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Are There Steps to Becoming a Christian?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
November 30, 2022 4:22 pm

Are There Steps to Becoming a Christian?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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November 30, 2022 4:22 pm

Episode 1109 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

 

1. What does it mean that the devil is “bound for a thousand years”?

2. Does the Bible say anything about the existence of ghosts?

3. Is becoming a Christian a process?

4. What should I do if I have romantic thoughts about the same-sex?

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Are there steps to becoming a Christian? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Now, you can also post your question on one of our social media sites. In fact, we have a YouTube channel and you can watch Adriel right now on YouTube in the studio and send him a question that way. And of course, you're always welcome to email us your question. Here's our email address. It's questions at core Christianity dot com.

Well, first up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Sam. I was wondering about in the Book of Revelation where the devil is bound for a thousand years in the all millennial view. We don't take that literally. And I was just wanting your opinion because I know you have all millennial view. I was also wondering if your resource or the Book of Revelation is from all millennial view. And I want to pray for you. Heavenly Father, just come before your throne of grace with boldness. We thank you for the access that you've granted us through the blood of your son. I thank you for Pastor Ed, Bill Meyer, Lord, and I thank you for the ministry that is going out from there in California, Lord, touching people all the way over on the East Coast, in Tennessee, many, many places abroad. And I'm so thankful for your grace and mercy and your faithful servants that you have in Pastor Adriel and Bill Meyer to rightly divide your word.

They are dear brothers, and I'm so grateful for them. I ask you to continue to bless their ministry, Lord, and continue to raise up harvesters for the field. In Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. Sam, what an encouragement, brother.

Thank you so much for your prayers for this ministry, and just pray that we continue to bless you as well in the work that we do. So you have a question about eschatology, the end times, and in particular what my view is of the millennium. This comes from Revelation chapter 20 where John has this vision. Revelation chapter 20 beginning in verse 1, I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that serpent, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan and bound him for a thousand years, that's the millennium, and threw him into the pit and shut it and sealed it over him so that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were ended.

After that, he must be released for a little while. Now there are really three primary views on this. There is the premillennial view, so millennium, premillennial, premillennial view, which is that Christ is returning, the second coming happens prior to the millennium, prior to the binding of Satan. So the millennium is something in the future, and the idea is that Jesus is going to come back, establish his kingdom on earth, and then reign on earth for a thousand years, and then Satan is going to be released.

That's the premillennial view. There's also the postmillennial view, which sees the millennium as happening during this present age, a period in the postmillennial view would be sort of a golden age for humanity and for the church on earth. We're ushering in, if you will, the second coming of Jesus Christ, and he comes back to a world that has in one sense been Christianized.

The amillennial view is distinct from both of those views, although I think there are some similarities with the postmillennial view, but it's distinct in that we believe, I believe, that Jesus Christ is presently reigning right now from heaven, that his kingdom is primarily manifested in the life of the church here on earth. It really is the new creation, if you will, and so it's been inaugurated. The kingdom is here. It spreads through the ministry of word and sacrament.

It's going to be consummated. It's going to come in a fuller way when Jesus returns to earth, but that would mean that, yes, Satan is currently bound. Now, the reason he's bound in Revelation chapter 20 is so that he might not deceive the nations any longer.

Again, remember that Revelation is a book full of symbolic images and even symbolic numbers in the number 666, for example, or the seven spirits of God earlier in the book of Revelation. It's important for us to understand this as we are approaching the book of Revelation, but specifically that that purpose clause it's given, the binding of Satan has to do with him not being able to deceive the nations any longer. Ever since the coming of Christ, the gospel has been spreading, not just among the Jews, but also among the Gentiles. I mean, that's one of the things that we see in the book of Acts is that the nations that were once in darkness have now received the light of Christ. And this is precisely what Jesus said he came to do during his earthly ministry is bind Satan. You see this in the gospels in Matthew chapter 11, verse 29, for example, in Mark chapter 3, verse 27, he's come to bind the strong man so that he might plunder his house. And right now, through the preaching of the holy gospel, the kingdom of Satan, the evil one, is being plundered as the light of Christ spreads throughout the whole world. Remember that the author of the book of Revelation is John as well. And in the gospel of John, in John chapter 12, Jesus says something very interesting. John chapter 12, verse 31, now is the judgment of this world. Now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. They're referring to the nations, flocking to Christ, Satan being definitively judged, cast out, if you will. I think that's parallel to the binding of Satan in Revelation chapter 20.

