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Should Churches Require Members to Attend Small Groups?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
November 21, 2022 4:58 pm

Should Churches Require Members to Attend Small Groups?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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November 21, 2022 4:58 pm

Episode 1102 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. Is it OK for Christian couples to purposely not have children?

2. Is a Christian who attends Sunday service faithfully but does not attend midweek small groups or other church activities throughout the week considered “forsaking the fellowship of the saints”?

3. What does 2 Thessalonians 2:11 mean?

4. Is it too late to be saved on our deathbed?

5. How should you respond when someone says that they’ve forgiven you but continue to bring up past sins again and again?

6. Could you please unpack Matthew 13:38-39? Are the people mentioned here the Sons of Perdition?

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Should churches require members to attend midweek gatherings? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, 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.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, if you want to post your question on one of our social media sites, you can do that right now. You can also watch Adriel live in the studio on YouTube and send us a message through our YouTube channel. And of course, you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Stephanie, who's calling in from California. Stephanie, what's your question for Adriel?

Hello. My question is that I have known a lot of Christians who, for various different reasons, have decided not to have children, and I was just wondering if that is an okay decision for a Christian to make. That's a great question, and I've also noticed this as well, Stephanie, among many of my peers. I guess I think the question is, what is the reason behind the decision? I think that there can be good reasons for an individual or a couple saying, hey, maybe right now is not the time for us to have children. There can also be selfish reasons, wrong reasons as well. I think that one of the bigger issues today is just kind of this shift in how people, culture more broadly views family and children. There are a lot of jokes out there in society, you know, children are just kind of a nuisance, that sort of a thing, and just take and take and take, and so I don't want anything to do with that, and so a lot of people, I think, are choosing not to have children.

I think it can be for very selfish reasons. We need to recover the Bible's view of the family and of children, and I love what the psalmist said in Psalm 127. I'm just going to read the whole psalm because it's short. Verse one, Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil, for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward, like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them.

He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. The children are a blessing, a blessing, a gift from the Lord, and that's something that the Bible teaches. That's something that we should believe as Christians and embrace on the basis of God's word, and it's something that many in society today don't believe. We reject that, and so I think if we bought into that lie that children are not a blessing given to us by God for us to teach, to disciple, well, then there's a serious problem, but that doesn't mean, as I said, that there may not be some legitimate reasons, good reasons, godly reasons even for saying, right now is not the time for us to have children, and so this is an issue of wisdom. It's an area where I think couples really have to pray and ask themselves, what is our priority, and are we honoring the Lord?

Are we honoring his word, or are we focused on ourselves? So there's some freedom here, but I really do think we need to recover just that beautiful, high view of the family that the scriptures give to us, and so, Stephanie, thank you for that question. You know, Adriel, you mentioned that you've known some people that have made that decision. There's that term, dinks, dual income, no kids, and unfortunately, as you said, there's a lot of people, especially in the millennial generation, that are saying, you know what, we just want to be able to party and travel and not have those kids as a burden on our lives, right?

Now, Bill, don't be talking about the millennials, because that's me, man, so I don't want any problems here with you. Yeah, I mean, that is, I think, how some people view it, right, is, well, we don't want kids because we want to live our best life now, and so, you know, this is why this decision requires wisdom, and we really need to pursue the Lord, pray, ask for wisdom. I can say, I mean, God, I have four kids, and my wife is due this month with our fifth.

Is it hard work? Yes, it is, but is it just so much joy and such a blessing? Absolutely, I mean, I know that it is, and I know that you know that as well, Bill, and so, just something, I think what we're seeing all around us is sort of indicative, as I mentioned earlier, of just the sense that many people have in broader society.

This is sort of minimizing of the family that we're seeing all over the place, and so that's not in line with what the Scriptures teach. Very well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez. One of the ways you can ask us a question is by calling and leaving a voicemail 24 hours a day. We try to listen to our voicemails each day, and here's the phone number to call. It's 833-THE-CORE. Here's a voicemail that came in last week.

Hi, Adrian. Thank you for taking my question. My wife and I are members in good standing at our local church. We attend Sunday morning Bible study in addition to main service faithfully.

We are business owners, and our business requires a lot of time and attention and flexibility within our schedule, especially on evenings and weekends. This conflicts with scheduled church Bible studies, prayer meetings, discipleship groups, and extracurricular church activities. Other members in our congregation are suggesting that we are violating Hebrews 10.24-25 because we do not attend these activities with them outside of our faithful church attendance every Sunday.

