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Should Churches Cancel Their Worship Services On Christmas Day?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2022 6:46 pm

Should Churches Cancel Their Worship Services On Christmas Day?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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December 1, 2022 6:46 pm

Episode 1110 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

Questions in this Episode


1. I’ve reconciled with my ex-husband. Are we still married in God’s eyes?

2. Why did Jesus make wine if people were going to get drunk at the wedding?

3. What should I do after recognizing that I have idols in my life?

4. How can I explain to my friend why Christians worship on Sunday and not Saturday?

5. Should pastors cancel church on Christmas day?

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Should churches cancel their worship services on Christmas Day? 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. You can call us right now with your question at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Of course, you can always post your question on one of our social media sites, and you're welcome to email us your question at First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Arlene. My question is, I was married for many, many years, and my husband and I divorced, but by God's grace, we came back together again. In God's eyes, is our covenant reestablished?

Do we need to get remarried? Or in God's eyes, are we married? Thank you. Arlene, thank you for that question.

A really important one, a practical question, it speaks to your relationship with your husband. You said you guys were divorced, so it sounds like that went through. Now, the Lord has done a work of restoration, which I praise God for that. I've seen this happen before, and it really is so wonderful when by the grace of God, there can be genuine healing, repentance, and two people can come back together again.

Now, the question is, what do you need to do? Is it just like, okay, well, we got divorced officially, but since we want to be back together, we're now married in the eyes of God again. I do think that you need to reestablish, you should reestablish that marriage covenant legally.

I think that that would be appropriate. Now, the rationale for this is when I look at scripture in places like the book of Exodus, where God entered into this covenant with his people, Israel, the giving of the law, in places like Exodus chapter 24, where the covenant is confirmed. That wasn't, in one sense, God taking Israel as his covenant people, as his bride.

This is how the prophets talk about it, prophets like Jeremiah, prophets like Hosea. In fact, that's basically the entire story of Hosea, is how God took Israel as his bride, and Israel was unfaithful to him, broke the marriage covenant, and God was going to restore that, make it a thing again. Well, what happens in the book of Exodus is God enters into covenant with his people, takes Israel as his bride, but then you remember what happens. They sin in the matter of the golden calf. They begin to worship this golden calf just a little bit later, almost immediately after the quote-unquote wedding day, if you will, in the book of Exodus and Exodus chapter 32, and they break the marriage covenant. What does the Lord need to do?

He renews the covenant with his people, and that's what we see shortly after that in Exodus chapter 34, where Moses receives new tablets of stone, and the covenant is renewed, if you will. I think there does need to be, there should be, a covenant renewal, if you will, and I think it would be appropriate for the two of you to be remarried before the state as you enter into this renewed covenant together, praising the Lord for his work of grace in your life and for bringing the two of you back together, and I just wish you both the best, Arlene. I hope that you're in a good church where you guys can grow together in your faith as well, and that the Lord blesses you with many years loving each other and loving him. Thank you. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open. If you have a question about the Bible, Christian life, doctrine, theology, you name it, we are open to your questions. We'll be taking calls for the next 25 minutes or so, and here's the phone number to call. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. We also get emails, and here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Jason, and Jason says, Hey, Adriel, Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding. Some say the wine wasn't fermented, but I'm not sure that's explicitly stated in the Bible. If the wine was like the kind we have today, would some of the people at the wedding have been drunk?

What do you think? Well, the text doesn't say, right, if there were people at the wedding who were drunk. Of course, the wine had run out, and this wasn't just grape juice. It was alcoholic wine.

This was a wedding. This was a party, and Jesus is at the wedding, and when the wine runs out, it's John chapter 2, the wedding in Cana of Galilee, the first miracle that he does in the Gospel of John. When the wine runs out, Jesus provides more wine. In fact, hundreds really of gallons worth of wine. It really is just sort of over the top lavishing this couple with wine, and the master of the feast says it's good wine.

Now, a few things here. Jesus uses these water pots of stone that were used in the Jewish ritual of purification cleansing, and so in one sense, you have this water that's used for purification rituals now turned into wine. I think this is a beautiful picture of the blood of Christ, which he's going to give to his people, to his bride, the church.

So there are other things happening there in the background, and I think we're meant to focus on that. The question is not, you know, like, are people getting drunk there? Boy, Jesus, how could you bring so much wine to the party? It's Christ, you know, ministering to this couple. Wine in Scripture so often is a picture of joy and celebration also of God's kingdom. You see this in the book of Isaiah specifically, right? The kingdom is depicted as this festival flowing with wine, the joy of the new creation, the joy of the marriage supper of the lamb, and so Jesus is demonstrating here that he's the one who brings joy to his people. Through him, we experience that kingdom joy, but he's also, I think, anticipating the fact that he is going to provide his own body and blood, wine, if you will, for the feast to restore and to cleanse his people. And again, the fact that these water pots where the water was held were used for the Jewish ritual of purification, I think that that's there in the background.

