When do you know if someone is ready for you?
When do you know if someone is ready for you? These are so important and so, with regard to questions pertaining to divorce, marriage, I tread carefully because I know how complex these situations are. Now, let me just say, in situations of abuse, there are different types of abuse, but in situations of abuse where an individual is abusing their spouse, I would never tell a woman to be in an unsafe situation. In situations like that, the right thing, depending on the kind of abuse, I mean, sometimes you immediately contact the authorities.
You need to get to a place where you're safe. There's just all sorts of steps there and I don't want to dig into that specifically, but I just want to begin by saying that in scripture, Jesus gives in Matthew 19 infidelity or adultery as a legitimate grounds for divorce. Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 seems to suggest abandonment as well.
I mean, he does. The abandonment of a spouse is another legitimate grounds for divorce and I think that there are different ways of looking at abandonment. I mean, obviously, there's just one person leaves and is physically not present anymore and you can't contact them.
They're just nowhere to be found. They've denied the faith, if you will, and abandoned their spouse and he seems to say, okay, you're not bound in that situation. You can be remarried in that situation. He also says, Paul tells Timothy, that if a man doesn't care for those of his own household, he's denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. And I do think that one of the ways that an individual can fall into that sin, if you will, is through abuse.
And so this is, again, very complex. You said that you have some well-meaning people in your life who are saying, well, you're breaking the marriage covenant. I'm assuming that they feel, and maybe I can go back to you, LaVon, right now, they feel that you don't have the grounds to divorce? Is that what they're telling you? Yes. Are you in a church?
Do you have- Yes. Okay. And I know that different churches would approach these kinds of things differently, depending on their own theology. I'm just telling you, based on how I read the scriptures, I would say, right, certainly in the cases of adultery, but I would also see abuse and abandonment as legitimate grounds.
And again, I don't know the entirety of your situation. I do think it's good that you are in a church and that you're getting the care and counsel of people around you. And so I would say, continuing to do that, but if you're being told and encouraged to be in a situation, a marriage, where you are suffering abuse and you are being mistreated or you're being put in harm's way specifically, I think that that would be wrong. And not only is that not wise counsel, that's not, in terms of our relationships, right, that's not how we help certainly the victim of abuse, but even the abuser who is also destroying themselves through sin. And this is where the church, when there's a situation of abuse, needs to step in and exercise what we call the keys of the kingdom, church discipline, in calling an individual to repentance because of their actions, which functionally, right, are, I think, in situations of serious abuse. I mean, that is abandonment. That's not caring for those of your own household. If you're abusing them, hurting them, harming them, well, then there's a serious issue there.
And so, again, I don't know all the ins and outs of this situation, but that's what I would say from the outside and not having all the information. And I do want to just take a moment right now, LaVon, to pray for you and for these circumstances. Lord in heaven, we come before you right now and I lift up my sister LaVon, who is in need of your grace and help. I pray for her, Lord Jesus, that you would fill her with your Holy Spirit, that you would guide her and give her wisdom. Lord, that you would also give wisdom to the people who are around her, especially the leadership in her church. God, that where there is sin, and certainly abuse, Lord, God is sin. We know in scripture how you call us as husbands to love our wives, that that would not be brushed under the rug, but that the church would step in and call the husband, this man, to repentance, where that needs to happen. And Lord, that my sister LaVon would be in a position, in a place where she is safe and cared for, and Lord, that you would provide for her and care for her in this time.
Give her wisdom, give everyone around her wisdom, bring genuine repentance in this situation. And Lord, we look to you and we cry out to you for your help. In Jesus' name, amen.
Amen. You know, maybe... You know, just a follow-up question. Go ahead, Bill.
Go ahead. I was going to say, just a follow-up question for you, Adriel. We've both heard of situations where local churches have encouraged a spouse, typically a wife, to stay with a husband even though they are aware of abuse. And I'm wondering how you would respond to that as a pastor.
I mean, that's shocking. A church that's aware of abuse, let's just say physical abuse, and they're not intervening, stepping in to protect the victim of abuse and calling the abuser to repentance and warning them of the danger, the spiritual danger that they're in. But also, I would say in those situations, you do involve the authorities. And that's actually the loving thing to do.
