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Does the 2nd Commandment Forbid Us From Having Nativity Scenes?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
December 12, 2022 3:53 pm

Does the 2nd Commandment Forbid Us From Having Nativity Scenes?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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December 12, 2022 3:53 pm

Episode 1117 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

 

Questions in this Episode

 

1. Why does Jesus tell his disciples to be “wise as serpents” in Matthew 10?

2. Can someone’s baptism be revoked or removed?

3. Does the second commandment forbid nativity scenes?

4. Should Christian artists collaborate with secular artists?

5. How can I stay steadfast in the faith?

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Does the Second Commandment forbid us from having nativity scenes? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, we pray you had a wonderful weekend. I'm 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'd love to hear from you with your question. Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, of course, you can post your question on one of our social media sites. You can actually watch Adriel on YouTube right now. We have a YouTube channel, and you can send him a question through YouTube. And of course, you're always welcome to email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com.

And speaking of emails, up first today, Adriel, we have an email from Vanessa. She says, in Matthew 10 16, the Lord is talking with his disciples and tells them to be wise as serpents. Is there a reason why he says this, especially when it was the serpent that deceived Eve in the garden?

Yeah, well, he does explain this a little bit. He says, Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. So be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

These two creatures, right, the dove, this picture of purity and innocence, the serpent, this picture of shrewdness, wisdom. He's saying, Look, be wise, but don't be certainly not saying be like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, evil, deceptive. He's saying, No, no, have wisdom, have shrewdness, because I'm sending you out into the world to preach the gospel. You are sheep in the midst of wolves. And so you need some street smarts, you need shrewdness, you need wisdom, but you need to be innocent, pure, righteous.

No one should be able to say anything bad about you. As Jesus says earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, Let your good works shine before men so that they might see those good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. And so the analogy there with the serpent is wise, it's shrewd. And I think that's what Jesus is calling us to be as well as we go out into the world.

Well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We do receive voicemails here at the Core, and you can call us anytime with your voicemail.

Here is the number, 833-843-2673. Let's go to Ella in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ella, what's your question for Adriel? Hi. Hi, Ella. My question is, I've been reading in the paper and on the news stories about de-baptizing, people asking to be de-baptized, and I just don't understand what they're talking about and why in the world they would want that.

Can you please explain and thank you guys for all you do? Ella, I've not heard of that happening. I mean, it sounds like people saying, well, we're renouncing our baptism. We're walking away from what we once believed.

And we do see a lot of that happening around us. In fact, I think that this was something that was prophesied by the apostles themselves in the New Testament. Oftentimes, the disciples will talk about this great apostasy that would be coming. Paul, writing to Timothy, said in 1 Timothy 4, verse 1, the Spirit expressly says that in later times, some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons. Now, what we're seeing around us, people who are departing from the faith, abandoning the truth of the Christian faith, I think that's in part what Paul knew was going to be taking place. John says in 1 John that the Spirit of the Antichrist is already at work in the world today, and so we need to be vigilant and on guard.

And it is heartbreaking. Now, one thing that I've noticed is a lot of people who abandon the Christian faith really had a poor understanding to begin with of what Christianity was all about. I was just talking to someone the other day in a coffee shop who, preparing for my sermon, came up to me and apparently had been raised Methodist, and we get into a conversation about the Lord, and I asked him, Okay, so you were brought up in the church. What would you say you were taught that the Gospel was? Because at this point, he was saying, Now I'm sort of agnostic. I believe in the universe and stuff like that. What is the Gospel?

I asked him. And he said, Well, you know, as I learned from my parents and from the church, it's basically leave the world a better place than you found it. That's the good news of the Christian faith. And oftentimes, I'm finding that so many people who are leaving the Christian faith, they think that Christianity is primarily a list of things to do. You need to try harder.

You need to do better and leave the world a better place. Those are good things. Nothing wrong with that. I said, Okay, that's a wonderful thing, but the reality is that's not what the Christian faith is all about. That's not what the Gospel is, per se. The Gospel is how we fall short of that, and Christ came into the world to forgive us, we who have broken his law and rebelled against him.