And so that's what we need to focus on. I think it's, you know, the text doesn't say, you know, there was this great party, everybody was drinking wine, they'd ran out and, you know, the goal is not to suggest that people were running around belligerent and drunk. That's just not the focus of the text. And certainly our Lord Jesus was never drunk. He never sinned and never caused others to sin either. He's the Lord, the Holy One.

And so the text doesn't say, you know, that people had gotten drunk at the party, but that's not the focus. And so I think we need to focus on what Christ is communicating to us in that story and what John is trying to convey to us as well. Appreciate that email. Great counsel. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity. Just a reminder that we are a listener supported ministry and we count on people just like you to help us pursue our mission of sharing the gospel, equipping believers and answering questions from believers and non-believers. If you'd like to make a gift, you can easily do that by going to and clicking on the donate link. You can also learn more about becoming an ongoing supporter by joining what we call Our Inner Core. Yeah, The Inner Core is a group of people who give us a monthly donation of $25 or more. It's a way that you can partner with us is that thank you. We'll give you a copy of the book. We'll send you a copy of the book, Core Christianity by Dr. Michael Horton. And we did just get a pretty neat email, didn't we, Bill, from someone who recently joined The Inner Core.

They said, this isn't a question, but no category for a comment. We are monthly supporters and just wanted to give you a chuckle. In our new budgeting software, Core Christianity was automatically placed under the gym and fitness category by the computer because of the word core. You guys do provide strength for our spiritual body, so I guess the computer got it right. Isn't that awesome? Yeah. I mean, you can listen to us when you're at the gym or you're going on a run, you know, encourage the spiritual and the physical health.

But thank you to all of our inner core members and just appreciate your support and do prayerfully consider joining The Inner Core for $25 a month. Thank you. What you don't realize is that Adriel does planks during the program. You can't see that.

Well, actually, if you go to YouTube, you might be able to. Yes. Just right now, I'm I'm just planking. And this is this is why sometimes I cut answers short is because I'm in a lot of pain. Actually, it's a bit. Yeah.

Abs of steel. So by the way, if you'd like to join The Inner Core, here's the website. Go to core Christianity dot com forward slash inner core. That's core Christianity dot com forward slash inner core. We'd love to have you join that special group of people who regularly support this program. Let's go back to the phone.

Sarah is on the line from Las Vegas, Nevada. Sarah, what's your question for Adriel? My question is about idolatry. What should we do after we notice we have idols? And how do we prevent ourselves from creating idols in the future? Recently, I realized that I've made my favorite band, which is a Christian band, an idol and also a friend who is a fellow believer in Christ. I noticed that I made them an idol.

And what do we do in these situations? I've acknowledged this. I've seen, you know, how I've made them an idol. I've repented of it.

But what do I do now? Do I, you know, it's very hard to difficult, especially when it comes to possibly cutting off a friend or whole friend group. And I'd really appreciate some advice from scripture as to what to do in this situation. Sarah, thank you for that question. And God bless you as you seek to honor the Lord. And as you diligently want to, you know, root out those sinful things in your life, you know, the unhealthy relationships that we have now, we can turn things into idols, even good things. It was Martin Luther who, when he was describing idolatry, you know, you look at the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, we have that command not to worship or bow down before idols.

He said, look, an idol is anything that we put our trust in, our ultimate trust in, what we look to to give us satisfaction, hope for the future. And so we really need to differentiate between loving something, right? We're called to love our children. We're called to love that which is good and true and beautiful.

You know, enjoying those things, good music, your favorite band, your favorite meal, so on and so forth. It's nothing wrong with enjoying those things. And in fact, I think God calls us to delight in them.

We ought to. But the issue becomes when we have an unhealthy relationship, even with God's good gifts, when we begin to look at the gifts as being ultimate and not the giver. And so I think, you know, sometimes I've noticed as I've spoken with people, Sarah, that it really isn't that they have an idol, it's just that they love something. They like something, they enjoy something, and they feel like, well, I love something. And they feel like, man, I feel bad because I listen to this music all day, or I feel bad because I love this person so much, I don't want anything bad to happen to them. Maybe does that mean I'm valuing them too highly or something?

