Should only pastors officiate weddings? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. 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. Hey, we'd love to hear from you. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. In fact, you can watch Adriel right now on YouTube and send him your question that way through our YouTube channel. And of course, you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com.
First up today, let's go to Savannah calling in from Tennessee. Savannah, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Pastor Adriel, thank you for your ministry. My question comes from Luke, actually, chapter 17, verse 34. And I believe it's Jesus talking to the disciples. And he says that I tell you on that night, there will be two sleeping in one bed, the one, the non-believer will be taken away in judgment and the other the believer will be left. My version is saying that the non-believer will be taken away in judgment. And I thought that was so weird because I thought the believer was going to be taken up and the non-believer was going to be left behind. So I just wanted to see what your thoughts were on that.
Yeah, Savannah, thank you for your encouragement. And you're absolutely correct. This is a verse that people will often point to and they'll say, oh, is that referring to the rapture where the believer is raptured when the Lord comes, prior to the second coming, when Christ comes back to save his people, his church before a time of great tribulation? That's a view that many, I think, Christians hold, Bible-believing Christians. It doesn't happen to be my view in particular because when you look at the context of Luke chapter 17, as you know, being taken there is probably being taken in judgment. We're talking about the coming of the Son of Man.
He's coming like a thief in the night. And it's going to be like the days of Noah, Jesus highlights. Earlier in Luke 17, they were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all. In the parallel account of this section of teaching in Matthew chapter 24, I think the language of them being taken away is even more clear. This is Matthew 24 verse 39.
They were all unaware until the flood came and swept them all away. So will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field. One will be taken and one left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken and one left. And the one that's taken there, again, if you look at the context, this idea of being swept away in the flood, that's taken in judgment. And so a couple of things are being highlighted here. Jesus saying, be ready for my coming. Be prepared. Be vigilant. Be watchful.
That's the first thing. But the second thing is that the judgment of God, the coming of the Lord, is going to distinguish between those who belong to him and those who don't, the separation of the sheep and the goat, if you will. And that's another thing that's made very clear throughout the Gospels and some of the parables. And so, Savannah, I think you're reading that text the correct way. And I just want to encourage you to that.
And thank you for giving us a call. Hey, Savannah, thanks so much for listening to CORE Christianity. We'd actually like to send you a copy of our new Bible study on the Book of Luke since you actually quoted from that particular Gospel.
And by the way, we'd like to make that available to you as well. This is one of our great Bible studies that we produce here at CORE. And coming up on Christmas, of course, Luke spends a lot of time focusing on the incarnation in his version of the Gospels. Amen.
Yeah. I mean, this is a great resource that we have here at CORE Christianity, a 10-week Bible study on the Gospel of Luke that we want to get in your hands. And so I know Savannah is going to be encouraged by that. And I've already mentioned, especially as we get into the new year, if you're looking for a resource to help you in Bible study going into 2023, look no further. Get a hold of this 10-week study on the Gospel of Luke for a donation or a gift of $20 or more. You know, at CORE Christianity, we aren't supported by a denomination or a church.
We don't play commercials on this program. It's actually your generous support that keeps this program going. And we hear from thousands of people every year whose lives are changed by listening to the show and reading our Bible studies. And we'd love to get the Gospel of Luke to you again, our newest Bible study. You can find that by going to COREChristianity.com forward slash offers again, COREChristianity.com forward slash offers. And you can also call us for that offer or any one of our offers. Here's our phone number. And by the way, you can use this number right now. If you have a question for Adriel about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, he's open to your questions for the next 20 minutes or so at 833-THE-CORE.
That's 833-843-2673. Let's go to Arthur calling in from St. Louis, Missouri. Arthur, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, my question is the scripture that says when Jesus talked to the apostles about whatsoever they bind on earth will rebound in heaven and whatsoever, you know, they are struggling around. Yeah, that scripture binding and losing and appropriately applying it by the believer.
How is that? How do we apply that scripture? Is it, you know, just for the apostles that he was talking to or is it a general news for believers today? And Arthur, I love this question.
I don't think this is one that we've gotten on the broadcast before, so congratulations. I mean, it's an excellent question. The passage that you're referring to is in Matthew chapter 18, verse 18. The specific context here is church discipline when your brother sins against you.
