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What Does the Bible Say About Serving in the Military?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
November 11, 2022 6:18 pm

What Does the Bible Say About Serving in the Military?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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November 11, 2022 6:18 pm

Episode 1096 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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Questions in this Episode


1. Should I ignore my parent’s bad theology in order to keep the peace?

2. Are our souls and spirits the same thing?

3. What does the Bible say about being in the military?

4. Are sermons necessary if all Christians have the Holy Spirit?

5. Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?

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What does the Bible say about serving in the military? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and of course you can always email us at First up today, let's go to one of our listeners named Megan calling in from St. Louis. Megan, what's your question for Adriel? Pastor Adriel, thanks so much for taking my question. I really love your show. Hey, I appreciate your call, Megan. What's your question?

Thanks. Yeah, my question is that I have a new little baby, and I'm finding that my family will say certain things. They're also Christians, but they'll say things that theologically aren't very right to me. But I've been feeling lately that I maybe should be saying something about it, especially if it's things that I think are wrong and that I'm going to teach my child are wrong. Do I need to be saying something?

Is it better for me to just be quiet about it to keep the peace with my family? Yeah, sorry, that was long, but that's my question. That's a great question, and I can tell. Obviously, as a parent, you're concerned about the things that your children here are going to hear as they get older, and congratulations also on the baby. I think we can do some theological triage here, in one sense determining what level of seriousness when we're talking about people who say things that we disagree with theologically. Does it strike at the vitals of the Christian faith? What exactly are they saying? One concern is that we can get into this unhealthy habit as Christians where anytime someone says anything that we slightly disagree with, even just the wording, like, oh, I really feel God speaking to me, and we just jump on and say, oh, God doesn't speak to you.

You need to open your mouth. We just want to be gracious, and you don't want to feel that need to be combative and need to just have to correct everyone for every minor infraction, if you will. But then there are more serious things, certainly, theological beliefs, biblical positions that people hold that maybe if they're talking about that in front of your family and they're trying to teach that specifically, well, there are times where it is appropriate to engage in the discussion, certainly with gentleness, with respect. You think about how scripture says we need to speak to our elders, right? Not coming and just trying to correct, if you will, but in humility. And I think that's how God calls us to act.

And actually, as your children grow, seeing you interact with other people who disagree with you on a certain topic in that way, with grace, with respect, with charity, I think teaches them a lot, maybe an even more important lesson in this day and age where people have a really hard time engaging in charitable dialogue or gracious conversation. We just, it's always, you know, we just sort of whack them all, you know, just, and so I would say this just requires discernment, Megan. You're going to have to discern, is this something, do I need to say something right now or is it really not that big of a deal?

It's just, you know, that's how, you know, my aunt speaks. And maybe there's an opportunity to talk about it a little bit, but you don't need to feel like you have to correct right there. But if it is something that is sowing seeds of unbelief or a doctrine or theology that is detrimental and you can see that your kids are listening and saying, oh boy, that doesn't make any sense. Well then yeah, there comes a point where you do need to step in and maybe you step in there and you say, well, you know, that's not what we believe and you express the truth of scripture there. Or maybe after the fact, you know, you pull your kids aside and you say, Aunt Sally is crazy, you know, she knows that you don't do that. But you pull your kids aside and you say, well, you know, that's not what the Bible teaches. So we can pray for this family member and pray that the Lord gives us an opportunity to talk about the scriptures. And then even being able to say, you know, this is an issue that doesn't mean that another person isn't a Christian. Maybe they disagree on baptism or maybe they disagree on something else, but it doesn't, again, strike at the vitals of what it means to be a Christian.

And so having that, I think discernment and charity and modeling for your kids, that gracious speech is a really good thing. So let's say you're having Thanksgiving dinner and your father-in-law says, I am a prophet of God, thus saith the Lord. You know, it's funny, Bill. I mean, so if that happened, I think that maybe you would need to say something better. Pass the mashed potatoes.

No, pass the stones. True story. I was at a coffee shop the other day working on a sermon, trying to get work done on a sermon. And of course, as is always the case, you know, I sit down to get some work done. Then one of the baristas from the coffee shop came and sat down and saw that I was working on a sermon.

