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Best of 2022: Can Someone Actually Repent of Their Sexuality?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
December 30, 2022 1:30 pm

Best of 2022: Can Someone Actually Repent of Their Sexuality?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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December 30, 2022 1:30 pm

Episode 1130 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

 

Questions in this Episode

 

1. Are there biblical guidelines for sharing the gospel and making disciples?

2. I have struggled with homosexuality my whole life. I have wondered, even if I repent, can I be forgiven since I have engaged in these things?

3. Can we command God to answer our prayers?

4. Why does Jesus question the woman who touched his garment to receive healing?

5. How should I understand James 4:8?

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Resources

Core Guide – 10 Things You Need to Know About the Bible and Homosexuality

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Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

Hi, this is Bill Meyer with CORE Christianity. We're so privileged to be able to answer your questions on this program.

It's through your generous support we're able to continue this important work. If you've benefited from our radio show, Bible studies and online resources, would you consider sending a year-end gift? People around the world go to CORE Christianity to hear the comfort and hope we have in the Gospel. Partner with us by going to corechristianity.com slash give. This episode of CORE Christianity was prerecorded.

Can someone actually repent of their sexuality? 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. We would love to hear from you and our phone lines are open right now. We'll be taking calls for the next 25 minutes or so. So give us a call at 833-843-2673.

That's 833-THE-CORE. You can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts. You can watch Adriel live right now on YouTube and send us a message through our YouTube channel. And of course, you can always email us your question at questions at corechristianity.com. First up today, here's an email Adriel that came in from one of our listeners named Evan.

He says, This is something I've been struggling with for a while and I was wondering what you think. Before Jesus left, he gave us the Great Commission. Go spread the gospel and make disciples.

I can do that. What my question is, because Jesus doesn't tell us exactly how to share the gospel, he just tells us to do it. Can we share the gospel however we want to do it or do we have to do it in a certain way? Well, I guess there are different ways to spread the gospel. We can do it through things like tracts, handing out pieces of literature or relationships, building relationships with others and getting opportunities to talk about Christ, what it looks like to follow him, to believe in him. I think first, you mentioned the Great Commission when Jesus said to go into all the world preaching the gospel, making disciples.

Well, we read in the book of Acts what that looked like. Throughout the book of Acts, we have the preaching of the apostles, the disciples. Certainly, their preaching was characterized by a few things. Typically, when they shared the gospel, it wasn't their story.

It wasn't about their story first and foremost. It was about God's story. Oftentimes, they would give an entire history of redemption, how God had acted in days past delivering his people and how he acted in Christ to deliver us from our sins. So I think one clue that we get from the apostolic preaching is that the focus has to be on God and what he's done in history for the redemption of sinners. Too often, I think when we talk about sharing the gospel, what we mean is we're just sort of sharing our own personal stories and our own personal experiences. This is how Jesus changed my life, but we actually don't get into the core of what the gospel is, who he is and what he's accomplished in history, calling all people everywhere to repent because there's no other name given under heaven by which men and women must be saved. This is what the Bible says in Acts chapter four. So I would say we do get some tips, if you will, on what that preaching looked like throughout the book of Acts, but we are called, I think, to apply the gospel in specific context.

Sometimes this is referred to as contextualization and the text that people will go to in discussing this is 1 Corinthians chapter nine. Beginning in verse 19, Paul said, For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew in order to win Jews. To those under the law, I became as one under the law. Though not being myself under the law, that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law, I became as one outside the law. Not being outside the law of God, but under the law of Christ. That I might win those outside the law.

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that By all means, I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel that I may share with them in its blessings. In other words, he's not sharing his own special gospel that he invented. We don't share different gospels. There's one gospel that we share, but we seek to apply it in particular contexts so that it's understandable, so that people can grasp it.

And so I think maybe that's where there's some difference. When we think about the strategy with regard to preaching the gospel in specific contexts, but that gospel is the one message of what God has accomplished for us in Christ. And so we have to keep that central, and may the Lord help you to do that. Evan, as you think about the work of Christ in your life and what God has accomplished in history, and you want to share that with others, God bless.

Great counsel there, Adriel. I know there are a lot of people who share the gospel by saying, here's what Jesus has done for me, which is not a bad thing, but you're saying, get back to the centrality of what Christ has done for all of us and what he calls us to. Yeah, and of course you do have examples of people sharing their testimonies, quote unquote. I mean, you think of Paul, talking about how the Lord brought him to faith, and you have his story repeated in the book of Acts. But I just think for many people, when we think about sharing Jesus, a lot of it is me sort of just telling people about my own personal experience.

