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Should Churches Be Aggressive Towards the World?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
November 23, 2022 1:30 pm

Should Churches Be Aggressive Towards the World?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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November 23, 2022 1:30 pm

Episode 1104 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. If Adam and Eve sinned by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and Good and Evil, is it a sin to pray about knowledge, to gain knowledge? I know there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom.

2. The church I grew up in was extremely aggressive in the way it talked about judgment and the truth of the Bible as opposed to the ways of the world. I left the church for a time mainly because of this but am plugged into a church now and the teaching is very different. They still teach the Bible but things just aren’t as strict or demanding. I’m just wondering which form of Christianity is true, and do you have to be aggressive towards the world in order to prove that you are really a Christian?

3. My son is asking me if God created evil and if he used it for his own purposes?

4. What does the Bible say about conspiracy theories?

5. How can I bring someone to God who is afraid of him without pushing them away?

6. My son is incredibly smart and while he agrees that there is a God, he is having a hard time figuring out Jesus. How do I share the truth of the gospel with him when he seems too smart for his own good?

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Do you have to be a fundamentalist to be a Christian? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Well, hi there, and Happy Thanksgiving a day in advance. 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 would love to hear from you, and we are live in the studio right now. You can call us with your question at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Now you can also post your question on one of our social media sites. You can watch Adriel live on YouTube right now and message us through our YouTube channel. And of course, you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com.

First up today, here's a question from one of our listeners named Michael. If Adam and Eve extend by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, is it a sin to pray about knowledge, to gain knowledge? I understand that there's a difference between wisdom and knowledge, but knowledge itself, is it a sin to pray for that? Thank you for that question.

Absolutely not. It's not a sin to pray for knowledge, to pursue knowledge and wisdom. I think the book of Proverbs talks a lot about this. In particular, when we're talking about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis chapter 2, I'm just going to read verse 9. Out of the ground the Lord made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life was in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I think the idea here is this picture of rendering judgments. Being able to discern between good and evil is something that the kings in Israel were called to do, to have this discernment.

It's a sign of maturity. The tree is this sign, if you will, of what Adam and Eve were called to, rendering a right judgment, a just judgment, ultimately as it pertained to the serpent and casting the serpent out of the garden. Again, this language of good and evil and discerning between good and evil is something that you see throughout the Bible. One passage that I'll bring up is 1 Kings chapter 3. Remember Solomon's prayer for wisdom. He says, Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this, your great people? This is something the kings of Israel longed for. This is something that ultimately Adam and Eve were called to have as they matured in obedience to the Lord there in the garden.

It's what they didn't do. They didn't exercise wisdom, and they didn't discern between good and evil like they were supposed to, and they chose the evil. Thank you for that question, and may the Lord bless you as you continue to pursue wisdom and knowledge in the Lord. I'm so glad you pointed that out, Adriel, because there at times can be sort of an anti-knowledge bias in the church. I've heard some people say, Well, you don't really need theology. You don't need to go to seminary. You just need to read God's word, and somehow knowledge is bad, and I'm guessing you would disagree with that.

Absolutely. We're called to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I think sometimes we can sort of pit the head and the heart against each other, right? It's a heart religion. It's about feeling. You don't need to get deep into all this theology mumbo-jumbo, but the fact of the matter is as we understand the Bible and sound doctrine, our hearts are really stirred.

They should be stirred, and that's rooted in a right understanding of what the Bible reveals to us, and so we need that knowledge if we're going to know the Lord. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open right now. If you have a question, here's the number to call.

It's 1-833-843-2673. Now we're open to questions about the Bible, the Christian life, if you've got some doubts about the Christian faith. Adriel will be glad to talk to you about that.

Maybe you're wondering how your Christian faith intersects with your daily life and today's culture. We'd be happy to take a question on that topic as well. So give us a call. 833-843-2673.

That's 833, the core. Here's a question from one of our listeners named Allison. Oh, I'm sorry, it's an email from Allison.

My mistake. Here's what Allison said. The church I grew up in was extremely aggressive in the way it talked about judgment and the truth of the Bible as opposed to the ways of the world. I left that church for a time, mainly because of this, but I'm plugged into a church now and the teaching is very different. They still teach the Bible, but things just aren't as strict or demanding. I'm wondering which form of Christianity is true, and do you have to be aggressive toward the world in order to prove that you're really a Christian?