Their position seems to be very legalistic to us. Adrian, are we in violation of Hebrews 10.24-25, or are we free in Christ to continue our weekly fellowship once a week as our schedule permits? Thank you for taking my question. Thank you for that question.

Very articulate. I'm just going to say, let's go to Hebrews 10.24-25. Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near. The context here, the author of the Hebrews is writing to a group of Christians who are forsaking the fellowship. By forsaking the fellowship, what he means is they're not attending the Wednesday night Bible studies. They're not going to the Tuesday morning prayer group. They're abandoning, essentially, Christ and the gospel. They're beginning to go back to the old covenant sacrificial system. That's why the author of the Hebrews throughout this book is providing them with some really stern warnings. He's saying if you go back to that, you're in serious trouble. You're trampling Christ underfoot, actually. He goes on to say that later in chapter 10. Because you don't go to a Wednesday night Bible study or that kind of a thing, you're not forsaking the fellowship.

I think it really is important for us to understand this. I remember when I was in college, I went to a church plant. This church plant was really a wonderful church. It was a good place for me to be at that time.

I had a very flexible schedule in college. We were able to get together all the time. We would do discipleship groups and Bible studies throughout the week and, of course, church on the Lord's Day. We were gathering together quite a bit. Then I moved and switched churches. I went to a church that didn't have all of those Bible studies and discipleship groups.

At first I was kind of judgmental. I was thinking, okay, this church is not really fellowshipping like they ought to be. But I realized the demographic of the church was very different. It wasn't a bunch of young college students who had extra time on their hands and their schedules permitted them to get together like this.

It was a lot of families with children and business owners and people that were working a nine-to-five job. You go home after a long day of work and you want to spend time with your wife, with your children. You want to care for them. I think that's what God calls you to do. I would say, look, be committed to gathering with the saints on the Lord's Day, worshiping together, receiving the means of grace, the preaching of God's word, the sacraments, the ordinances of grace that Jesus gave to the church, baptism, the Lord's Supper. That's what God calls us to. Then when there are opportunities for fellowship, you're able to be hospitable or someone has you in their home, yeah, take advantage of that.

We do want to cultivate those relationships. Of course, we know that the Christian life isn't just something we live on Sundays but throughout the entire week. You are called to be faithful in your work, to be faithful to your family.

If you have children, to love your children, to care for them, to be present with them. I'm concerned that sometimes if we have so many things going on in the life of the church, we're pulling people away from oftentimes what their primary calling is in terms of just loving their families well, discipling your children. That takes work. That takes time. If we're going to all of these meetings throughout the week, that can be very difficult.

Just on the basis of the context of Hebrews 10, the answer to your question is no, you are not forsaking the assembly. I would say continue to fellowship at your church. Go to church on Sunday. Receive and love your family well. Work hard and may the Lord bless you as you do that, brother. Great counsel.

Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. With Thanksgiving coming up, we have a very special resource just in time for that holiday.

Yes, as the holiday season begins to ramp up, we have a brand new free resource that our listeners can download at corechristianity.com. Five biblical reminders for Thanksgiving. This is really important because we often see posts on social media about the importance of being grateful, being thankful, but how do we truly do that? How do we really have that thankfulness that the scriptures call us to all over the place?

Paul, give thanks for all circumstances, he says. We want to help you to give thanks. That's what this resource is going to do for you. And as we already said, it's a free download over at corechristianity.com.

Love to send that to you or have you download it. Just go to corechristianity.com forward slash offers to look for that five biblical reminders for Thanksgiving. And as always, you can call us for that resource or any one of our resources, 833-843-2673. Let's go to another caller. This is John from Modesto, California. John, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Hello, thank you for taking my call. I have a question concerning 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 11 specifically. And up until this past Sunday, my pastor addressed it as a, he is saying that it was a post-rapture prophecy, but before this past Sunday, I always took it as a pre-rapture prophecy verse concerning, you know, God sending a deluding, you know, blinding people's eyes, basically that thought they were Christians. And I just would like to get your thoughts on this verse specifically or, you know, what's the proper context if you could explain that.