Then he talks about, Jesus talks about the process that we're to go through when that happens. You can tell your brother his fault between you and him alone. If he listens, you've gained your brother. If he doesn't listen, take one or two others with you that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, binding and losing. Now, earlier in Matthew chapter 16, Jesus, when Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ, Jesus said to Peter, this is Matthew 16, verse 19, I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. So there you see the keys given to Peter, and here, extended to the apostles, if you will, the disciples there in Matthew chapter 18.
You also have another text that's kind of interesting to bring into play here. It's after Jesus' resurrection in John chapter 20, when he breathed on the disciples saying, receive the Holy Spirit. He says, if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.
There again, that picture of binding and loosing. This still happens today, and it's been happening since Christ blessed his church, gave us his church in the preaching of the gospel. And it happens through, Arthur, the preaching of the gospel, and the proper administration of church discipline. You see that there specifically in Matthew 18, when your brother sins against you. And then when we look at the book of Acts, as the book of Acts is unfolding, we see the kingdom of God being opened to the peoples of the world through the preaching of the gospel.
In Acts 2, you have the Jews. In chapter 8, you have the kingdom of God being opened, if you will, to the Samaritans through the preaching of the gospel, the Gentiles. And so you see the kingdom of God being opened through the preaching of the gospel, and it's shut, if you will, through church discipline. So this isn't something that we do individually as Christians.
I'm a pastor in a local church, but I don't have the authority to excommunicate someone on my own. No, this is something that the church does. The elders of the church together, it's not an individual Christian thing. It happens in the context of local churches that are organized, as our Lord Jesus said that they should be organized, and as the apostles sought to set them up, with elders and deacons in a process of fellowship and discipline.
That's how binding and loosing happens today. And again, it's primarily a part of the ministry of the word, the preaching of the gospel. It's that holy gospel that's proclaimed that opens the doors of heaven for the nations of the world. Thanks, Arthur, for your question. Arthur, thanks so much for listening to Core Christianity. As you said, Adriel, it's great to know that people are digging into God's word, and they have these questions, and they say, you know, I don't quite understand this, or help me apply it to my life, and we're able to do that here on Core Christianity. That's one of the reasons we exist, right? Yeah, absolutely, and what I just want to add there, why I appreciate Arthur's question so much, is because it just reminds us of the fact that the Christian life is meant to be lived in community, and in the context of the local church. That's how we make sense of some of these passages. It's not that you, as an individual Christian, or me as an individual Christian, even as a pastor, that we have the authority to just do this. I bind this, and I bind that.
You know, you sometimes hear people talking like that. You know, this is a part of the ministry of the church, and a part of the ministry of the word, and so we should be in places where that's happening, where the word of God is being preached, where we're encouraged in our walk with Christ, where, you know, if there's an issue of sin, like Jesus talks about there in Matthew chapter 18, a brother can come to us, the church can come to us even, and hold us to account for our own good, and spiritual growth in grace. So we love to highlight that on this broadcast, the importance of being a part of a healthy local church, and I hope that if you're not a part of a good local church, that especially into the new year, you'll prioritize getting into a good church. We actually have a great resource on that, on finding a good church, and you can locate that by going to our website at corechristianity.com. Well, our phone lines are open if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, maybe an area of your Christian walk where you're struggling in some way. Hey, we're open to hearing from you and also praying for you. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. And you can also email us anytime. In fact, over the weekend, if you think of a question, you go, I wasn't able to call in on the show, you can always email your question to Adriel at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Adriel, here's one from one of our listeners we received this week, and he says, Pastor Adriel, first, thank you so much for your ministry.
I learn things every day by listening, and I appreciate you only use God's word to answer questions. My question is, I had a young person who used to be in my youth group that got engaged and asked me if I would consider marrying them. I said no at first because I'm not a pastor.
I'm a youth leader. Can you give me some good biblical advice on this question? When I told her no, she said, well, because she came to know the Lord through the teaching in the youth group, she wanted me to officiate the wedding. Although I was the teacher, it was actually God's word that brought her to him. I just want to honor the Lord and do what's right. Thank you so much, and God bless. Hey, thanks for that question. Love your heart that you want to honor the Lord and do what's right in this situation.