Allison, thank you for that question. I'll just tell you one thing that really concerns me that I see happening in the church today is you do have some churches and pastors taking this very aggressive stance against the world, sort of us versus them. We're very negative about everything that's taking place in the world. Obviously, when you think of the sin in society, we should lament and mourn those things, but there is this danger, I think, that if we're not careful, we can begin to think that Jesus came to save us from sinners, not from sin. We can start to look down on all the people in the world out there who are causing all of these problems and we're dealing with them. We're being bold for Jesus, aggressively dealing with these sinners out there. We have to remember, Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He has a heart of compassion for sinners. Now, he never condones sin, but he does justify sinners. As a church, we're called to let our light shine before men so that they might see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.

Do we take strong stances against certain things, certain sins out there? Yeah, we should on the basis of scripture, but we're calling people to faith and repentance, to receive the grace of Christ. I think if we're complaining all the time about our neighbors and just how bad everything is, it's going to be really hard for us to engage them with the gospel. I think what the apostle Paul said in Colossians chapter 4 verse 5, I think this gets to your question, Alison. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. He's talking about how you engage the world, outsiders, that is those who are not a part of the church. He doesn't say, do it with a hammer, do it aggressively, make sure that they know how horrible they are and how good you are as a follower of Jesus. He says, let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt. Remember what Jesus again said, you are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Paul is echoing there in Colossians 4 the words of our Lord Jesus. I think a faithful ministry looks like expositing the scriptures well, being faithful to the text of scripture. That should lead us to have a greater love for sinners who are in the world so that we're engaging them, building bridges over which we can carry the gospel, the message of salvation in Jesus Christ.

It shouldn't be this sort of culture war, us versus them, we're great, they're bad. That sounds a lot to me like the Pharisees, and I don't want to have anything to do with that. As we grow in the word, we should have that grace, that heart of compassion, being strong against sin, but compassionate towards sinners. Thanks, Allison. I don't know if you're old enough to remember this, Adriel, but there was a character on Saturday Night Live called the church lady, played by Dana Carvey. I do remember some of these, yeah.

When people talk like that, it reminds me so much of, well, isn't that special? We want to let you know that we have a special offer just in time for Thanksgiving, and it's something that we think will really encourage you this time of year. It's called Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving.

Yeah, get a hold of it if you haven't gotten a hold of it yet. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it's not about gorging ourselves with food, although there is a lot of good food and I hope that you have a lot of good food around your table. It is about what we're called to do every single day as followers of Jesus Christ, and that is to give thanks to the Lord. We have this resource, Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving, and I think it's a resource that will help you to do just that, to stir your heart and to produce in you Thanksgiving, and so get a hold of this resource. You can download it for free over at corechristianity.com.

Love to have you get your hands on this today, and maybe you could read it with your family, with your kids tomorrow on Thanksgiving Day. Here's the URL. Just go to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. That's corechristianity.com forward slash offers, and of course you can always call us for that or any one of our offers, 833-843-2673.

Well, Adriel, here's a Facebook question from Beth, and she says, I'm a longtime listener to the program. My son asks, where did evil come from? Did God create evil for his own purposes?

Beth, thank you for that question. A question also, I mean, my kids have asked that question as well, and the answer to, you know, did God create evil? Has God the author of evil, the author of sin?

We would say no to that, and we have to make some really careful distinctions here. James, in James chapter one, says, let no one say when he is tempted. I am being tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted by evil or with evil, and he himself tempts no one, but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James' point there is, look, we can't blame God for our sin. We can't blame God for our evil.

We're responsible creatures. We make decisions, and God gave Adam and Eve in the garden freedom of will. We talked about, you know, the Genesis chapters two and three, the fall in chapter three, and he gave them free will to choose, to follow. They chose not to. They sinned.

They fell. We fell in Adam, and we, you know, day by day, we also choose to sin. It's God's grace that he draws us to himself through his son Jesus, and so God is not the author of evil, but we can say this. He's able to use the evil actions of human beings for his own purposes, and of course, that's one of the things that we see so clearly throughout the Bible. Think of the foremost example, the example of the crucifixion itself, right? I mean, here is, you know, one of the most heinous things, the most heinous thing to ever happen in the history of humanity, the murder of the son of God, and yet God somehow was mysteriously at work in and through that to redeem mankind, you know, those who put their faith in Jesus Christ. You see this very clearly in Acts chapter four, where you have this prayer of the disciples, where they say, truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. In other words, somehow God was working sovereignly through these circumstances.