It's good news. And so I think, Ella, that many people who are saying, I'm renouncing my Christian faith, sadly, tragically, haven't been taught the core doctrines of the Christian faith to begin with. And so whether that's the case or not, we are seeing many people leave the church, and I think it's important for us within the church to pray for them, to pursue them. You think about Luke chapter 15, how Jesus pursues the wandering sheep to pursue them, to seek to answer the questions that they have about God, about the Bible, to encourage them. And so I would say pray for these people and see if the Lord might not use you to draw them back through prayer, through conversations, through sharing what Christianity really is all about. God bless. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Our phone lines are open. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we'd love to hear from you. 833-THE-CORE is the number.

That's 833-843-2673. With Christmas coming up, we want to tell you about an excellent free resource we have that will answer a common question that we receive this time of year. Yes, the resource is five reasons Christmas is not a pagan holiday. I'm sure you've heard it said, I don't celebrate Christmas because isn't that just rooted in paganism and idolatry? Well, there's a lot of confusion about this in the church and outside of the church.

I've heard non-believers accuse Christians of being idolatrous because they have a Christmas tree and sort of like a gotcha aha moment. We want to help you. We want to help clear up some of the confusion. And so you can get a hold of this free downloadable resource over at corechristianity.com. It's called five reasons Christmas is not a pagan holiday. You know, we've found that a lot of people are getting misinformation on this topic, especially within maybe their churches. And so this would be a great resource to read, to share with your friends, maybe in your small group or at your church or even a relative who might tend to be a Scrooge this time of year. The resource is called five reasons why Christmas isn't a pagan holiday.

It's a free download on our website. To get it, go to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. That's corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core.

Let's go to a voicemail that came in last week from one of our listeners named Alec. So the second commandment says to not make any any idols or carved images of anything above in the heavens or in the earth below. What do we do with that command in light of things like nativity scenes, or maybe like a depiction of Jesus in a children's storybook Bible? I'm not really sure how to make sense of whether or not those things are in violation of the second commandment or just what what to do with that. Okay, not a controversial question at all, Alec, especially this time of the year with all of the nativity scenes around. Of course, I kid.

I mean, this is a pretty controversial question. And of course, throughout the history of the church, there have been debates about whether or not in light of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, it's permissible to make images of Christ. So of course, you know, you think of the Old Testament, and it was very clear that the people of God were not to make any graven images of anything. You can't depict God and God said very clearly, you know, you haven't seen me, I've spoken to you. The pagan nations of the world, you know, they were known for making these images, these idols that they bow down to and worship, but for the true people of God, they could say our God is in the heavens.

He does whatever he pleases, you know, their idols are silver and gold. They have eyes but don't see, you know, lips but don't talk, noses but don't smell, but our God, you can't see him, but he sees all things and knows all things. And so it's very clear, right? Scripture there in the second commandment, we're not to make graven images, we're not to worship them, bow down before them. And early on in the history of the church, this seemed to be the way in which things were done.

I mean, you think about just right after the time of the apostles, the early church was often accused of being atheist. And the reason was because they didn't have images that they would worship, idols that they would bow down to. And so people would look at them and say, well, where are your gods?

You don't have any gods. Because again, they didn't worship God in this way. It wasn't until later that you began to have images and depictions of Jesus and statues and so on and so forth. You know, there was an argument, a theological argument that was made in order to justify this, basically centering on the incarnation saying, well, God did come and reveal himself, therefore we should be able now to make images. I disagree with that.

The tradition that I'm a part of as a minister of the gospel, right? We don't think that that's something that's permissible. Now, let me just say this, and I think that this is something we can all agree on. We have such a tendency to make God in our own image.

We want to control everything. We want a God who looks and thinks and even sins like we do, who is on my side, on my team. What we really need is to let God speak for himself and reveal himself to us. So if we want to know God, if we want to know Christ, rather than making images to try to communicate that, I think we go to where God has most clearly revealed himself, and that's in his word.