What are you working on? And I thought, oh, cool, this is an opportunity to talk about the Lord. So I said, oh, I'm preaching, you know, on this particular psalm and, you know, well, what's that?

So we have this long conversation about that. And then finally, the barista, they got up, left, and I thought, okay, now it's time to get going. And then as soon as they left, a couple guys walk up and said, we heard you talking about the Psalms. And of course, they get into a conversation with me, and one of them said, I have a word of prophecy for you.

I don't know these guys. And so what did I do? I didn't, you know, jump up and karate chop the guy or say, you're crazy. I just listened to what he was saying. And I said, oh, okay, you know, something about me having the key of David, which that's actually Jesus. And we had a conversation after the fact. But again, it's just, you know, I think when you're confident in what you believe, you don't feel the need to have to correct everyone or get into an argument about everything. But you do hope that people have a deeper understanding of the scriptures and a closer walk with the Lord. So we were able to get into a conversation and, of course, we differed on some things and some interpretations of scripture. But it ended up in the end being an encouraging time to be able to talk about God's word.

And so, yeah, you will encounter these kinds of things. And I think going to the scriptures and engaging charitably is your best bet. And as Peter says, always do it with gentleness and respect. There you go. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Here's our phone number if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life.

It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also leave us a voicemail at that number 24 hours a day. In fact, you can call us this weekend if you want.

Here is a voicemail from one of our listeners that came in earlier this week. I'd like to ask a question about souls. Is soul and spirit the same thing? And also, when we die, when Christians die and their souls go to heaven, will they see and touch and hear and speak to the souls of their loved ones up there?

Thank you so much. So, two questions there. With regard to the first question, are the soul and the spirit the same thing? I do think that they're often, in the New Testament, used interchangeably.

And so I would see them as, at least in the New Testament and scripture, being the same thing. Sometimes it talks about the spirits of the righteous made perfect, being there in heaven, talking about the believers in the presence of the Lord. Sometimes it's the souls of those who had been martyred beneath the altar, Revelation 6. And so you have the same group of people referred to as souls, spirit. I mean, speaking of the whole person, of course, they're not in the body at that point because they've died, but they're in heaven, in the spirit.

And the souls of believers are, at their death, made perfect in holiness and immediately pass into glory. Our bodies stay in the ground, waiting for the resurrection, if you will. We're waiting for the resurrection when the body is glorified, transformed.

That's how we're meant to live. We're not meant to live in this disembodied state for all eternity. Sometimes people think the point of Jesus's coming to earth was so that I could go to heaven when I die and shed the shackles of my body, this body that's giving me all this trouble. But the reality is Christ coming to earth, it was not just about me going to heaven when I die, it was about the restoration of creation and the resurrection of the body. That's why Jesus rose from the dead, so that we too would have the hope of the resurrection. So in terms of the finality of our salvation, the consummation of our redemption, we're looking forward to the resurrection. But when we die, we are with our loved ones who are in Christ, in heaven, around the throne of God. I think we will recognize each other somehow. Of course, the big question is how? Is my soul going to be like the shape of my body, just translucent or something?

I don't know. But I do think that there are indications in scripture that, certainly, we are in the presence of the Lord together with God's people, the church triumphant, our loved ones in Christ. And I do think we will have a more perfect knowledge and the ability to know each other still, but perfectly in love. And so that's something that we look forward to. We look forward to being in the presence of the Lord around the throne of God in heaven at our death, and we look forward to, ultimately, the resurrection of our bodies in the new heavens and the new earth.

Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. It's Veterans Day, and we have an excellent new resource that is specifically designed for Christians who are serving in the military. Yeah, it's a booklet called, Called to War, the Christian and the Military.

You know what's so interesting, Bill? I was just thinking about this, being that it's Veterans Day. In the scriptures, there are so many war metaphors. In the New Testament, specifically, when you think about the Christian life, the battle between the spirit and the flesh, if you will, the passions of our flesh which wage war against us, the spiritual war that the apostle Paul talks about in Ephesians, the fact that we've been enlisted as soldiers, Paul tells Timothy. You have this all over the place, and so it's important for us to talk about these things. Certainly, they talk about this stuff in the New Testament, and that's why we've created this resource, Called to War, the Christian and the Military.

