Hi, this is Bill Meyer with CORE Christianity. We're so privileged to be able to answer your questions on this program.
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What should we think about the collapse of Hillsong Church? 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. You can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts, and you can email us your question at questions at corechristianity.com. And Adriel, you said you had something you wanted to mention at the beginning of today's program. Yeah, well, I mean, people don't know this about me, Bill, but between pastoral ministry and hosting CORE Christianity, I'm also really into music. I love music, and in particular country music, and I like to sing country music, and I just accepted my first record deal, which is pretty exciting.
Yeah, we were in Nashville not too long ago and doing some recording out there, so you're going to want to be on the lookout for, well, my country music CD that's going to be coming out. Is that on the April Fool's Day label? Yes, it is.
It is. You tried, brother, but you didn't quite get me, but maybe a lot of people were going, wow, I want to get that album. Well, they can hear my voice, so they're probably thinking there's no way anyone would ever buy your CD if that's how you talk.
I'm just imagining you in a cowboy hat and, you know, some bell-bottom jeans riding a bull. Yeah, yeah, I think. Thanks, Bill. All right, so some of our staff members want to hear a demo, so maybe later? When we're off the air, for sure. Okay, all right, let's do that. Well, let's get to a voicemail from one of our callers who called in earlier this week. This is Chris in Lebanon, Tennessee.
Howdy, y'all. My question is, can or does God ever heal non-saved people? And also, the second part is, like if someone has unconfessed them, does that hinder him from doing the miracle or not? Thank you.
Bye-bye. Hey, thank you for that question, Chris. A couple of passages come to mind. Well, I guess the first thing I would say is I do believe that God has and can and does even heal people who, I mean, miraculously heal people who don't confess faith, who aren't believers. And I think that God might do that just to demonstrate his power, the testimony of his grace, his goodness. I mean, frankly, you look at the children of Israel under the Old Covenant and the Old Testament, all of the mighty signs that they saw, the miracles that they witnessed, and yet many of them did not believe, did not have genuine faith. You think, well, how is that even possible?
Well, it was. We're told that many of them did not believe and they perished in the wilderness. And so, yeah, sometimes God does do mighty things and demonstrate his power in mighty ways even before those who don't accept his word. But there is this interesting scene in the Gospel of Mark in Mark chapter 6 where Jesus goes to Nazareth.
And I think it also speaks to the question that you're asking. Jesus went away from there, came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him, and on the Sabbath day he began to teach in the synagogue. And many who heard him were astonished, saying, Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him?
How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they took offense at him.
And Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household. And he could do no mighty work there except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief." So here's an example for you of unbelief thwarting. That's too strong of a word, but just keeping God from working. God says, I'm not going to work here.
I'm not going to do anything here. And elsewhere, also in the New Testament, I think of what James said in James chapter 5 where he's talking specifically about praying for healing and the confession of sin. And he says, Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another. And so there you have healing, physical healing, coupled together with a call to confess sins in turn from them.
And so look, here's what I want to say. First, God is free to do whatever he wants. He can heal people miraculously, whether they're believers or not. Sometimes he demonstrates his power before non-believers in miraculous ways, as a testimony before them. Ordinarily, in scripture, it seems like prayer and God's answer to prayer is tied together with faith.
And Jesus, of course, talked about this. The author of the Hebrew says in Hebrews 11 that the one who comes to God must believe that he is and that he's a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. And so we're called to pray and to pray in faith. And we're told that the prayer of faith will raise up the sick one, will heal the sick one. But God is the one who is free in all of this. And so everything has to happen according to his will. And it's not always God's will to heal. One of the concerns that I have is there are some people that will teach that if you haven't been healed, it's because you do have some sort of secret sin and it's your fault or because you don't have enough faith.
Again, it's your fault. But sometimes it's just God's will. And so we go to the Lord in faith and we ask for the things that he's placed upon our hearts. And then we trust him and say, Lord, you're in control, you're sovereign, and I'm looking to you. And whether you're going to use this sickness in my life to further sanctify me or you're going to heal me and bring glory to your name, I am going to trust you. And that's what we want to call all of you to as well is to trust the Lord, to pray to the Lord with faith, but to trust the Lord no matter what he decides.
Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, our phone lines are open right now. We'll be taking calls for the next 20 minutes or so. You can ask us about doctrine, theology.
You can maybe if you've got a doubt about the Christian faith, maybe you consider yourself to be an agnostic or an atheist. We're open to your questions as well. Here's the phone number to call. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.
Again, hop on the phone right now. We want to say thank you to a special group of people we call our inner core. And these are folks that support us on a monthly basis. And we actually have a special event coming up for inner core members later this month. Yeah, we're hoping to have a virtual meeting with all of our inner core members. And so if you join the inner core, you'll get an invitation to this meeting that's going to happen on April 13th at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, 5 p.m. Pacific. And we're going to come together.
You're going to have an opportunity to get to ask questions about the Bible, about the Christian faith, or just about the Core Christianity team. We're going to be joined by some other members of the team here. And I just want to say thank you to all of you who have partnered with us. The inner core is a group of people that donate monthly, $25 or more. And it's such an immense blessing for us.
We're so grateful for all of you and just want to encourage you as well. And if you're interested in joining the inner core, Bill will give you some more information on that. Yeah, and as a special bonus on April 13th, Adriel will be previewing his country music album, which will be a really special event for all of our listeners. We just lost a lot of inner core members right there, Bill, I think. April Fools, in case you missed the beginning of the program. But we are looking forward to that.
Hey, here's the date, April 13th, 8 p.m. Eastern Time, 5 p.m. Pacific. And you can become an inner core member by signing up with a recurring donation of $25 or more. Your support allows us to continue sharing the gospel and answering the tough questions about the Christian faith for people all around the world. To learn more about that, go to corechristianity.com forward slash inner core.
That's corechristianity.com forward slash inner core. Well, let's go back to the phones. Bob is calling in from Bellevue, Nebraska. Bob, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?
Yes. Last July, I lost my fiancée to lung cancer. Besides asking why, what is a plan? I'm in a grief counseling group. But how do you deal with grief? She came down with, well, we knew it March 18th, and she died July 27th.
So it didn't take long. So what is your feeling? I'm glad to hear that you're getting some grief counseling. Bill, wouldn't you say that grief groups, those kinds of things are really helpful in these situations? You know, it is probably one of the most important things you can do, Bob, and I'm so glad that you are in a grief group. There's a national organization called Grief Share. I know several people who have lost loved ones that have been through that group, and it can be so helpful in processing your grief and helping with the healing process. So Bob, stick with that group, share your feelings, and let those people pray for you and care for you.
So that's really key. And Bob, from the perspective of faith, what Jesus gives us is he gives us hope in the face of death. That's what Jesus came to do, is to conquer sin and death. When Jesus rose again from the dead, he conquered death for all of his people, for all those who would trust in him. Now, that doesn't mean that we don't experience death still in the body, but for the believer, it's a coming into life, and we have the hope also that one day our bodies will be raised. That doesn't minimize the pain, the grief, anger, even frustration that you feel and will feel for a time.
And so I don't want to minimize that at all, and I think that's why it's so important for you to continue to get into groups and to meet together with others and to be able to share. But as you do that, you can grieve and sorrow and have sorrow, but not in a hopeless manner. And so I think of the passage of scripture that we find in 1 Thessalonians 4. It's an encouragement that God gives, that St. Paul gave to a group of people who had experienced grief and the loss of loved ones. And he says to them, we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep. That is, those who have died. He's using a way of speaking about death, those who are asleep.
He says that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord. In other words, this is God's word himself to you, to his people, that we who are alive and are left until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with the cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, with the sound of the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. And we who are alive, who are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.
Therefore, encourage one another with these words. Those words are meant to be an encouragement for all those in Christ who have lost loved ones, to be able to say, yes, I have grief and sorrow, but I'm not hopeless. And I'm not hopeless because Jesus conquered death.