No, not at all. The problem is when our love for temporal things, even good gifts that God gives to us, takes the place of the Lord. And so if an individual is, oh, this is my favorite band, and I don't go to church on Sunday morning and I just stay home and listen to them all day, or if it's music that's causing you to turn away from the Lord, keeping you from God, maybe the lyrics or something like that, right, are not good, not godly, they have a negative influence on you.

I think that would be a different thing. But I would just encourage you to really think about, you know, is this something that I'm putting my trust in and putting before Christ, or is this just something that I really enjoy? And if it's just something that I really enjoy, you don't need to feel guilty about that. I think sometimes we can have an unhealthy even sense of guilt and shame over things that we don't need to feel that way about.

So that's the first thing I would say. When we do find that we are looking to something or someone to give us that ultimate sense of satisfaction, that we have an unhealthy relationship with something, whether it's food or a person or whatever it is, you know, entertainment media, we confess that to the Lord. We bring it before him and we say, God have mercy on me, please forgive me. And he does forgive you.

And that's the promise that we have. And so I would say, you know, you asked in terms of scriptural help. In 1 John, we're told at the very end of the letter, John writes, he says, flee idolatry. But he begins his letter by saying, if anyone sins, if we confess our sin to God, he's faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And so if you feel like you have this unhealthy love or relationship with something, confess that to the Lord and know on the basis of his promise, on the basis of his word, on the basis of the gospel, what Jesus has done for you, that you are forgiven and then continue to pursue the Lord and to seek him and to ask God to help you order your affections in the right way so that you love him above all else and you prioritize his glory before all else and you love the people around you as God calls you to love them in caring for them and enjoying their company as well. And so that's what I would say is just, you know, differentiating between putting your trust in something and looking to that thing to give you ultimate hope and satisfaction, just enjoying it. And if you're just enjoying it, don't feel guilty. If you're putting your trust in it and confess that to the Lord. Does that apply to carne asada?

That's my main question for you. Bill, you know I've had an issue with carne asada for many years because it's just my favorite. It's so good. And so, yeah, no, it does apply to food, right? I mean, we're joking, but the reality is right there are many people that can have an unhealthy relationship with food.

And I mean, just think about it. You know, anytime something goes bad, the way you cope is you go to food and you binge and that becomes, you know, where you find your hope, your satisfaction that has a negative effect on your health and on your body. We don't often talk about that, right? The Bible talks about gluttony as a sin.

We don't often talk about that. But the reality is we can have an unhealthy relationship with anything, even the good gifts that God gives to us. And so we have to be wise and we confess that to the Lord and we keep moving forward. Really well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go to Steve calling in from Missouri. Steve, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, I have a friend of mine and I've tried to get her to go to church with me a couple of times. And she is Seventh-day Adventist and believes that Saturday is the Sabbath. And she's explained to me, which I know is keep this Sabbath day holy. So if you believe it's on Saturday, but you go to church on Sunday, can you give me a reason that she believes that? Or if that was original in Old Testament times, I'm not sure.

So bless her heart, she's managed to confuse me a little bit. Hey Steve, well hopefully I can bring a little bit of clarity here and give you some scriptures to go to that you can take to your friend and this can be a conversation that the two of you can continue to have. So first, I mean, obviously you look at the Ten Commandments that the original Sabbath command to worship the Lord on the Sabbath on Saturday. I mean, this of course is what the Hebrews did, honoring the Lord, keeping the Sabbath.

And there are all sorts of ways in which they were commanded to do this, what that looked like specifically for them. That Sabbath command has been refracted, if you will, through Christ in the New Covenant. It doesn't mean that it's meaningless, it doesn't mean that it doesn't apply today, but we have to view it, see it, we have to view it, see it, understand it in light of what Jesus Christ has done. Jesus came and said, I am the Sabbath rest. Remember what he said at the end of Matthew chapter 11, come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I'm gentle and lowly in heart. Christ is identified as the Sabbath rest of his people in places like the book of Hebrews. We enter into that rest through faith in Jesus Christ. And so the early church, and this is what a lot of times Seventh-day Adventists will say this and others who reject worshiping God on Sundays.

They'll say, well, that was something that was invented later by the Roman Catholic Church or something like that. But the reality is when you look at the evidence in the New Testament, the believers, the disciples of Christ were already beginning to gather together on the first day of the week, that is Sunday, to worship God. And so the Sabbath for them, if you will, the Christian Sabbath, the Lord's day, we might call it, wasn't gathering together on Saturday, but on Sunday, because that was the day that Jesus had risen from the dead.