This is going to give you some helpful information. It's great for those of you who have served or if you have a friend or a loved one who's currently serving our country. Veterans have a 57% higher risk of suicide compared to those who have not served, and so I think there's a huge need here also for the church to speak in to 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 Such a great resource. It's actually written by a military chaplain, Stephen Roberts, and Chaplain Roberts has helped countless soldiers and really would love to help you if you're in the military or maybe you are a veteran who would like to know some more about this particular biblical issue.

You can find this by going to forward slash offers. Look for Called to War, the Christian and the Military. Well, speaking of the military, we have voicemail that came in from one of our listeners who serves, and he has a question for you.

Adriel? Hi, my name is Zach, and I'm a soldier in the military right now, and I was just curious what the Bible says about soldiers. Well, Zach, thank you for your service, brother, and I appreciate this question. I'm assuming that at the heart of it is, you know, does the Bible forbid military service? You know, in the history of the Church, there were periods where many of the Christians were pacifists. They didn't want to engage in that kind of a thing, and so does Scripture require that?

And I would say no, I don't think that it does. There is one instance that the text that I typically go to, Zach, is in Luke chapter 3 where John the Baptist is preparing the way for Jesus, and he's preaching repentance, calling people to come and be baptized, and of course he's rebuking the religious leaders, the scribes and the Pharisees. He's calling them a brood of vipers. But crowds are gathering together because, you know, this is a pretty exciting thing that's happening out there in the wilderness, and crowds asked him, this is Luke chapter 3 verse 10, what shall we do? And again, he's been preaching repentance here.

You know, you guys need to get your lives in order. And so they say, well, what do we do? And he answered them, whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise. Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, teacher, what shall we do? And he said to them, collect no more than you are authorized to do. Soldiers also asked him, this is interesting, and we, what shall we do? And he said to them, do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation. And be content with your wages.

In other words, you know, he doesn't say, oh, you're a soldier. You need to retire immediately. No, he says, don't abuse the position of authority that you have. And be content.

Be content with what you have. Now, that's probably a good word for all of us in whatever we do. If the Lord has placed us in positions of authority where we have influence, not to abuse that authority, but to make sure that we're caring for those who have been entrusted to us and who were called to look over and to be content with the things that the Lord has given to us. And so, Zach, there's an encouragement for you, brother, a call to contentment and a call to serve in whatever you're doing as unto the Lord with integrity, knowing that you're being watched by the King of Heaven. And again, this goes for all of us.

Whatever we've been called to, doing so with integrity and being content in God's gift to us and in his provision in our lives. And once again, Zach, I want to say thank you for your service and thank you for giving us a call. You know, the other military story I just love in the Bible is when the centurion comes to Jesus who has the sick servant.

And you don't have to even come to my house. Just say the word and he'll be healed. Yeah, he knew. He understood how authority worked. And so there you have a great picture of Jesus, a great story where Jesus commends this individual for their faith.

And that would have been a big thing. You know, this is a centurion. This isn't, you know, an Israelite, you know, a guy who's, and yet Jesus commends him for his faith. This is one of the things that you see so often in the New Testament. Jesus commending the Samaritans, right?

Or the centurions or whoever, those who have faith. And so be encouraged, Zach, and may the Lord fill your heart with faith. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can email us at

Here's an email from Larry Adriel. He says, Why do professing born-again believers feel the need to explain the scriptures? If they were written and inspired by the Spirit, then shouldn't we just read them and let them do their work? Are sermons even necessary if we have the Bible?

I hope so, man. You're trying to put me out of a job here. I remember talking once to a friend who's a Mormon who would always say to me, We don't have any paid clergy. And he would boast about that. We don't have any paid clergy. We kind of all just teach each other. And I said, If you paid somebody to study the Bible all day, he wouldn't be a Mormon anymore.

We'd rib each other back and forth. But why have clergy? In scripture, in the New Testament, you have those who labor in preaching and teaching specifically. And they're compensated for that. The apostle Paul talks about this.

The laborer is worthy of his wages. It's supported by the church. And what do they do? They focus on preaching. This is what Paul told Timothy.