A couple of things. One, I think that we can distinguish or ought to distinguish between marriage as a common institution that God has given to the people of the world, whether you're a Christian or not a believer in Jesus Christ, and the sacraments that Jesus gave to the church, baptism and the Lord's Supper, those holy ordinances. Now, we've talked about this on the broadcast before. I believe that baptism and the Lord's Supper as these visible words administered in and through the church by a pastor called and qualified for ministry, that they should be done by a pastor, that not just anybody should be out baptizing or administering the Lord's Supper to their friends or to themselves. I think this is a part of, again, the ministry of the word, which is guarded in the life of the church, but I don't believe that marriage is a sacrament like baptism and the Lord's Supper. I wouldn't say that it's necessarily wrong for someone who wasn't a pastor to administer, just civilly, a wedding. I do think, though, for Christians in particular, it's important for us in light of what we see in scripture, the revelation of God's word, what we know marriage is.
It's this picture of the relationship between Christ and his church, as Paul says in Ephesians. A healthy marriage is rooted in the local church and under the ministry of the word. I would encourage, it sounds like this is what you did, I would encourage a couple to be married by their pastor in the church that they're a part of. I think the other thing that's key here is then there's also that accountability and care that goes into the marriage, thinking about what marriage is. I find that there are so many people today who are just confused about the meaning and purpose of marriage to begin with.
We really love each other, so we just feel like we're going to get married. According to the Bible, it's so much more than just, I really love this person. It is that great picture of the relationship that exists between Christ and his church. While I wouldn't say that it's a sin for a person who wasn't a pastor or something like that to administer a wedding between a man and a woman, it's a civil thing. I would encourage Christians to be married in the church that they're members of, I want to be a member of a church, and to grow together in that body as a couple.
Appreciate your thoughtfulness in this. It sounds to me you've served in the church maybe as a youth pastor. It could be appropriate for you to perform this wedding, but definitely pray about it.
I think you can have a clear conscience, but so long as it's done in the context of the church, I think that's a good thing. Appreciate your question. Just to follow up for you, Adriel, on a related topic. I'm a big advocate of premarital counseling.
I'm guessing you are as well. I know there are so many young people, and maybe not so young people, who fall in love with someone and a couple months later they are saying, hey, it's time to get married, let's move forward. My personal perspective as a therapist is that they really need to take the time to get to know each other. I personally feel four seasons together is not a bad thing before you make that decision.
Then to sit down with someone at the church, whether it's a pastor or a Christian counselor, to do some serious premarital counseling before you take that step. I think so. You said four seasons together, Bill. What did you mean four seasons? Four seasons of life. In other words, one year together before you get married.
Summer, spring, fall, winter, go through those four seasons. Because some people, again, they want to jump right into it, and then I've seen so many separations and divorces. People saying, well, I thought, or we were in love, or I was just infatuated, I made a mistake.
We're so eager. I remember when I was engaged, and I'll just say we had a short engagement. It was three months. We had known each other for quite a while, but once we started dating, we only dated for about a month, and then we had a three-month engagement. I don't know. How many seasons is that, Bill?
This is one. But you did good. You knew each other for a while. We had known each other.
We had known each other, and praise God, I'm very happily married. I totally agree with you. I think it is important to get some outside perspective, and especially many churches do provide premarital counseling. I think an opportunity to talk about some of the challenges that you're going to face, potentially, when you get married, and to be equipped in understanding what marriage is all about, according to Scripture, and how to best love each other, serve each other.
So I would say, absolutely, it's a wise thing to do. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go back to the phones.
Freddy is on the line from Missouri. Freddy, what's your question for Adriel? I have just a small question. By me being fairly new with going to church and reading and just doing things, trying to live that right life, all these distractions with the women and the TVs and just distractions. How can I, what can I read?
What can I do? I mean, just to stay kind of focused, because I lose focus so quick and so easily. Yeah. Well, Freddy, first, I'm grateful to hear that you're just getting into, it sounds like, you're just getting into church? I mean, were you brought up Christian, you're just coming back now to church? I'm coming back. Coming back.
Well, welcome back, brother. I think of that beautiful parable. Maybe that's one thing you can read today is Luke 15, the parable of the prodigal son who comes home and the father embracing him in love and saying, welcome home. That's God's heart towards us when we come back to him. And I would say it's just so important.