I appreciate it. Yeah. Yeah, thank you for that question. Of course, you know, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, these are the books we want to go to when we're thinking about the coming of the Lord, the day of the Lord. And you mentioned the rapture, you know, is this pre-rapture? Is this after the rapture? Oftentimes, you know, when we get questions about the second coming of Christ or the rapture, one of the things I like to say, John, is that there's a lot of difference of opinion about that within the church, not issues that we need to, you know, say, well, this person is not a Christian because they don't hold to that view. But, for example, you know, there are some who say, well, there's a rapture where the church is lifted up into heaven, those who are the believers on earth at the time that Christ calls them, and then there's a time of great tribulation where you have this man of sin, this man of lawlessness, this strong delusion that's described in 2 Thessalonians 2, verse 11, as you say, and then you have the second coming. Now, my position, and I believe that this is the historical position of the church and I think it's faithful to what the word of God teaches, that there isn't, you know, a rapture and then a second coming, but that the passages that are often pointed to in defense of this idea of a rapture are usually just passages that are talking about the second coming of Jesus. And so this is an event that's taking place prior to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, associated with the man who's identified as the man of lawlessness there in 2 Thessalonians 2.

There is this great rebellion, if you will, this great apostasy that's taking place. And of course, we know that this is something that the disciples warned about throughout the New Testament. I think about what the Apostle Paul says in 1 Timothy 4, verse 1. The Spirit expressly says that in the latter days, many will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and the doctrines of demons. And so this is an apostasy that is taking place prior to the second coming, and that strong delusion is essentially God giving these people over to their own desires. They don't want the gospel, they don't want Jesus, they don't want forgiveness. They continue to harden their hearts against the Lord, and so the Lord says, okay, have it your way.

We read about this in other places in the New Testament, like Romans chapter 1 as well. And so our call right now is not to harden our hearts, to believe. We're just looking at the book of Hebrews in Hebrews chapter 10, the importance of fellowship and not forsaking the assembly earlier in the book of Hebrews, in Hebrews chapter 3, verse 12. Here's what we're called to in the midst of this strong delusion, the false teaching that's taking place, and people who are turning towards it. We're called to this, Hebrews chapter 3, verse 12, take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. The world around us, as they reject the gospel, there is this hardening that takes place. We need the Spirit of God to work, to open hearts, to soften hearts. And we also need to be on guard, brothers and sisters, that we are exhorting one another, encouraging one another in our walks with the Lord, pointing each other to Christ and to his gospel, so that we don't experience that hardening that takes place as a result of sin.

And so, just in terms of chronology, that description there in chapter 2 of 2 Thessalonians is really this event taking place prior to the second coming of our Lord. Thanks, Jon. Hey, Jon, thanks so much for your question, and thanks for digging into God's Word and really applying it to your life. We appreciate that so much. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go to Joanne in St. Louis, Missouri. Joanne, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Pastor Adriel. Thank you for your sacrifice and your diligence every day.

I listen to you and I appreciate you, and God bless you and your ministry. My question is concerning deathbed salvation. I hear a lot of different opinions, some say yes, some say no, I'm in the scriptures, I don't see it. But those that say you can get deathbed salvation, they always go to the thief on the cross. So can you please help me with that?

Yeah. Well, one, thank you for your kind words. My pleasure to get to serve you in the body of Christ in this way. And that was actually the passage of scripture that was coming to my mind. I like to say, look, so long as a person has breath in their lungs, it's never too late. The Spirit of God can still work and does work.

And of course, the thief on the cross in Luke chapter 23, verses 39 through 43, is one example where you have this man who is a criminal, a sinner, facing capital punishment. He's there, he's dying, he's about to breathe his last breath, and yet Jesus says to him, he says to Jesus first, remember me when you come into your kingdom, and Jesus said to him, truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. And so yes, there is hope. We should never give up hope on an individual. Even if they're on their last breath, we ought to pray that the Lord would cause the light of his truth to shine through in their hearts. And I believe a hundred percent, Joanne, that the Lord can save someone.

Now, here's the thing. It's not wise for us to think to ourselves, I'm going to live my life for myself, and then once I'm on my deathbed, I'm going to call on the name of Jesus, and he's just going to forgive me, and it'll be all good. And so I remember long ago, prior to walking with the Lord, I used to think like that. I used to think, well, I'm going to do my own thing, and then when I've had my fun, I'll add some religion to my life. I'll start going to church or embrace Jesus after I've done my own thing. I don't really want to follow him now.

