first and foremost in the temporal kingdoms of this world. I mean, the author of the Hebrews says in Hebrews 13, here we have no lasting city. That's not to say, well, who cares about America?
No, not at all. Again, pursue the good of our neighbor and the good of this country 100%. But our hope is in the kingdom that Christ is building, and we have the promise given to us from Jesus that he is going to build his kingdom, his church, and the gates of hell will never prevail against her. And so I'm with you, and we should, Kim, I'm with you in the sense that we do lament the horrible things that we do see around us.
I mean, you think of what, you know, when Peter describes righteous law in 2 Peter, he says that his soul was pained by the sensual conduct of the wicked around him. I think as Christians, our hearts should be grieved by many of the things that we're seeing. That is the righteous response, but we shouldn't give way to despair. We should have hope in Christ and hope in the power of the gospel.
I mean, this is it right here. It's through the gospel, through the message of the forgiveness of sins, that the kingdom of God comes and advances. And so that's what we need to focus. We need to focus on the faithful preaching of the word of God, on being committed members to local churches, growing together under the ministry of the word, and taking that word into our communities and sharing about the goodness and grace of God so that those who reject the gospel might be convicted of their sins.
You know, not just standing back and saying, man, everything is going terrible. We need to force people to think like us and regain power and so on and so forth. The focus needs to be on persuading our neighbors that the truth of the Bible is our hope, our ultimate hope, and what we need more than anything as a society. And so, Kim, for you and for all those who are deeply concerned, and I am concerned, may God grant us peace in the promises of Christ, in the unshakableness of his kingdom, and in the fact that at the end, at the end of the day, he's sovereign and he's in control and we can trust him and we can move forward with that confidence even as we pray for the Lord to bring his kingdom here amongst us more and more. Some great words, and as you've often said on this program, and this applies to all areas of our life, if we start focusing on our circumstances, if we start focusing on the temporal, we lose sight of the eternal picture of God's sovereignty. Yeah, and you know, I think the pushback that I've heard at least is just, well, you're just not taking it seriously enough. Look at all these things that are happening.
And so that's, I think, a concern that many people have is, well, yeah, the temporal is still important, and it is important, absolutely, 100%. I'm just saying, let's not treat it as ultimate. Let's not treat politics as ultimate. Let's not treat our earthly citizenship even as ultimate. I mean, this is what Paul tells the Philippians. Our citizenship is in heaven, and from heaven, we're waiting for a savior, Jesus Christ, who is going to transform our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body. And so with that hope and confidence, we should engage our neighbors, our communities, our cities, our country, not out of fear and anger and despair.
That's how other people operate. We don't have to operate like that as Christians. We should engage them with a confident hope in the gospel and a longing to see people experience the grace of Jesus Christ.
Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez. If you have a question for us about the Bible, the Christian life, theology, or doctrine, we are always open to hearing from you. Here's our email address. It's questions at core Christianity dot com, just the word questions at core Christianity dot com. Here's a tough one from Jared.
He emailed us and said this. How can one ever be sure that they are saved when they have hard thoughts of God like blasphemies and evil thoughts? I am beset with sin and angry, irritable, terrified, and I'm never at rest.
Whenever I start to look at the promises of God for salvation, I wonder whether I am trusting in Christ and loving him or if I'm just wanting the benefits of salvation. It's almost been a year now of crying out to God, reading his word, feeling like a religious hypocrite in my church. I'm on the verge of despair, fearing every day that if I died right now, I would go straight to hell and answer for all my hypocrisy.
What hope is there? Man, Jared, my heart goes out to you because I know the feeling, and I've shared this before on the broadcast for years. I struggled with assurance, and we look within and we see our thoughts. Jared, you said, you know, I struggle with besetting sins, with thoughts of blasphemy, evil thoughts. And so I just feel overwhelmed by that, like maybe I don't belong to the Lord. First, let's just take a moment to pray for Jared. Father, we lift Jared up to you who has been crying out to you, and we cry out alongside of him, Lord, that you would grant him, by the power of the Holy Spirit, a sense of your presence and your grace and the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ and his cross, being for him as a sinner in need, and that he would cling to that grace, Lord, and have confidence in your gospel, I pray in Jesus' name, amen.
The hope, brother, is always outside of us. When we look inside of us, we do see indwelling sin. And for our entire lives as believers in Jesus Christ, as those who are regenerated, we are still going to struggle with sin.
Paul talks about this battle in Romans 7, in Galatians 5. And so this is just the reality, and that is why our hope, your hope, first and foremost, has to be on Christ crucified for you, and that gospel placarded before you, laying hold of it, clinging to it, receiving it, not as someone who is sinless, but as a sinner in need. That's what qualifies us of the grace of God.
The people who think that they have no sin, well, they don't go to the Lord. But when you can go to him, Jared, saying, look at these thoughts that I've had, Lord, this struggle that I have, these sins that I'm wrestling with, have mercy upon me, a sinner, and you call out to him in faith, he promises to have mercy upon you and to forgive you. 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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