How do we know which Christian denominations are actually biblical? 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.
We'd love to hear from you. Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so, so now's the time to call. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also watch Adriel right now live on YouTube and send him a message through our YouTube channel.
And of course, you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Now, a little behind the scenes secret for you, due to the wonders of modern technology, Adriel and I actually are able to do this program from separate cities. So he's in beautiful San Diego, and I'm in very cold Minneapolis. I thought I would check in just to find out what the weather's like right now in your city there, Adriel.
I mean, you said it already, Bill. It's beautiful. Come out here to San Diego if you want just warm weather, you know, 365 days of the year. I will say yesterday though, Bill, as I was driving around, it's the afternoon, and there was a light drizzle.
I think it was about 57, 58 degrees. There was a light drizzle, and I saw one of those electronic signs on the freeway that said, extreme weather, don't drive until Thursday night. And I just thought, man, I love San Diego.
I love San Diego. Actually, Christmas Day was like 78 degrees out here. I mean, it was beach weather. And so, I mean, I don't mean to brag, but I love it out here. Now, I know it's colder where you are, Bill. You've been sending us pictures of the winter wonderland, which is also, I mean, quite gorgeous, and so I hope you're staying warm. Yeah, we've got like a foot of snow on the ground here, and I think the high is around 19 this afternoon. But yeah, it is beautiful here. And you know what?
Minnesota gets a bad rap because of the winters, but the spring, summer, and fall are really fantastic here. So we've got to have you and your family come up. We're going to get your kids out in the lake doing some fishing, and hey, you'll love it. I love that, Bill.
All right. Well, let's get to the phones. First of all, we have Morley on the line from Missouri. Morley, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?
Hi, Pastor Adriel. My question is basically in regard to the rapture and the local church and then the universal, if there is such a thing, universal royal priesthood of the saved. And I'm wondering, is the rapture going to be for the church, churchgoers specifically, or will it be for all saved?
And what are the lines there? Okay, so great question. I mean, it sounds to me, Morley, like maybe there's a little bit of concern here, like, you know, for people who at least profess to be Christians, but they don't go to church, they're not a member of the church.
Will they be raptured when Jesus comes back? Is that your primary concern? Yes.
I'm sorry, what was that? Yes, it certainly is. Okay.
Well, look, a couple of things. First, there are different ways that Christians have talked about this idea of a rapture. It's really not the idea that Jesus is going to come back just for his church prior to the second coming and the final judgment. That's a newer belief in the history of the Christian church.
It's not something that you see in the early centuries of the Christian church. And so my view actually is that when Jesus comes back, it's to judge the whole world, that there isn't going to be a separate event when Jesus returns to rapture his people and then comes back again after that for the second coming. Now, where people get the idea of the rapture from, there are a few passages that people will go to.
And again, I'm talking about Bible-believing Christians who have a high view of the word of God. I think this is an area where we can, it doesn't call into question our salvation or anything like that. But oftentimes where people will go is 1 Thessalonians 4, verse 13, where Paul said, We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep 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, that is, those who have died.
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord that we who are alive, who 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, and with the sound of the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. And so this is the coming of Jesus contemporaneous with the resurrection and the final judgment. Then we who are alive and 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. And that word that's used there in verse 17, caught up, it's the idea of being snatched away by force, if you will. This is where people get the idea of the rapture. But I think that what Paul is talking about here is not some rapture event that's separate from the second coming, because he goes on to say in chapter 5, concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you, for you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. In other words, what he's talking about here in the context is his second coming, is coming to judge the whole world. And so there are, for those who embrace or believe in this idea of a rapture, there are some who will say it's for everyone who has truly believed in Jesus Christ, even if maybe they're not attending church. For some, they'll say, well, it's for those Christians who are really walking in holiness or whatnot.
That's just not my view. But here's what I will say to you, Morley. It is so important for us as Christians to be a part of a worshiping community. God calls us to be a part of a local church.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. You are not, I am not, we as individual Christians are not the church. You oftentimes will hear people say, well, I don't go to church, I am the church. But you as an individual, you are not the church. You're a member of the body of Christ.
And every individual member has a different role to play within that body. This is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. And so my encouragement is, if you're not in a church, to get plugged into a solid Bible believing church that faithfully teaches the word of God for your own benefit, for your own growth in grace, because it's something that God calls us to. And so I appreciate you reaching out to us and may the Lord bless you and be with you and encourage you in your walk with Christ. Morley, we really appreciate you being a regular listener to Core Christianity. Thanks so much for your call.
Hey, let us know if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, the rapture, you name it. We would love to hear from you. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Of course, you can always email us as well at questions at corechristianity.com. By the way, we have at the beginning of this new year, we have a new free resource we want to offer you. And what we love about this is it really answers some specific questions and gets into some topics that we feel a lot of Christians and even some churches today are not really understanding or maybe even teaching properly.