And the issue with that is it can be highly subjective. People hear that and they think, okay, that's great for you. It's great how Jesus changed your life.

That's just not for me. And especially in a context like our own that's very pluralistic with regard to religion. You never be just sort of says, oh, what you believe is good for you. What I believe is good for me.

Let's just let bygones be bygones. And the reality is the preaching of the gospel is more than just something that's good for you or good for me. It's for all people. The gospel is for all people because it's something that God actually did in history. And we need to get back to that message, that reality of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and what it means for the people around us because it has bearing on their lives.

So I think we should speak as though that's the case because it is. Amen. You're listening to Core Christianity and our phone lines are open. If you have a question for Pastor Adriel about the gospel, about the Christian life, about doctrine or theology, give us a call right now. Here's the number.

It's 833-THECORE, 833-843-2673. You know, one of the things that we get a lot of calls about on this program is the whole issue of repentance. And today we're offering a free resource that really focuses on repentance. Yeah, it's over at corechristianity.com.

It's a free download. It's called Seven Things Everyone Should Know About Repentance. This is gonna help you define what repentance is. You know, there are a lot of Christians who struggle with the idea of repentance, wondering, have I really repented of my sins, especially if I still struggle with them? You know, the same sin, I've confessed it, but I still seem to struggle with this particular sin. Have I really repented? Well, it's important that we understand what repentance is biblically.

And so this resource will help you gain that understanding. Again, it's called Seven Things Everyone Should Know About Repentance, and it's yours for free over at corechristianity.com. We'd love to get that in your hands, and here's how you do it. Go to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. That's corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Look for Seven Things Everyone Should Know About Repentance. Well, let's listen to a voicemail from one of our callers.

This came in earlier this week. It's from Sabrina. I've struggled with homosexuality my whole life, and I've just wondered, even if I repent, does that mean that I'm still gonna go to hell since I've engaged in these things?

Sabrina, thank you for your question. Well, the very simple answer is no. I mean, we repent when we turn to the Lord away from our sins. You know, God forgives us when we come to him.

Jesus says, no one who comes to me will I cast out. And if you go to the Lord, weighed down, convicted by sin, by things that you've done in your past, know that the Lord welcomes you with open arms. You know, you come to him like we all do, needing God's grace, needing his mercy, asking for forgiveness, and he does forgive us. I mean, we have the promise in 1 John chapter one that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And so the first thing I want you to know, Sabrina, is that you have not, you know, committed the unpardonable sin. It's not like, you know, this sin in particular is just the sin that's so bad that God won't forgive it.

No, not at all. There is forgiveness for you, and that forgiveness is found in the blood of Jesus Christ, which is sufficient to cleanse you of all your sins, no matter what they are. And so when you go to the Lord, confessing your sin, know that you're forgiven, and rest and receive, you know, God's grace.

It's so important that we understand this. I think sometimes, you know, in the church, we can talk about some sins, you know, particular sins, as though, you know, that's the sin of all sins. I mean, Jesus did talk about the unpardonable sin in the gospels, the sin that can never be forgiven, but that's, you know, he wasn't referring to homosexuality there. He was referring to unbelief and a persistent hard-hearted refusal of the gospel, a denial of the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the savior of the world.

It sounds to me, Sabrina, like that's not at all what you think. Like, you desperately want Jesus and his grace and to know that you're forgiven. So I can say to you, sister, that if you confess your sin to the Lord sincerely, know that he hears you and that he does forgive you. And not only does he forgive you, but he fills you with his spirit so that you might grow in grace and continue to walk in a manner that's pleasing to the Lord.

That doesn't mean that you aren't still gonna struggle with feelings, with desires, and you continue to confess those as you have them and know that when you do, the Lord is merciful to you. So God bless you and thank you for your question. Sabrina, thanks so much for being a listener of Core Christianity.

We actually have a free download that we think you'll find helpful. It's a core guide and it's called 10 Things You Need to Know About the Bible and Homosexuality. If you go to our website at corechristianity.com forward slash downloads, you can find that, that'd be helpful for anyone who maybe is struggling with their sexuality, their gender identity, or for a family member. So check that out at our website, corechristianity.com forward slash downloads. Let's go back to the phones. Susan is on the line from St. Louis, Missouri. Susan, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Well, first I wanna say thank you for your program and I'm learning a lot from the questions and the answers. My question is, I've read and also heard some devotions that I'm going into my prayer class and I'm not coming out until God gives an answer. And I was wondering, you know, I mean, in reality, what does that exactly mean? Sometimes I feel like my going to God is just, I'm just not, or I need to be with that. Susan, you're not the only one who struggles, I think, with prayer. You know, many, many who I know are listening right now are probably hearing you and saying, yeah, I could do a better job in regard to my prayer life. And this is one of the reasons, I think, that the disciples of our Lord Jesus ask him specifically, teach us how to pray. I mean, they saw him going off to be by himself, praying to the Father. And this was just a consistent pattern in the life of our Lord Jesus. And so it's something that we all, I think, need to grow in and want to grow in. Now that statement, you know, go into your prayer closet and don't leave until you get an answer, I don't know where you're hearing that.