These people were responsible, these people who put Jesus to death, Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, the people of Israel, they're going to be judged for that, and yet somehow God is able to make all things work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. And so, thank you for that question, and may the Lord bless you. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open right now. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, a doctrine or theology, we'll be taking questions for another 10 minutes or so. So hop on the phone right now at 833-843-2673.

That's 833 The Core. By the way, we should remind you that if you're listening to this program later in the day or in the evening or on the weekend, some radio stations actually air our program by tape delay. So if you want to call in and talk to Adriel live in the studio, here's the time you want to do it, 1130 a.m. Pacific Time, which translates into 1230 Mountain, 130 Central, or 230 Eastern. That's the time that we're actually on the air live in the studio, so give us a call during that time. If you call us at a different time today, you can always leave a voicemail. Well, let's go to an interesting question we received from one of our listeners last week. Hi there. I was wondering what the Bible says about conspiracy theories. Thank you. Yeah.

Yeah, it seems like there are quite a few of them floating around out there, and I think with social media and Twitter and all that stuff, they sort of spread like wildfire. Two passages of scripture come to mind. The first one is in Isaiah Chapter 8, beginning in verse 11, and it's speaking about the fear of the Lord. Thus is the Lord, for thus the Lord spoke with me, His strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, Him you shall honor as holy. Let Him be your fear.

Let Him be your dread. In other words, don't get caught up in fear because of all of these things that the people are saying around you, these conspiracies. You know who you should fear?

The Lord, the Holy One of Israel. One of my problems, one of the big issues out there that I have with these conspiracy theories is people get sucked into them. They produce anxiety and fear, terror, and what we don't focus on is the fear of the Lord mortifying our sins. We need to focus on the Lord, brothers and sisters. He should be our fear.

We don't need to be afraid of the things that people of this world are concerned with, the conspiracies that they're talking about. Fix your eyes on the Lord. So that's one passage of scripture, but just another helpful encouragement, I think, from the book of 2 Timothy in chapter 2, verse 23. Paul told Timothy, Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies. You know that they breed quarrels.

Isn't that the case? When you hear about a lot of these conspiracy theories that are out there, what does it breed? Fear, anxiety, quarreling? Have nothing to do with that, Paul tells Timothy.

Don't waste your time with that, with the latest conspiracy theory that's out there that's causing everyone to be afraid. Fear the Lord and focus on his word. Thanks for that question. Man, when you read that verse from Timothy, it reminds me of Twitter and social media. I mean, let's be honest, there's just so much floating around out there.

And what is Paul telling us to do? Stay away from that stuff, right? Yeah. Yeah. We've got to be wise with especially how we use social media, because it could be a real downer, actually.

So use it wisely. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Joel calling in from Kansas. Joel, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? My question is, how do I bring somebody to God who's afraid of God, or if they've had issues in the past, without overstepping and pushing them away instead of bringing them closer?

Yeah, and I don't know what specific issues you're referring to. I know people who have experienced trauma, and even church-related trauma, that can be a real difficult situation. And I think, one, just a faithful presence, being an example of what a godly Christian looks like as a friend, as an encourager, as someone who will pray for you and walk alongside of you as you're experiencing difficult things. Being a model there in those things, especially when people have had bad experiences. And again, I don't know what exactly the experience you're referring to is, but when they've had bad experiences in the church, they feel abandoned or they've been abused, it's really hard for them to... I mean, just imagine the trauma.

It's hard to understand how this could happen in a context that's supposed to be safe. And so I think, one, just being a model of that safety of godly behavior, godly conduct, prayer, and ultimately knowing we can't force anyone or coerce anyone to the Lord. Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit, and so I would just encourage you to pray for this friend, that the Lord, by the grace of his spirit, would heal the wounds, whatever those wounds are, the fear, it sounds like you said they're scared, that God would intervene and work. And one of the ways that God works is through his word. And so as you continue to have this friendship, bringing God's word into the mix, talking about who Jesus is, why, as sinners, fear, the fear of the Lord, going back to that text in Isaiah chapter 8, but knowing that God is gracious towards sinners, that he calls us to repentance, that he offers us his mercy.