So we'd love to offer this to you. It's called Six Categories You Should Know. Yeah, we get into some topics like natural and special revelation, law and gospel, faith and works, different categories in scripture, theological categories, biblical categories that we think are important for you as a Christian in your walk with the Lord to understand, because there's a lot of confusion about these things in particular. I mean, it's been that way since the very beginning when Paul is writing to the Galatians. In part, he's writing his letter because there's confusion about the law and the gospel. Same thing if you think of James is his letter, the idea of faith and works and the relationship between those two.
So this is something that Christians ever since the very beginning have had to wrestle through and are still wrestling through in terms of coming to a proper biblical understanding. We want to help you to do that with this resource, as Bill said, Six Categories You Should Know free at corechristianity.com. It's really a clear, concise resource about some key doctrines that, as we said, some Christians and many churches desperately need to recover. And if you'd like to get this resource, just head over to our website. You can do it this weekend, corechristianity.com forward slash offers again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers and look for six categories you should know.
Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core, and here's one that came in earlier this week from one of our listeners named Charles. How do you know what religious belief is right? For example, the Protestant Bible has 66 books and the Catholic Bible has more.
How do we know which is correct? This is a question that a lot of people wrestle with, especially when you think about all of the denominations that are out there. Should I be a Baptist, a Presbyterian?
Should I be Roman Catholic? And it sounds to me like that's what you're getting at, Charles. Just a couple of things here. First, part of the reason why I think there's so much confusion and division within the church is that we are still sinners, and our minds are still darkened by sin, and we divide and we break fellowship and we misunderstand the truth of God's word. One of the attributes of scripture that we sometimes talk about is perspicuity or clarity. We believe that the word of God is clear, not that it's all equally clear. I mean, there are some doctrines in scripture that are difficult and hard to understand, but that when it comes to the gospel, there is a simplicity to it, that it's there outlined for us in such a way that even a child, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, could understand it. That's why Jesus, in places like Matthew 11, said, Father, I thank you that you've hidden these things from the wise and the prudent, those trained in theology and all that, and you've revealed them to the babes, to the little children. I would say the gospel of Jesus Christ, the central message of the Bible, is clear and something that we're to receive by faith. There are a number of other things that I believe are also clear and some things that are less clear, and oftentimes that's one of the reasons why we divide and we lean upon the Holy Spirit and humility and the study of God's word, the study of church history in order, I think, to come to the proper conclusion or conclusions related to some of these things.
I'll just say, for those of you who you wrestle with this because you think, how can I know that I'm right? Here's an encouragement God has given to us, his Holy Spirit, to guide us and to lead us in truth through the word of God. This is what John said to the Christians he wrote to in 1 John 2, I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you, but the anointing that you have received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you, but as his anointing, that is the filling of the Holy Spirit, teaches you about everything and is true and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him. Stay tethered to Jesus, John says to these believers, abide in Christ.
That's what the Spirit is teaching you. Yeah, there are divisions rooted in our sin. There's confusion rooted in our own blindness, but we have the gift of the Holy Spirit and we have the clear word of God, and so I would say we focus on that on the scriptures to get deeper and deeper into the truth, Charles. With that, we do it in the context of the whole church, the universal church, resting in those doctrines, those core doctrines that have been believed from the very beginning everywhere always and by all Christians, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the doctrine of the Gospel, and so appreciate your question. May God bless you and continue to guide you in his word.
By the way, on our website, we have a great resource for you on this topic. It's called How Do I Choose a Church? If you go to corechristianity.com forward slash questions, you'll find that it really lays out some of the specific things you want to be looking for as you maybe if you've just moved or looking for a new church.
Again, it's called How Do I Choose a Church? One of our core questions at corechristianity.com. I was just going to add one of the big debates during the time of the Protestant Reformation is on what basis can we receive the authority of God's word, and there were some that were saying, well, the church tells us what to believe, what the scriptures, the church gave us the Bible.
After all, you sometimes hear that from Roman Catholics in particular. What the reformer said in response was, no, the word of God, the voice of God is self-authenticating. When God speaks in through his word by the power of his Holy Spirit, it's God speaking. He doesn't need anyone to give a stamp of approval to what he said or to say, well, this is why it's authoritative because of what we the church say. No, this is God's speech to us.
We do believe that there's something about scripture that is self-authenticating, that helps us as we read it, as we study it with the help of the Holy Spirit to understand the truth and to rest in it. Very well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Adriel just got a word of encouragement from one of our listeners in Tennessee. RP called in and says he wants to say hi and say thank you for being a part of my life.