Why? For what purpose? So that all people might be drawn to Jesus. It doesn't mean that Satan isn't still active in the world today. It just means that the nations are no longer in darkness, that Christ through his ministry has bound the strong man, the evil one. And now the gospel is spreading, and we praise God for that. And that should give us confidence as we preach the gospel, as we share the gospel with others. That's what God calls us to do as Christ continues to build his church on earth. Thank you so much for that question.

Let me just say, I know, I mean, it's such an important question. You also asked about the resource that we have on the book of Revelation, which I hope that you get a hold of. It's a 10-week Bible study on the book of Revelation.

Here's what I'll say. I'm currently preaching through the book of Revelation in our church. And one of the things I've been struck by is even with all of the differences with regard to eschatology and views of the end time, really at the heart of the book of Revelation, the focus on the care that Christ has for his suffering persecuted church and what it looks like for us as the people of God to be comforted and to persevere in the faith is something that really all the views, I mean, we can all look at the book of Revelation and say that's the main point. That's the focus. And that's really what you're going to get from this study is a real practical, you know, Christ speaking to us as his church on earth experiencing tribulation and suffering and thinking through the word of comfort that Jesus has for us in the midst of that. And I think that's something that, you know, whether someone is post-millennial or a millennial or pre-millennial, you can see that in the book of Revelation. It really should be the main focus of our studies.

And it certainly is of this study. Thank you for your question. Well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is 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. Maybe you have some doubts about the Christian faith. Maybe you consider yourself an agnostic or an atheist, and you've got some questions for Adriel. Hey, he'd be glad to talk to you as well.

Or maybe you're dealing with something where your Christian walk is butting up against something in today's culture and you're feeling some sort of persecution. Hey, we'd love to hear from you. Here's our phone number again. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Brian who's calling in from Waterloo, Iowa, or Indiana.

I'm sorry, Brian. What's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yeah, Adriel, there's several times in the scripture where the disciples thought that Jesus was a ghost, like when he was walking on water and after the resurrection. And there's a lot of shows on TV, you know, where they're looking for ghosts in haunted houses. Now, the scripture doesn't really say there is ghosts or there's not ghosts, but what people think is ghosts, are they actually demons? What does the scripture say?

Yeah, great question. And you brought up that text in Mark chapter 6 where, you know, the disciples are straining at the oars in the middle of the storm and Jesus comes to them in the middle of the night and he's walking on the water and they're terrified at first. And the text says that when they saw him, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. Now, I think what the Bible teaches about what happens when we die is pretty clear. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness and they immediately pass into glory in the presence of the Lord. In other words, we're not floating around earth, you know, haunting people and trying to communicate with our loved ones, that kind of a thing. No, you look at the book of Revelation, for example, or Hebrews, Hebrews chapter 12 specifically, where the author of the Hebrews is painting a picture of the throne room of God in heaven, if you will, surrounded by the souls of the righteous made perfect, worshipping God. And so the idea that, you know, when we die, some people are just sort of going around and in the spirit, haunting and, you know, communicating with that, that's not what the Bible teaches.

I think the Bible teaches something very different from that. I do think, I mean, when you hear about these stories and I'm familiar with, you know, those shows that are on TV, you know, ghost hunter type shows and whatnot, it does so often seem to be associated with evil, doesn't it? And so I tend to, I know that there is an entire spiritual world out there that so often we're just not aware of, a world of evil, even, I mean, you think about the spiritual war that we're in and I think the evil one will use, Satan will use anything that he can to, you know, redirect our focus off of the truth of God's word, to make us think that he has some special power to scare us and to have us living in terror.

And there are many people who have that fear and that terror and oftentimes, you know, those shows, that's precisely what it is, it's just drumming up fear. And so I don't think it's of the Lord and I don't think that those are real ghosts, if you will, people who have died and are just, you know, looking to spook others. I think that, you know, I think it's either nothing or I think it can really be demonic activity. And so, you know, we need to exercise wisdom and again, I think we need to go to the scriptures and the scriptures do make it clear that, you know, to be absent from the body for the believers to be present with the Lord.