And I have the hope of eternal life and the resurrection of the body in Jesus, not just for myself, but also for my loved ones who have gone before me to be with the Lord. And so, Bob, may the Lord comfort you and bless you through his word and may you continue to heal and to get the care that you need. And I pray that you do.
God bless you. Bob, we will be praying for you here at CORE Christianity. We do believe in praying for our listeners and we know how tough that can be.
So thank you for sharing and thank you for listening. This is CORE Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open right now. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we'll be taking calls for the next 10 minutes or so. Here's the phone number.
You might want to make note of this. It's 1-833-843-2873. You can also, by the way, you can make a you can call the the the spell it out on your phone and that is 833-THE-CORE, 833-THE-CORE.
I'm hoping people will actually put that on the refrigerator, Adriel, so that they have reference to that in the future. So give us a call right now. We'd love to receive your question. We also get email questions. And this one came in from a listener named Linnea and Adriel.
She says this. I have a question about the things happening at Hillsong Church, where leaders are being exposed for sin in their lives. Some Christians tell me that Jesus said, Let him who was without sin cast the first stone, that we shouldn't judge anybody. And some draw parallels to King David, how he committed horrible sins, but is remembered as a man after God's heart and how God has used broken, sinful people for his kingdom. How do I balance this with the standard the New Testament puts on leaders in the church?
Yeah, well, there's no contradiction. There is a standard that the New Testament gives for leaders in the church in 1 Timothy 3 and in Titus chapter 1. And so when we see leaders compromising and engaging in sin or in abusive behavior, and I think that's what's coming out with some of these stories, not just there at that church, but in all sorts of churches, I mean, it really is a tragedy. And so one, anyone who says to you as a Christian, you see another brother who's sinning and engaging in sin or sister in this way, well, you don't want to judge him. Well, actually, the apostle Paul says the opposite. In 1 Corinthians chapter 5, he says, It's our job to judge those within the church, those who are professing faith. And especially, I mean, all the more with those who are teachers in the church, who are held to a higher standard. James chapter 3, verse 1, Don't let many of you become teachers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment from God.
Primarily, James is speaking about there, but also, you know, there's a standard here. You're called to live a certain way so that you don't bring reproach upon the name of Christ and the church. And so it's important for us, I think, actually to judge, not just to let these things, you know, get brushed under the rug, but to expose them. The apostle Paul said in Ephesians chapter 5, verse 11, Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them, for it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. I'm also reminded of what the apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy chapter 5, verse 19, Do not admit a charge against an elder, except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. Now, in a situation like this, it seems like there just wasn't any accountability for a long time, no rebuke, that bad behavior was going on for a long period of time. And as a result, who really suffered is the church. The church is the primary victim in cases like this. We oftentimes will focus on pastor and leadership and, oh, we should just forgive, look at King David, so on and so forth. And people will give attention and care to the popular pastor, when really we need to focus on the victims. We need to focus on the sheep, the church, the people who have been abused and not cared for.
And so, yeah, there needs to be a process of healing for this individual, but the focus needs to be on caring for the victims primarily and removing the individuals who have been abusive from their positions of power, positions of authority, because they're not qualified. And what Paul says there, you rebuke in the presence of also that the rest may fear. It's a sobering reminder for all of us. For me, as a pastor and as a leader in the church, I see these things and I think, Lord, have mercy. It's a reminder for all of us to be praying for our pastors, to make sure that there is good accountability structure in our own lives and in the lives of the people who are caring for our souls, according to the New Testament. And stuff like this, it grieves my heart, but most of all, it grieves my heart for the church, for the sheep who have been hurt. And so pray for them.
Pray that the Lord would bring healing and restoration and that he would minister to them in this time. Thanks for that question. You know, Adriel, you mentioned accountability, and I know a lot of Christians complain about denominations, but one of the things that does happen in many denominations is a certain degree of oversight and accountability. And in this particular case, it doesn't seem like that happens. So it really is a tragedy. Absolutely.