That's the right thing to do. You can care for somebody's soul while still saying, hey, what you're doing is wrong. It's actually illegal to lay hands on your spouse like this. And so there needs to be a serious intervention. If a church isn't stepping in like that and taking this seriously, I would just say that's terrifying. And I think they'd have to answer to the Lord for that abuse. I mean, I would say that church is abusing or misusing its own authority in being negligent in a situation like that. Now, of course, Bill, we know that there are different kinds of abuse as well. Not all abuse leaves bruises. And so this is where it is so important to have good and godly leadership, people who are going to be able to step in, a therapist, a counselor as well can be helpful, especially somebody who specializes in abusive relationships. I've seen as a pastor over the years that not just any counselor, but somebody who does deal with cases of abuse and is able to address some of the stuff with abusers.
And Bill, I know you know I'd love to hear your thoughts on this as well. Oftentimes, they can change their tune really easily. I mean, it's all about control and getting control. And so sometimes they'll use physical force to get control. When that's not working, they might use another kind of control, but it can be... They can put on a face and a front. So that's why there needs to be real genuine accountability and oversight. And Bill, I know in your field that you've done research on this and studied these kinds of things.
So I'm curious as to what you would add as well. Well, I'm often surprised and I guess disappointed and shocked that so many churches and even some therapists are misled or hoodwinked by an abuser. As you said, they'd often change their tune to try to get control and then go right back to the abusing once again.
And so I love what you said. You said that a person, if a spouse is being abused, they need to go to somebody who's a specialist in this, who understands the personality, the behavior of the abuser and can deal with that and can set up some very strong boundaries and limits on that person. And that's where the local church can really be effective if they're willing to be involved. And I think that's what you said is so key and it needs to happen.
It needs to happen immediately. What I've noticed is a lot of times what will happen is someone will get caught in a pattern of abuse in the church and they'll say, okay, I'm so sorry, I repent. And the church will just say, okay, well, this person is saying that they're sorry and you just need to stick with it. But they're not familiar with the way in which abuse works with those patterns and how a lot of times abusers are not dummies. They're looking for ways to maintain that control, that power. And that's not to say that there can't be genuine repentance.
There can be. But I think there needs to be accountability. I think that an individual in that situation would and should submit to something like counseling with someone who specializes in abuse. The church needs to make sure that the person who's the victim in this situation is being cared for and is in a place of safety and being ministered to. I mean, that's where a lot of the focus needs to be is just bringing healing there.
And then real accountability and oversight. And if somebody says, how dare you try to bring that over, then I would just say, okay, those are red flags. A person who's genuinely repentant wants all the help that they can get. And so when an abuser, I think, just says, no, I'm not willing to go see any counselor, talk to the pastor, any of that stuff. And I would just say those are red flags.
Those are red flags. And yeah, we'll keep praying for our sister, LaVon. Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Just want to take a moment to let you know that we are a listener supported ministry. So we count on people just like you to help us pursue our mission. And if you're wondering what that mission is, well, one is to share the gospel on a daily basis. It's also to equip believers to answer those tough questions that Adriel responds to every day and also answer some of the questions of non-believers, people who may stumble across this broadcast.
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You can find out more by going to corechristianity.com forward slash inner core. Well, let's go back to the phones. Don is on the line from Kansas. Don, thanks for holding on for so long. We appreciate you. Yes.
Hey, thank you for taking my call. I have a question regarding the scripture, and I cannot quote it, and I don't have my Bible in front of me, but it has to do with it says, once you have tasted the goodness of God, and then you deny the faith, you cannot be reinstated, so to speak. And I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that.
It's hard for me to put my mind around that. Yeah, Don, one of the problem passages of the Bible, and I say it's a problem passage because it's one of those texts that so many believers read. I remember reading it for the first time back when I was in high school and really being terrified, actually, when I read this. You're talking about Hebrews chapter six, and a lot of people read it, and they are struck with terror because they think, okay, does this mean that if I fall away having experienced the grace of God, that I'm hopeless? Let me just start in verse one of chapter six, Hebrews. Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
And this we will do if God permits, for it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For the land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. I just read verse one to verse eight there of Hebrews chapter six, and I read through that section where the author of the Hebrews talks about this land that is receiving rain, rain from heaven. But then instead of producing a fruitful crop, it begins to, or at least in the example that's given, it might begin to yield thorns and thistles. Why does the author to the Hebrews bring up this illustration?
Well, here's what he's doing. He's saying, you Hebrew Christians, this church, you're being rained upon with the goodness of the gospel, the powers of the age to come, the tasting of the heavenly gift. You've experienced these things.