And so that's what I would say. Brother, thank you for your question and may God bless you. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We are excited about a new book that's authored by one of our good friends, Bible teacher Nancy Guthrie. Yeah, the book is called Saints and Scoundrels in the Story of Jesus. This is a wonderful book looking at the lives of so many of the individuals that we see in the Bible and how they related to Jesus and more importantly, how Jesus related to them.

And why this is important for us is because it speaks to us about how our Lord relates to us in our own personal relationship with him. This is a book that was written, as Bill said, by Nancy Guthrie, who is a friend of this ministry. She's really a prolific author, has written so many edifying books. We've even had her on the broadcast, Core Christianity, before. And so you could even look back, you know, in our archives and dig up that episode.

It was really an encouraging episode. She's someone who the Lord has used and continues to use mightily. And so I hope that you get ahold of this book, again, Saints and Scoundrels in the Story of Jesus by Nancy Guthrie for a donation of any amount over at CoreChristianity.com.

We'd love to get that in your hands. We love Nancy Guthrie's book and we think it'll be very helpful to you. And the way to find that is to go to CoreChristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, CoreChristianity.com forward slash offers. While you're at our website, check out some of our other resources. We have some wonderful Bible studies. We have our core guides and our core questions. A lot of things there that will help you grow in your Christian walk. So check it out at CoreChristianity.com. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core and you can call us 24 hours a day and leave your voicemail question. Here's one we received from one of our listeners earlier this week.

Hi, Deborah. And my question for you is, I know Pastor Gray was giving prayer for those who seek to follow Jesus and to be redeemed and active into your life and that that's all there was to be in a Christian. Isn't there other additional steps? Of course, we have to have the Holy Spirit dwell within us, which we asked him to come into our hearts. And then we do that by this prayer. But then following that, of course, turn from sins and continue to walk a discipleship life and try to live as holy as we can.

And we take all these steps to be sanctified so that we can be allowed into heaven. What do you think? Thank you. Bye bye. Yeah, thank you for your question.

So let me think about how you put it there. We take all these steps so that we can be sanctified so that we can be allowed into heaven. Now, sanctification is the work of God in our lives and the one who believes in Jesus Christ experiences that work. Of course, we're never as sanctified as we would like to be. We're growing in grace, fighting against sin.

The Spirit of God is putting to death, as Paul says in Romans 8, the sinful deeds of our bodies. But we have to be careful that we don't base our justification, our standing before God upon our sanctification, because our sanctification is a process. And there are days where you might feel really good about your walk with Jesus, and there are other days where you might look at yourself and just think, Lord, I still have so far to go.

How could you ever just let me in? How can I be sure that I'm justified in your sight with the sins that I still struggle with? And so it's not that being a Christian is this process whereby we do better and more and become holier, and as a result of our efforts, our works, our trying harder, we merit God's grace, and he welcomes us into heaven because we've really earned it.

No, sister, Jesus Christ has earned heaven for his people through him and him alone. We come before the throne of God's grace, desperately in need of mercy, and we receive as a free gift his mercy and grace. We turn away from our sins, embrace the truth of the gospel by faith. We're laying hold of Jesus by faith, but what is faith?

It isn't a work. Think of it like an empty hand that's open and outstretched to God, clinging to the righteous robes of Jesus Christ. And so I think it's best not to think of being a Christian as this sort of process, if you will. It's something that God does through faith in Jesus Christ. And if we're going to go to scripture, which I think we always want to do on this broadcast, you know, in Acts chapter 2, as Peter is preaching on the day of Pentecost, the people here, and they're convicted, we're told they're cut to the heart, and they say to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, brothers, what shall we do?

And then in verse 38, Peter said to them, repent. That is, turn away from your sins, these false beliefs that you have about Jesus, repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In other words, it's not something that you earn by your own righteousness.

This is a gift that God gives to you, a free gift. And so we're justified by faith alone, but as those who are justified, sister, the Spirit of God is at work in us, sanctifying us, drawing us closer to the Lord. And again, that's the process, but we've got to be careful that we don't make our eternal standing before the Lord or our justification dependent upon that process, because our justification is a definitive act. It's something that God has done for you in Jesus. You receive it, and you live in light of that great reality, your new identity in Christ, the fact that you've been baptized, you believe in Jesus. Now you walk with him, and you follow him, and when we sin, when we struggle, we confess those sins to the Lord, and we get back up, and we continue to pursue him. And so I appreciate your question, and thank you for giving us a call. That's so well said. That really is the definition of the Gospel. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Sage calling in from Long Island, New York.