I've already highlighted this on the broadcast before. Brother, you need encouragement and accountability. You need to be around people who are going to encourage you in your faith, in your walk with the Lord. You need to be in a church where the pastor stands up on Sunday and he opens up the word of God and he preaches the scriptures. You need to go eager to receive God's word for you and to grow in it.
True Christian growth happens in the context of Christian community under the ministry of the word. And I want to give you the exhortation that Paul gave to Timothy in 2 Timothy chapter 2 verse 22. Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with, which is not by yourself, but along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
Don't have anything to do with foolish, ignorant controversies. You know they breed quarrels and the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil and correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance. But that first part there, Freddie, fleeing sin, fleeing those temptations, those distractions, habits, you know, maybe from when we weren't walking with the Lord, turning from those things. And not just being idle, but pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with all those who call on the name of the Lord.
And so what does that look like? I think it looks like building those patterns in our lives that help us to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Christ. Reading scripture every day, opening up the word of God and reading the Bible and coming before the text of scripture prayerfully and saying, Lord, speak to me.
Give me this day my daily bread. Praying, having that intimate communion with God where we're pouring out our hearts to him, where we're praying to him. Praying as Jesus taught us to pray, our Father who art in heaven as he taught us in places like Matthew chapter 6.
And so it's being in the word, praying to the Lord, cultivating those habits in your life and doing all of that in the context of a solid Christian community where you're going to continue to be encouraged. And may God bless you, Freddie. And I know you stay on the line because I know there's some resources we're going to send your way in order to encourage you and help strengthen your faith in the Lord.
And I just want to take a moment to pray for you on this path. And so let's pray for our brother Freddie. Dear Heavenly Father, thank you, Lord, that Freddie wants to walk with you and honor you. God, I pray that you would fill him with your Holy Spirit and I ask, Lord, that those things that distract him, the sin that so easily ensnares us, Lord, that you would help him to turn away from whatever those things are and to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith, that you would strengthen Freddie's faith, Lord, that you would get him plugged into a solid Christian community where he's going to grow in his understanding of your word, that you would keep him from the evil one, Lord, and that you would bless him in all that he does. In Jesus' name, amen. Freddie, we'd love to send you a complimentary copy of the book Core Christianity by our founder, Dr. Michael Horton. If you hang on the line for a second, we will mail that off to you. We'd love to get that in your hands as you start your new journey of faith. It's very exciting.
This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Jackson calling in from Missouri. Jackson, what's your question for Adriel? Hi. Can you hear me? Yeah, I can hear you, Jackson.
Sweet. Well, I guess the essence of my question surrounds belief. And, you know, I like to think that my belief is pretty strong. I mean, especially ever since I started becoming more of a bookworm here recently.
I mean, I've been reading C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. I just finished I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Frank Turk and Norm Giesler.
It was wonderful. And and, you know, my my beliefs and strong my actions have not been reflecting that. I know that's a common theme, common occurrence amongst most Christians. But I, I just heard some notable great thinker of today. He, you know, he's kind of I wouldn't say ridicule that has a strong connotation to it, but he was critiquing the Christians and he said, if you truly believe God exists, then you would become the best person you could possibly be.
And it resonated with me. Jackson, let me just say a couple of things. First, praise God that you're getting into some of these great resources. Sounds like you're reading a lot of apologetics, defense of the Christian faith.
I love that. But here's the reality that we can experience. There can be a disconnect between our knowledge, our theological learning even, and our everyday living, that that practical side, if you will, where we got all this information, but we're having a hard time following Jesus and just being obedient to his word. First, you're always in a struggle. We're always in a struggle as Christians. That doesn't make it okay, but the fact of the matter is, until we're in the presence of the Lord, perfected in holiness, we still, there's that battle, right? The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, as Paul said in Galatians chapter 5.
And so that's, that's real. And so what are you called to do? What are we called to do? We're called to confess our sins to the Lord and to turn from them and to walk in the Spirit.
Now how do you do that? It's as the word of God dwells in you richly. And so as I continue reading these great resources, make sure you're in God's word and praying that that word would take root in your heart and bear fruit and cause you to walk with the Lord and honor him. And when you fall, trust that the Lord forgives you when you confess your sins. 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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