And they realized that in him, they had, we have as the people of God, true and ultimate rest. Acts chapter 20, verse 7, on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day. And he prolonged his speech until midnight. And so you have preaching there, a long sermon, prolonged until midnight. Thank God for your pastor who, you know, 30 to 45 minutes preaching. But, so you have preaching there. You also have probably the Lord's supper. They gathered together.

Why? To break bread. Reminds you of Acts chapter 2, verse 42, where the disciples gathered together to devote themselves to the apostles' teaching, to the breaking of the bread, to the prayers, so on and so forth. But from early on, 1 Corinthians 16, 1 and 2 talks about gathering together on the first day of the week.

Even in the book of Revelation, Revelation chapter 1, verse 10, John talks about being in the spirit on the Lord's day, the first day of the week. The church, from the days of the apostles, started to gather together on Sunday for holy worship. And so I tell my friends who, you know, are caught up with this, I just say, look, we're following the example of the apostles in this. We're doing what they did. And certainly they knew how to do it.

They knew what they were doing. I mean, Christ was the one who was with them, instructing them for so many years. And so that's what I would say is I would go to those texts, again, Acts chapter 20, verse 7, 1 Corinthians 16, 1 and 2, that focus on the disciples gathering on Sunday on the first day of the week and helping your friend to realize that Christ, through his life, death, and resurrection from the dead, is our Sabbath rest. And in him, we have the ultimate Sabbath. And that's why we gather together on the first day of the week, on Sunday, the day that he rose to commemorate that reality, that gospel reality that we've entered into the Sabbath rest through him, and that we look forward to being in his presence on the last day whenever the Lord returns or we go to be with him. Thanks, Steve, for that question.

That is so well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We do receive voicemails here, and you can call us 24 hours a day and leave us your question on our voicemail system. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Rudy. My question is the following. There's a lot of talk on social media about churches canceling their regularly scheduled Lord's Day corporate worship gathering service because of Christmas. What are your thoughts on that, Pastor Adriel?

Should a church cancel regularly scheduled church worship services because of Christmas? Thank you. Bye now. Rudy, thank you for that question. Let me just say I know Rudy personally. Rudy is a minister of the gospel, a pastor in Los Angeles, and so pray for our brother, Pastor Rudy, and for his work in LA as he seeks to preach the gospel and serve that community.

He's such a wonderful brother, dear friend of mine. This question, Rudy, that you ask, this is something we're both thinking about as pastors and that we've seen so many canceling church on Sunday, the Sunday of Christmas Day. Christmas lands on a Sunday this year, and so people are thinking, pastors are thinking, well, the folks in my church want to be with their families. They don't want to go to church on Christmas Day, and so might as well just cancel and give them the freedom to do that.

Now, I disagree with that for so many reasons. I mean, so many people talk about wanting to keep Christ and Christmas and whatnot, but here we really see the priority of so many people, even in churches, thinking about at the end of the day, it's really not about the incarnation of our Lord Jesus, what he's come to do to redeem us. It really is about my time, family, gifts, so on and so forth, and so that's one concern, but here's another concern. Imagine that I threw a party at my house, and it's going to be the greatest thing, right? I'm getting all the food ready and everything, and I'm inviting people, and I'm saying, come and receive my hospitality and the good gifts that I want to give to you, and I've sent out the invitations.

I've called up all my friends. I mean, this is a big thing, and then somebody else who isn't actually the host of the party, isn't the one throwing the party, says, yeah, I'm going to cancel your party. You're not going to do this.

In fact, I don't think that we should do this for whatever reason, right? You'd say, well, that person doesn't have the authority to cancel. I mean, it's your party.

That other person can't cancel the party. Well, God is the one who has set the table for us in corporate worship. He's throwing the party, if you will. He's the one who's inviting us to his table to receive his grace, his gifts, the faithful preaching of the word of God, the holy word of God, so that we can be built up in our faith, the Lord's Supper, right? Communion, holy communion. These are things that God is saying, I'm giving to you on the Lord's day, the first day of the week, the day that my son Jesus rose again from the dead.

And so God is the one who has set the date. He's the one who sets the table. He's the one who's given us the invitation. He calls us into his presence, and I don't, you don't, we don't, as the recipients of those gifts. We're not the host of the party. We're the recipients of those gifts. We don't have the authority to say Christmas is canceled or the Lord's day worship church is canceled. So that's my concern.

There's a lot of confusion about this. And so I would say brothers and sisters, I know it's Christmas. All the more reason to get up early in the morning and to go with your family, to give thanks to God for Jesus, the lamb of God who came into the world to take away our sins. We praise God for that. And I hope that each and every one of you is in church on Christmas day. God bless. Join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-01 20:08:57 / 2022-12-01 20:19:16 / 10

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