And so I would just say, be a faithful friend, a good example of the love of Christ, and bring God's word to bear when there are opportunities, and pray that the Lord would soften this individual's heart. God bless. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

How can we learn to express gratitude to God and others? Well, we have a wonderful resource available for you right before Thanksgiving. It's called Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving. You can find that by going to our website, CoreChristianity.com forward slash offers.

It's absolutely free. Again, it's called Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving. You can also call us for that or any one of our offers at 833-843-2673. Let's go to Michael calling in from Ashley, Illinois. Michael, what's your question for Adriel?

Good afternoon. I have a 24-year-old son, and he is very, very intelligent. He is now a mechanical engineer. And he says he understands that God exists, that we couldn't be here without God. But he says that there are so many different, what are known as religions, that he can't wrap his head around Jesus Christ.

And I need help. And how to convince him that Jesus is the only one? I just need suggestions on how to help my son. Well, let's pray right now for Michael and for Michael's son. Father, we just lift Michael up to you. One, as a father longing to see his son know and love Jesus, I pray for him that you would fill him with your spirit, that you would grant him wisdom. Lord, that you would give him opportunities to continue to have these conversations with his son, but give him wisdom, Lord, to bring your word to bear. And for his son, Lord, as his son wrestles through some of these questions, I pray, Lord, that you would open his heart, that he would see the glory of your son, gracious Father, through scripture and by the power of the Holy Spirit, that you would reveal yourself to him, that you would draw him to yourself, God, and that you would be with this family. We ask in Jesus' name.

Amen. It sounds to me, Michael, like your son is having a hard time with the exclusivity of the Gospel, with all these other religions out there. And he sounds like a smart guy. Of course, one of the issues is we know that they can't all be true when they're saying very different things. A lot of people today want to say, well, all religions basically say the same thing, love God, love each other. And so at their core, they're the same, basically. But the fact of the matter is we know that the religions of the world don't basically say the same thing.

Most of them have these moral standards, love God, love one another. But beyond that, in terms of what salvation is, of who God is, very different. Islam, for example, rejects that Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead, that he's the eternal son of God. Jesus himself says that he is those things and that he did do those things for our salvation. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15, says if Jesus didn't rise from the dead, we're lost.

We're still in our sins. And so they can't all be true and they're not all the same. And so what makes Christianity unique, distinct? Well, Christianity is the only religion where God sent his son into the world in history, in time, and he revealed himself to us.

I think of what John said in John 1, verse 18. No one has ever seen God, the only God who was at the father's side, he has made him known. In other words, you know how we know God? It's through Jesus. God has revealed himself to us so clearly, not just through creation.

It sounds like your son understands. I look at the creation, I realize there has to be a God, but beyond that, he's given us this special revelation of his word and ultimately of his very son, the word made flesh, who came to earth for us and for our salvation. Christianity is unique because it doesn't teach us what we need to do to get to God, the laws we have to keep in order for God to accept us. It's about the God who loves people who broke his law, who failed, who sinned. And so talking about what makes the Christian faith unique, the forgiveness of sins, the revelation of who God is in his son, Jesus.

This is something you're not going to find anywhere else. There are some helpful resources, Michael, that we can probably get in your hands. Just a couple books on apologetics that I think would be great for you to check out. One is a book called The Story of Reality by Greg Kochel. He gets into some of the things that you're asking about.

I would encourage you to get that book and encourage your son to read that book as well. Maybe that could produce some more conversation, but we will continue to pray for you, brother. Just remember that the Lord hears your prayers. I oftentimes bring up the story of Monica and St. Augustine. St. Augustine was converted to Christ when he was in his early thirties, and his mother prayed for him every day.

He said she watered the ground with her tears. For a long time, it didn't seem like he was coming around. He would argue with his mom about why he didn't believe, and he was real intellectual about it. But the Lord changed his heart. God is able, Michael. I want to just encourage you also to continue to pray for your son as you have these conversations, knowing that it's the Holy Spirit who does the work, and may God be with you in that.

Bill, it really is the big distinction there, right? The gospel reveals to us not what we need to do so that God will love us, but how God has already loved sinners, and that's the beautiful thing about the Christian faith. 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 / 2022-12-01 23:45:17 / 2022-12-01 23:55:27 / 10

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