I mean, it's one of the things that we all desperately need. I mean, not just for leaders, but for every single one of us as Christians. We're not called to live in isolation. I heard a statistic not too long ago that had to do with pastoral longevity, pastoral health and ministry.
And it basically said the number one indicator of a ministry that's not going to last long, that's going downhill, is there's just no real accountability. Nobody really knows you. You're isolated. When you're isolated in your life, I mean, you think of what we read in the New Testament about the evil one going around seeking to devour someone. He's looking for us in isolation where there's no care, there's no accountability, there's no oversight.
You put yourself in a dangerous situation. And so we all need that bill, but certainly church leaders need that. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And today we are recording a bonus episode of this program. We'll be doing that right after our live program ends. So we are going to continue taking your calls, your questions for the next 40 minutes or so. So if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life doctrine, theology, how your Christian walk intersects with what's happening in today's culture, call us in the next 40 minutes at this number, 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. We would love to receive your question. Well, let's go to Katie calling in from Missouri. Katie, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? I want to know why preachers not teaching on Revelation.
Yeah. Well, I think every pastor might give you a different answer. I think a lot of people are intimidated, Katie, by the book of Revelation. There's a lot of apocalyptic imagery, a lot of symbolism, a lot of prophecies that people have a hard time deciphering. And so they just think, I'm going to avoid it.
It doesn't seem practical to me, right? How am I going to preach that text to a group of people? Let's just go to the gospels or let's look at some Old Testament narratives, way more practical than the book of Revelation. What people miss, Katie, and I think this is why they don't preach it, is that the book of Revelation given to us by Jesus through the apostle John was meant to be a comfort to suffering believers. That's what a lot of people don't understand. They think it's a sort of like puzzle to unlock and they can't figure it out, so I'm just not going to teach on it.
Well, it's actually quite simple. It's this prophetic word that was speaking comfort to specifically the persecuted church in the first century. And so it's meant to encourage believers in their faith. It's meant to fix their eyes on Christ and the worship that's taking place in heaven.
It gives us glimpses of world history, if you will, and the battle that is taking place. And so I think we really ought to teach on the book of Revelation. And by the way, let me just take this opportunity to plug the 10-week Revelation Bible study that we have here at Core Christianity written by a friend and professor of mine, Dennis Johnson, which is just an excellent resource. And Katie, maybe if you stay on the line, we can send you that resource on the book of Revelation because I think that'll help you as you study the book for yourself. God bless. Great Bible study.
You can find that, by the way, at CoreChristianity.com forward slash Revelation, if you want to check it out. Let's go to Kathy calling in from Indiana. Kathy, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi, thank you for taking my call.
I have a question. When you die, do you believe we immediately go to heaven? I know Christ told the thief on the cross, today I tell you the truth, or I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in heaven. However, I'm confused because it also talks about those who have fallen asleep and Christ will be raised, so I'm a little confused. When do we go to heaven? Do we go immediately?
Immediately. The souls of believers are, when we die, immediately our souls are made perfect in holiness and we enter into the presence of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5, verse 8 says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
You also brought up the example of the thief on the cross. Paul in Philippians chapter 1 where he's talking about his death says I want to depart and be with Christ because that is far better, far better than anything on this planet. There's every indication in the New Testament that when we die, we don't just sort of sleep unconsciously, that kind of a thing, but we're in the presence of the Lord. First, excuse me, Hebrews chapter 12 as well gives us a picture of the saints in heaven worshiping around the throne of God. Really, everywhere in the New Testament makes this clear.
What about that language that we find in places? I was reading from 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 earlier where it talks about believers falling asleep. I think that that language in the New Testament is used just to relativize death for the believer. It's emphasizing the fact that death is not for us what it is for the world or what people think it is. It is an entering into life. It is a resting. It is a repose in the presence of the true and the living God. Paul, the one who referred to death as sleeping for believers also wrote all these other passages, and they're very clear. We let those clear passages help us to understand the ones that are less clear, and we have that hope. God bless.
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