You've heard them. The rain has fallen upon you, but many of you have not mixed that good gospel word that you've heard with faith. Now, I think that's the issue here. That's what is the key problem with the Hebrew churches is many of them were beginning to be drawn away from Christ, back to the types and shadows, the rituals of the Old Testament, and instead of trusting in Jesus for their salvation, they were beginning to trust in those things after everything that they had heard. And so the author of the Hebrews is coming to warn them. And if you think, well, how do you know that they hadn't really mixed the word with faith? If you go back just a couple of chapters to Hebrews chapter four, in verse two, the author of the Hebrews likens the church that he's writing to, to the wilderness generation, the generation that was in the wilderness had seen the miraculous power of God, and yet they perished in the wilderness because of unbelief. He says in chapter four verse two, good news, it's the word gospel actually, good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them because they were not united by faith with those who listened, for we who have believed enter that rest.
And so what's the issue here? The concern is that these people have had the gospel raining on them for years, for a long period of time, and yet they hadn't laid a hold of it personally by faith, they were turning away from the Lord. You see an individual, Don, can I think experience the grace of God in a very real sense, can hear the truth of God over and over and over again, can be in the sphere, if you will, of Christian community, a part of the visible church, and yet if as they hear the word of God, they just continually harden their hearts against it, instead of laying hold of it by faith, they're turning away further and further and further until they drift off the deep end into some other religion or some other ideology, well then they're hopeless. They're hopeless if they reject Jesus, if they reject the gospel, and that's the concern here.
He says, if you go there, there isn't any hope. If you abandon Christ, if you abandon the gospel, if you don't lay hold of this by faith, and so the warning for I think each of us is, look, it's not enough just to be in the sphere of Christian community, even good Christian community. The question is, am I laying hold of the gospel message for myself by faith? Am I clinging to Christ by faith? Not are the people around me clinging to Jesus by faith. Have I received him for the forgiveness of sins?
Am I holding fast to that confidence? And that's what some in the Hebrew church were beginning to abandon. They were not doing that, and that's why you have such stern warnings. And so we received those warnings. We ought to receive those warnings, and what they should do for us as believers is, again, they should spur us on to really embracing the truth that we hear, really taking care about how we listen to the preached word, saying, Lord, open my heart, open my eyes as you're raining on me with your goodness, your grace, with your gospel. Let it saturate my life, my heart, so that my life begins to yield a fruitful crop to your praise and to your glory. It's not that we're saved by our fruits.
We aren't. But true faith in Jesus Christ, by faith we're united to him, and Jesus, the true vine, begins to work in us to produce good fruit. And so we praise God for that, and that's how I would see this text. There's another warning, I think, that confirms this, Don, in Hebrews chapter 10. The issue is faith, and so they're being called to examine their faith and to cling to Christ by faith. God bless. Good counsel. Thanks for that, and thank you, Don, for listening to Core Christianity. By the way, if you have a question for us, you can always leave a voicemail 24 hours a day at 833-THE-CORE.
Here's a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners named Tyler. I have a question about baptism. I'd like to get your take on it. My 8-year-old has not been baptized yet, but we believe that she does have a credible profession of faith, and she's expressing a desire to be baptized, and we want to encourage her in that. Um, my view is that it's just something that we do, that we're commanded to do as a response to Christ saving us through faith. And I see that pattern in the New Testament, but I also know that your views might be a little bit different than that. So I guess my question is, what would you say the purpose of baptism is, and how is a person different before and after they're baptized?
A few questions there. One, I would say one of the beautiful things that we see so often in Scripture is how often kids just got it, right? Like, from the mouth of babes, God has ordained truth.
And, I mean, even one of the stories I think that's just remarkable, we think about around Christmastime is John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth when Elizabeth is greeted by the Virgin Mary, leaping in Elizabeth's womb, in one sense recognizing the presence of the Son of God in utero, leaping. David, the psalmist said, from my mother's breast you have been my God, I have trusted you from my mother's breast. And so I believe that the Lord, by His gracious Spirit, is at work in our children. That, man, He's merciful, He's good. He promises in Scripture to be a God to us and to our children. And so I think we should have confidence. You know, when your children are growing in the Lord, it sounds like your eight-year-old is really, you know, beginning to understand.
I would say, man, yeah, don't delay that. You know, bring them to the water of baptism to receive first and foremost the grace that God extends to us there. Now, in terms of, you know, what happens, what's the difference, it's not that it's like transforming us per se, it's God's promise to His people. It can be and is certainly a means of grace. It is a means of grace, not just it can be, it is a means of grace, one of the ways that God by His Spirit communicates His grace to us. But what it does is it brings us into the visible church, a part of the worshiping community. And so your child is going to be in the church through holy baptism. And when we rejoice in that, we celebrate that.
And I'm grateful for you and for the work you're doing. 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.
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