Sage, what's your question for Adriel? Recently, I've been going out, and I always thought I was super straight. And I've just been going out, and I've been getting a lot of thoughts about other women. I don't know if it's normal. I don't know what to do about it.

I just really need some advice. Hey Sage, thank you for giving us a call. First thing I want to do is pray for you and just appreciate you being vulnerable and reaching out. Lord, I lift Sage up to you, who is thinking through things right now and having these feelings, these desires. I pray, Lord Jesus, just for clarity for her, I pray that you would bless her and be with her. I thank you, Lord, even for her courage to call into the broadcast and ask, Lord God, that through this, she would be drawn closer to you, Jesus.

She would know your love, your goodness, your grace. I pray all of these things, Father, in Jesus' name. Amen.

Amen. Well, the core of who we are, and this is something I've said on the broadcast before, Sage, is we aren't our sexual desires or feelings, first and foremost. You are made in the image of God. That's who we are as human beings, made in God's image, and that means that we're called, you're called to reflect the goodness and grace of God in your life. We all have desires, and because of sin in the world, sometimes those desires are disordered.

In fact, many times they are. It's different for different people in terms of the temptations that we feel, that we experience. But just because we have a particular desire doesn't mean that that's what we're defined by. And when we have desires that are contrary to the word of God, I think we bring those to Jesus in confession because we want to live in a way that's in accordance with scripture and what God calls us to and who God has made us to be. But again, sometimes there's that struggle, that inner temptation, those desires which are through sin disordered. And so I would say in terms of the first thing is I think this is all stuff that you can bring to God, that you can come before the Lord Jesus and say, Lord, I'm having these feelings, these desires which run contrary to your word and what scripture teaches. Help me to follow you. Help me to live a life that is in line with your word, to take up my cross and follow you.

This is something that all of us are called to, sister. And so this is the first thing I would say. And in terms of resources that are out there, and I know, Bill, you might have some, there's a friend of our broadcast, I've spent some time with him in the past, with another podcast named Sam Albury.

He has a book called Is God Anti-Gay? I think that's a helpful resource. And Bill, you might also have some resources. I know you've written on this subject specifically.

So for someone like Sage who's rustling through these feelings, what would you say? Well, you know, Joe Dallas is one of the authors that I really appreciate on this. Joe comes from a gay background himself. He's heterosexual now, married with the grown kids, and has really counseled a lot of people and written some great books on this. And he has a book that's called The Gay Gospel. And then he also has a book called When Homosexuality Hits Home.

So both of those would be a really good reading. And Sage, as Adriel mentioned, we really appreciate you and your vulnerability today. We're going to continue to pray for you.

So thank you for having the courage to call in. And I love what you said, Adriel, about the fact that we are not defined by our sexuality. We are defined as who we are in Christ, as followers of him. And that's what we need to focus on, regardless of what kind of temptations and struggles we have in life.

Can I just add, Sage, you mentioned, you know, I've been going out. I don't know exactly what you meant by that in terms of, you know, if you're just going out and dating or experimenting, what it is specifically that you're talking about. But I would say not doing that, you know, in terms of, if you know you're doing something that is drawing you closer and really further away from the teaching of scripture, but drawing you into this more and more, I would say taking a step back and devoting time to prayer, to getting encouragement from, hopefully, your church community. I hope that you have a church community.

If you don't have one, I would encourage that. People who are going to be able to come alongside of you and who are going to love you, regardless of whatever the struggles are that you face, but that want to walk with you in the midst of those struggles. I think of Paul's letter to the Corinthians. He writes to the Corinthians, and he's saying, look, some of you were involved in all sorts of things, you know, prior to coming to faith in Christ. He mentions things like homosexuality, things like drunkenness, greed, so on and so forth in 1 Corinthians chapter 6. He says, such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

So I would just say, go to Jesus, approach Jesus with whatever it is that you have, wrestle with, struggle with, confessing it to him and saying, Lord, wash me, sanctify me, help me to walk with you in a manner that is pleasing to you and to grow into who it is that you call me to be, a woman made in your image and renewed through Jesus Christ and the grace that he freely gives. And so thank you, Sage, for reaching out to us and we'll continue to pray for you. God bless. 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 / 2022-11-30 18:25:54 / 2022-11-30 18:36:07 / 10

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