And so that's what I would call people to, is I would just say, look, that needs to be the priority, the focus this time of the year, but every time of the year as well. I think about what John said in 1 John, highlighting the fact that they saw the Lord, they saw Jesus, but then he says, look, we didn't, as a result of that, paint pictures and make images of Jesus. No, we preached Christ. That which was from the beginning, John wrote, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands concerning the word of life, the life was made manifest, and we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us, that which we have seen and heard, we proclaim also to you.

That was the focus of the apostles was preaching Christ and him crucified, and that needs to be the focus of the church today as well. God bless. So, Adriel, I just read the story this week about a bank in Iowa that has 2,000 nativity scenes set up. If you walked into that bank, would your head explode? No, I don't know how, 2,000, I don't know how, can you walk into that bank?

Is there room to get around? It sounds like, it's like, no, I mean, I'm not the kind of guy who's like, you know, I, you know, I all of a sudden get sent into a rage or something like, I mean, I get it. But I do think that we really need to recover that focus on the preaching of Christ and helping people to know Jesus through the word faithfully proclaimed. That's what God wants.

So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you. If you've got a question, you can email us anytime at questions at corechristianity.com or leave us a voicemail anytime, 24 hours a day at 833-THECORE.

Let's go to Mike in Oklahoma. Mike, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hey Pastor Adriel, appreciate your ministry.

I got a question. I don't have my Bible with me. I'm in my car, but I think it's maybe in the in the last book of our last chapter of Revelations. It talks about sinners outside the city and this is after the great white throne after everybody's supposed to go where they're supposed to go and it talks about the city and then said outside is a whoremonger, the liars and all of this.

I'm curious as to who that might be speaking of that they can't enter the city. Yeah, so you are referring to the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation chapter 22 verse 14. Blessed are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. So those who are on the inside are those whose robes have been washed.

Now, what are those robes washed in? They're washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. So these are the people who have been forgiven, washed in the blood of Jesus. Outside are those who have not received that forgiveness, who have not been cleansed. Outside, verse 15, are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. In other words, these are those who have rejected Christ and have just died in their sin, loving their sin, engaging in it, pursuing it. We struggle with sin as Christians, but we confess those sins to the Lord. We don't love our sin, we love our Savior and we pursue Him and we rest in the fact that He's washed us white in His blood.

And so a simple answer to that question, a good question, but those who are outside are those who are not washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. Thank you. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go back to the phones. David on the line from St. Louis, Missouri. David, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Adriel. So I'm not sure if you're aware of all of the Christian slash secular collaborations.

I can just give you a few examples. Chris Tomlin has been collaborating with and still is collaborating with multiple country groups. Justin Bieber, I'm sure you know that name, actually has a service on a YouTube channel or something. And multiple Christian artists are going on to go play in his services. Christian rappers are collaborating with secular rappers.

And one of the latest ones is the popular British group, I forgot what their name is, but they're one of the biggest groups in Christian music, just did a Christmas collaboration with CMT, country music channel. So with all this going on, obviously, within the Christian community, basically what my local Christian station is saying, well, we do want to reach the lost. And yes, that's clear.

We do want to do that. But it doesn't seem to have any effect on the secular artists. So are you just saying, is it okay?

Is that your question? Is it okay for them to be collaborating with these secular artists? We're okay, but obviously we know what the world is inspired by.

Yeah. So I would say, look, nothing wrong with working together with non-believers on a number of things, any number of things. I mean, especially, I think things that are for the good of mankind, you can labor side by side with even people who don't profess the faith to feed the homeless and to care for the thought or to produce art. I don't think there's anything wrong with that unless it's something that very clearly dishonors God and goes against his word. It doesn't have to be a worship song for it to be thumbs up kind of a thing.

It can just be general music, working side by side, creating something beautiful, something good. I think that that's okay. There is a danger throughout scripture that we have to watch out for, and that is what the Bible calls being unequally yoked. And I think there specifically, it's are we worshiping the same things that the world is worshiping? When we're becoming a quote unquote friend to the world, are we being friendly to the sinful ideologies and idols of the world? Again, that doesn't mean that we can't work side by side for things, and it doesn't mean we can't even make music together, those types of things. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but let's say, just an example, maybe a Christian artist is now working with a non-Christian artist, and the music that they're producing is very clearly not honoring to the Lord based on the lyrics and the things that they're saying, the worldview that's being taught. And I would say, well, no, that's a problem.