Well, that's a bad idea. Today is the day of salvation, and we don't know what tomorrow holds for us, so we turn to the Lord now, and for individuals who are in that state on their deathbed, there is the hope, the possibility of salvation, because God is able to open the heart and to redeem. So thank you again for your encouragement and for that question. And as you said, never a good idea to wait, because we're all just our car accident or our brain aneurysm away from meeting our maker, right?

Yeah, it's just, right? And also, I think one of the things we miss there is there is nothing better than knowing the Lord and knowing his love. We think, oh boy, I want to go and live my life and have fun, but in his presence is fullness of joy. And so if you're someone who, you know, you think about God, you think about Jesus, and you think, oh gosh, it just seems so boring, I want to live my own life, and then maybe later get some religion. Well, you don't understand who Jesus is, how great he is, how good he is, his love for you, the joy that is found in him and in his spirit. And so we should waste no time in turning to him and in drawing near to him and getting to know him.

Amen. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Linda in Pasadena, California. Linda, what's your question?

Hi, thank you so much for taking my call. I was wondering about what the best response is for a Christian who has hurt somebody and has asked for forgiveness, and that person has told them that they have been forgiven, that they forgive them, but it just continually keeps getting brought up. Like, it doesn't feel like it has been forgiven. And basically, like, is there a best way to respond to that? Do you just keep apologizing?

How do you even understand what to do? Yeah, what we need is love in the Christian life. Thank you for that question, Linda. My mind goes to Paul's words in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, where he had a group of Christians who were, you know, the Corinthian church, if you're familiar with the church at Corinth, I mean, they had a lot of issues. Immorality in the church, they were suing each other, they were dividing, they were not getting along as brothers and sisters in Christ, they were not forgiving each other as they should. And so Paul gives 1 Corinthians 13, not as a, you know, like the forever scripture to read at weddings, you know, which is kind of, I think, what people treat it as. What it is really is it's a rebuke to the Corinthians.

He's saying, look, this is what love is, and it's the opposite of how you guys have been living. Paul says in verse 4, love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. And here, in the context, there is also just this sense of love not keeping a record of wrong. It doesn't rejoice in wrongdoing. It rejoices in the truth.

It's not continually bringing these things up. Now, forgiveness isn't an easy thing, we know, and I think you can truly forgive someone and yet still feel pain, you know, from what's happened. And I think a part of forgiveness is not continuing to hold on to that and hurt the other person or hold that against them. It's saying, look, we're going to forgive. We're going to free this other person from this debt that they owe because they've sinned against us. And so I think the best thing in this situation is just to talk and to have a conversation about, hey, what does it mean to forgive?

And more specifically, what does it look like for us to love each other within the body of Christ? Love does not keep a record of wrong. I think of even how the Lord has loved us, you know, the psalmist says, if you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, who could stand but with you there is forgiveness that you may be feared? In other words, God, if you were just keeping a record of all my wrongdoing, if you were just, you know, tallying it up and there was no forgiveness, who could stand if you were just bringing it up over and over again?

None of us. We would be dust, but with you there is forgiveness. And so I think drawing from that forgiveness we've received from the Lord, understanding His love toward us and extending that love toward each other and when the fault is brought up again, saying, okay, let's work through this, let's forgive again. Because that's just, you know, forgiveness is messy, so sometimes those things happen. But identifying that for what it is and working through it and striving to love one another. God bless you.

Thanks, Linda. This is Core Christianity. One quick question before we go today.

This is a YouTube question from one of our viewers. They say, could you please unpack Matthew 13, 38 through 39 about the terrors or children of the evil one? Is this talking about the sons of perdition?

Thank you. Here, this is so, I love this question because I've just been reading through Matthew in the mornings and I was thinking about this just the other day. So you have these terrors that are sown in the field of the master. And the enemy, verse 39, who sowed them is the devil.

The harvest is the end of the age. The reapers are the angels. Now who are these terrors? Well, in the context of Matthew's Gospel, if you just turn a little bit ahead to Matthew chapter 15, Jesus says, referring to the Pharisees and to the scribes in Matthew 15, verse 13, every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.

And so here it seems like in the context, these terrors are those religious leaders who have an external image of being faithful, of being religious, but what they don't have is the Gospel. They don't believe in Jesus. They don't belong to Jesus.

They haven't been planted by Jesus. Appreciate that question. May the Lord bless you and thanks 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-22 19:41:26 / 2022-11-22 19:51:42 / 10

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