I don't know how helpful that is. It seems like, you know, be sort of, like trying to force God, you know, to answer us in the way we want to be answered. The reality is, you know, I wouldn't put it that way, but I think that we can consider Jesus's words in Luke chapter 18, where he talked about the importance of persistence in prayer. And listen to what he said there. He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, in a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, give me justice against my adversary. For while he refused, for a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming. And the Lord said, hear what the unrighteous judge says, and will not God give justice to his elect who cried to him day and night?

Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. We're encouraged, when it comes to prayer, not to give up, to be persistent. Now, I don't know that that means you need to lock yourself in a room and not leave until God speaks to you from heaven. Again, that seems sort of presumptuous, but I do think we ought to be encouraged to continually pursue the Lord, obviously for those things that are in accordance with his will. And I think this is where it's so important for us to understand the scriptures, to make sure that we're rooted in the teaching of the Bible so that we're praying things that God wants us to pray for that are in line with his will. And John says in the book of 1 John that when we ask anything according to the will of God, we know that he hears us and that he's gonna answer those prayers. And so I think if you're crying out to the Lord that God might help you to grow in holiness, that God might give you a deeper understanding of his love for you in Jesus, that God might provide for you. You think about the Lord's Prayer, how Jesus himself taught us to pray. You can pray those things with confidence, and there may come times in your life where you feel like, I don't see these prayers being answered, and that's where we need to go to Luke 18 and be encouraged by Jesus himself to continue to be persistent. So I don't think that that means you have to lock yourself in a room until God gives you what you're asking for.

No, it just means pray according to the will of the Lord and don't lose heart as you do, even when you don't see the answer to your prayer right away continue to seek the face of the Lord and know that God hears you. And I just wanna encourage you in that Susan, may God bless you and fill you with his spirit and give you his grace to continue to approach his throne boldly through Jesus. Hmm, some great counsel. Thank you so much for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open and we're taking your calls about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, or theology, or maybe how your Christian walk is intersecting with what's going on in today's culture.

We're open to the questions about that as well. And we always welcome calls from people who have doubts or may even consider themselves an atheist or agnostic and really have a challenging question about Christianity. Feel free to give us a call. Here's the number. It's 833-843-2673.

That's 833, the core. We'll be taking calls for another seven or eight minutes or so, so hop on the phone right now. Let's go to Terry calling in from Nebraska. Terry, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Hey, I got a question. It's in the old, I think it's in the Old Testament when the lady says, if I only touch the hem of his garment, he'll be healed. Why does he necessarily need to know and per se make a scene as to who touched his garment when he's an all-knowing God?

Hey, Terry, thank you for your question. The passage of scripture that you're referring to is not in the Old Testament. It's in the New Testament.

It's in the Gospel of Mark in Mark 5. It's Jesus healing this woman who has this problem that she's had for many years. She's got this hemorrhage. She's bleeding, which would have meant all sorts of things for her socially in that day. I mean, she would have been ceremonially unclean. She would not have been permitted into the courts of the temple to worship the Lord because she's in this state of uncleanness, if you will.

And so she would have been, in one sense, sort of an outcast in society. And the text in Mark 5 says that she'd done everything that she could to try to get better, and she only grew worse and worse. And so she hears about Jesus, this healer, and she believes in him, and she's desperate. She just is longing for healing.

And so this is the sort of context. I just want to read some of that passage. Verse 27 said, She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, if I touch even his garments, I will be made well.

And immediately the flow of blood dried up and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, who touched my garments? Now, just with regard to that question that he asked, because it seems like this is what you're curious about, is, well, why would he need to ask that question if he's God, if he's omniscient? People have asked this same kind of question with regard to the early chapters of Genesis, where God speaks to Adam and Eve after they had sinned, saying, where are you?

It's not that he didn't know where they were. It's an invitation, actually, to confession. It's an invitation to humble oneself before the Lord. Who touched my garments? And his disciples said to him, you see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, who touched me?

And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, daughter, your faith has made you well.