There's compromise there. And so I wouldn't just say this is something that's absolutely forbidden, it's not okay. I would say it's case by case basis, and we have to ask ourselves as believers in Jesus Christ, is the world shaping me, or am I using the gifts that God has given me to have an impact on the world, even as I collaborate with people who are not believers? The text about being unequally yoked is 2 Corinthians 6, verses 14 and following, and I also think of James' warning in James 4, where he says, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? And again, the specific issue there is not collaborating with people who are in the world. We live in the world. We work alongside of people who are not Christians, we're called to. Paul makes this very clear in 1 Corinthians, chapter 5. But is the world system that rejects Jesus Christ, is that shaping us and what we do, how we live, or are we having a positive impact through the gospel, through the gifts that God has given to us on our neighbors? And I think that that's what we need to ask as we think about these different collaborations on a case by case basis. Thanks for that question.

Well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Drake is on the line from Kansas. Drake, what's your question for Adriel?

Hi, how are you? So I'm just calling here. I listen to you guys on the radio every now and then, and I overheard on one of your last, a little bit ago, you guys were talking about how people fall away from the faith. I'm actually relatively new to believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and that he died on the cross for my sins, but I have noticed that I've been kind of falling back towards those wicked habits, and I feel like I have to ask God for his forgiveness all the time, and I was just curious if there's some way I can establish a routine of some sort to help me focus on the Lord and not get so caught up with the things of the world.

Drake, thank you for reaching out to us, and I'm just grateful to hear that you listen to the broadcast. There are a couple of things that I think are crucial for you as a new believer. Number one is a solid Bible-believing church that you're a part of. The Bible says that Satan goes around like a roaring lion seeking to devour us, and if we're on our own, isolated, not growing in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ with the people of God, we become easy targets, and so the first question I just want to ask you, Drake, is are you, having come to faith in Jesus Christ, are you a part of a church?

Yes, actually. I recently started attending a church here, but unfortunately some stuff happened between me and my wife, and we stopped going, so I need to do that. I definitely need to do that. Well, I just bring it up because, you know, it's so important for us. The Christian life was not meant to be lived in isolation. God wants you, not on your own but with other believers, to grow under the ministry of the word, and that centrality of the word is also so key. So I want to encourage you to dig into the scriptures and to draw near to God every single day. It's through the word of God that your faith is strengthened. God's word builds.

I mean, faith comes through God's word, is what the apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 10, but it's also strengthened through the word of God. So there are two passages of scripture that I think of. The first is Psalm 119. There's so much there in Psalm 119 with regard to the word of God, but listen to this.

Verse 9, how can a young man keep his way pure by guarding it according to your word? With my whole heart I seek you. Let me not wander from your commandments. Sounds to me like that's your prayer right now. God, I don't want to wander from your commandments.

How can I not wander? Well, just think about what the psalmist is saying here. I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Solid Christian community and a commitment to the word of God tethers us, tethers us, I think, to the truth. And so I think that needs to be reinforced in your life, studying the scripture, growing in the grace and the knowledge of Christ, and doing so in the context of a solid church community. And know that Jesus is the one that holds onto you. When you sin, when you struggle, you experience that conviction of the Holy Spirit.

It sounds like you have been experiencing that. And so I would say, brother, you confess those sins to the Lord, whatever those struggles are, and you set your eyes upon Jesus and pursue him, knowing that he's gracious towards you, forgiving, and that he calls you to grow in grace. And so I want to take a moment right now to pray for you and invite all of our listeners to pray for you as well. Father, be with Drake as he seeks you and wants to grow in your grace. I pray that you would tether him to your truth, that you would hold onto him, Lord, and keep him, that he would grow more and more in the grace and the knowledge of Christ, that you would bless him and his family as they settle into a good church and look to you, Jesus. Amen. 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 / 2022-12-18 16:12:34 / 2022-12-18 16:22:41 / 10

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