Preach the word. 2 Timothy 4, verse 1. And so we do it because it's God's ordained means for the building up of his church, the edification of his church, gathering together to sit under the preaching of the word of God, to hear God speaking to us through the scriptures. Now, we do have the Holy Spirit, and we're called, I think, individually to cultivate a life of prayer and study of the Bible, but we don't want to do that in isolation. In isolation, we do have the Holy Spirit, and the scriptures are clear and powerful, but our hearts are darkened by sin and how easy it is for us to be blinded by our own sins, to read things and twist the scriptures.

I mean, it happened to the religious leaders in Jesus' day, and that's why we need the community of faith around the word of God growing together. I think of that scene in Acts, chapter 8, Philip in the Ethiopian eunuch. In verse 26, it says this, and this really gets to the heart of your question, Larry. An angel of the Lord said to Philip, Rise and go toward the south, to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.

This is a desert place. And he rose and went, and there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure, and he had come to Jerusalem to worship. And he was returning, seated in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, Go over and join his chariot. And Philip ran to him and heard him reading the prophet and asked him, Do you understand what you are reading? And he said, How can I unless someone guides me?

And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of scripture he was reading was this, Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb before its shearers is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation, justice was denied him.

Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth. What a, in God's providence, you know, for the Ethiopian eunuch to be reading that text, this beautiful prophecy of Christ's passion, his suffering and death for us. But he's reading it, and he says, Okay, what am I reading about right now?

I don't know what's going on. And again, providentially, the Lord led Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch. Do you understand?

The eunuch says, No, I need help. And Philip says, I'm your guy. And that's just what the Lord does, is he uses people in our lives to help us understand the scriptures. You see this later in the book of Acts with Priscilla and Aquila helping someone who was mighty in the scriptures, who knew the word of God pretty well, but still had some issues and needed some extra encouragement and help to come into a fuller understanding of the teaching of God's word. And so we praise God for that.

That's something that we should embrace, and not push away from ourselves. There's an arrogance that says, I don't need anyone. I don't need the church. I don't need pastors and elders.

I got this on my own. No, that's not true. We don't. We need one another, and we need the church because God uses it. Now, I'm not saying that every church is perfect or that there is a perfect church. And I'm not saying that if you're a part of a church that teaches bad things or is abusive, that that's, you know, just stay there because God uses it. No, we want to be in good churches that are faithful and walking in the light. And so certainly we need that.

And that text in Acts chapter 8, I think, is a good place to go for your question, Larry. Good counsel. Thanks, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners. This is Mary. My question is, why did Jesus, when he saw the fig tree that had no fruit on it, why did he curse it? Mm-hmm.

Yeah. Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? Well, it's sort of this teaching lesson that Jesus gives to his disciples.

Mark chapter 11 is the text we want to go to. And in verse 12, it says, On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry and seeing in the distance a fig tree. In leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. And when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, May no one ever eat fruit from you again, and his disciples heard it. Now, immediately after this, what does Jesus do? He cleanses the temple. He goes to Jerusalem. He walks into the temple. He turns over the tables.

He starts driving out the money changers. And then in verse 20, we read, As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. I mean, this thing just shriveled up and died. And Peter remembered and said to him, Rabbi, look, the fig tree that you cursed has withered. And Jesus answered them, Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, be taken up and thrown into the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Now, what's interesting there is, he's talking about a mountain being thrown into the sea, cursed. Well, that comes right after Jesus's, you know, cleansing of the temple, in one sense, bringing a curse, you know, saying there's a real issue here.

This place has become the haunt of demons, not a place where prayer is being offered up faithfully. And so it's a picture of judgment, really, on that religious system there in the first century that rejected the gospel. The cursing of the fig tree becomes a parable of that, if you will, a judgment against unbelieving Israel. Now, of course, those who believe are in Christ.

They're welcomed. They're grafted into the vine, the tree, as the apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 11. But it wasn't just that Jesus was hungry, and then he got upset that he couldn't find any fruit on this thing.

He just, bam, you know, you're dead now. No, there's this bigger picture in the context there related to that judgment that came against Jerusalem there in the first century. And so it's important, I would say just a good lesson for reading the scriptures in their context and allowing the surrounding context to help us understand the meaning of a particular verse. Thank you, Mary, for your question, and God bless. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at 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 / 2022-11-18 01:08:15 / 2022-11-18 01:19:04 / 11

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