Go in peace and be healed of your disease. And so really, what you have here, I think, is an invitation to confession. He says, who touched me? And she knows it's her. I mean, she was trying to get away with it without saying anything, without raising any commotion.

She's probably embarrassed, ashamed. She knows this issue that she's had, that she would have been ceremonially unclean, that she shouldn't be in the crowd touching people. And yet Jesus shows her compassion. Now, one of the things that's highlighted here that a lot of people don't know, Terry, is what's being revealed to us here is that Jesus is the great high priest of his people, of all people through his work. In the book of Ezekiel, in Ezekiel 44, verse 19, there's an interesting comment about the garments of the high priest. We read, when they go out into the outer court to the people they shall put off the garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers and they shall put on other garments lest they transmit holiness to the people with their garments. The robe of the high priest, the garments of the priest, they weren't supposed to wear them outside of the temple precincts, if you will, lest they transmit holiness to the people. These are holy garments. And here you have Jesus, the true high priest of the people of God, walking about and this woman touches those garments and it's as if that holiness, that the grace of Christ is transmitted to her. And so Mark is really depicting Jesus here in these early chapters of his gospel as the great high priest of his people. And that's one of the things that we pick up on there in there in Mark chapter five.

Terry, thank you for your question. God bless. Wow, that is so powerful. Thank you for that, Adriel. I think a lot of us didn't realize that tie in with Ezekiel in that particular verse.

So thanks for clarifying that. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Just a reminder, we have this great free resource available to you. It's called Seven Things Everyone Should Know About Repentance, and you can find it by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers.

It's absolutely free. We'd love to get that in your hands for you or for somebody you know. Again, Seven Things Everyone Should Know About Repentance. Let's go to the phones. Barney is on the line from Stillwater, Oklahoma. Barney, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Well, thanks for taking my call. Yeah, I've been a Christian since 1959. It says in James 4, eight, drawn out of God and he will draw an eye to you, cleanse your hands, your sinners, and purify your hearts, your double-minded.

I just wanted to get your take on this. It seems like the more we put into drawing close to God after we are saved, he pursues us tremendously to get us saved. But if you go a day or two days or a week without communing with the Lord, it's just, you feel empty. And it's almost like for me, I have to put the effort into it in order to feel close to the Lord. I mean, what I'm trying to say is that if we don't put effort into it, as he pursues us, until we fall into sin, he pursues us to get us right again. But it's so important to daily be communing with the Lord, I guess is what I'm trying to say. Have you found that to be true?

Yeah, Barney, I certainly have found that to be true in my own life. I mean, we have to continually pursue the Lord, seeking him, drawing near to him. And so, of course, the context there in James 4 is really a call to repentance. James is rebuking the Christians to whom he's writing because of their friendship with the world, because of the ways in which they're living. And he's calling them to humble themselves.

He says in verse six, He gives more grace, therefore, it says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts.

You double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.

A couple promises there, I think, that we can really hold fast to. One, that when you draw near to God, he does draw near to you as well. Well, what does it look like for us to draw near to God? We come to God through his son, Jesus Christ. That's the only way that any of us can draw near to God.

It's always through Jesus. He's the great mediator of the people of God. It's through him that we have the forgiveness of sins and open access to the Father so that we can come to him in prayer.

And that's one of the ways we draw near, is through prayer, through meditating upon scripture, through fellowship with other believers, being a part of a local church where we're under the ministry of the word, where we're being cared for by pastors and elders and deacons and we're fellowshipping with other believers. I mean, these are the ways, I think, ordinarily that we heed that command, turning away from our sins. Those things in our lives that we know are displeasing to the Lord, that grieve the Holy Spirit of God. We confess those things. We repent of those things.

And again, that's what James is getting at in James chapter four. And so your experience, I think, is the experience of so many believers, certainly my experience, that if we just totally neglect the means of grace, if we totally neglect prayer and reading scripture, all of those things, yeah, it's gonna have an effect on us. We're gonna be spiritually malnourished.

We're gonna drift. In the book of Hebrews, it talks about the importance of exhorting each other day by day, lest we're hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. So we need constantly and continually to be drawing near to the Lord. But one thing I will say, and hopefully this is an encouragement for you and for all those who are listening, is that even when we fail in these areas, and of course we all do at times, sometimes we go through seasons where it seems like we're doing really well in our pursuit of God, and other times it just, we're struggling. Know this, God does not let go of you. He will never leave or forsake his people, and he invites all of us, he invites you to draw near to him. And when you do, rest assured, he draws near to you as well. between body and soul.
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