He listens to Core Christianity on the way to work each day. So thank you, RP. That's really kind of you. Hey, RP, thank you. Yeah, Lord bless you and may you continue to grow in your faith through our ministry and appreciate you being a listener every day. God bless.
Let's go back to the phones. Eric is on the line from Iowa Falls, Iowa. Eric, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi, Pastor Adriel, I have a question. Which do you use a study Bible and if so, which study Bibles do you use? And then the second part of that question is I know you use the ESV translation. I was wondering if there's any other translations that you use. Those are my questions.
Yeah, thanks, Eric. As I'm preparing to preach a sermon, I'm usually doing work in the original languages so if I'm in the Old Testament looking at the Hebrew text, if I'm in the New Testament looking at the Greek New Testament and studying, trying to see if there are things that I want to draw out from there. I do personally in my own Bible reading and then also for our church we use the English Standard Version of the Bible. Other versions that I've used that I've benefited from, I like the New King James, I like the NASB. So there are a number of different translations and here's the thing when it comes to translations of the Bible.
I really think that for the most part with a lot of the ones that are more popular you can't go wrong. Some of them are going to have strengths and weaknesses. It depends on even a particular verse so there are some translations that might do good across the board but then maybe when it comes to one verse, the NIV or the New King James does a better job getting to I think the meaning. It's actually helpful I think to use a number of different translations in your own study of the Bible.
I would encourage that. The NIV, ESV, NASB, New King James, those are all I think decent Bibles. The other thing that I would just add, you asked about if I use a study but I don't right now. In the past I've used the ESV study Bible which I think is helpful, has some great historical background and theological comments as well. So if I was going to recommend one it'd probably be that one but I'm sure that since that one came out there have been others, several others that have come out and I like just having the text in front of me and then maybe consulting commentaries on the side but for my own part I don't currently use a study Bible and so yeah, God bless, Eric. Thanks. I use the Gutenberg Bible.
It weighs about 50 pounds so it's kind of hard to carry it around. Yeah, that's why your arms are so big, Bill, because you carry that thing around and Bill has these enormous biceps that just come from all the Bible reading he does with that Bible. This is core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
We hope your Friday is going well. Let's go to an email that came in from one of our listeners. This is from Kurt. He says in 1 John 2 29 it says, if you know that he is righteous you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. So are those who are doing right things the ones who are truly saved?
Yeah, this is a great question. Well, those who are truly saved, born again, sealed by the Holy Spirit are also sanctified by the Holy Spirit. But we want to be careful that we don't suggest that we're saved by our works or that we're more justified because we're more sanctified. When you're saved, when you're justified, that's a definitive act.
This is God adopting you into his family. You become a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Then we grow in holiness by the grace of the Holy Spirit. The issue in 1 John, I mentioned this on the broadcast I think yesterday. It's not just that John is saying, hey, here's how you can know for sure that you're saved. If you do a lot of good works, then you're saved.
If you don't or if you struggle, then you're not saved. In particular, he's writing against an early group of heretics who had abandoned the church, had a low view of sin. They were saying things like, well, there is no sin.
We don't have any sin. And had an incorrect understanding of Jesus Christ. This is why he gives these warnings about the spirit of the Antichrist in 1 John. So there were a group of people who had once been a part of the church or in the community that John is writing to that had since left embracing these false doctrines about Jesus and a false understanding of sin. It's these individuals who I think he's calling out. It's those individuals in particular that he says, look, they're not continuing in the truth.
That's the warning. If we're looking for assurance when it comes to salvation, there are different things we can look to. Sometimes, yes, the changed life that the spirit of God has wrought in us, growing in grace, I think that's a good thing.
But the fact of the matter is we're still going to struggle with sin every single day, even as believers. You also have what the apostle Paul talked about in places like Romans chapter 8, the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God.
So there's that. But fundamentally, assurance should come from the objective hope that we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ that our sins are forgiven through faith in Christ and that Jesus through his work perfectly atoned for our shortcomings, for our failures. This is why the author of the Hebrews at the end of Hebrews chapter 6 describes Jesus ascended into heaven, into the holy places, as the anchor of our soul. What anchors us in life, what anchors our soul in life, isn't first and foremost our own personal piety and obedience, and it isn't that internal testimony, that feeling that we have, I'm a child of God, I'm saved. First and foremost, what anchors the people of God is Jesus Christ himself and his gospel.
So when we're struggling with assurance, we don't look within a navel gaze. We look to Christ and to his gospel, clinging to that. And then secondarily, I think, we can say, look, man, I can see the work that the Lord has done in my life, the grace that he's shown to me, the way in which that's changed the way I think about the world and how I live in it.
I still struggle with sin every day, but I confess those sins to the Lord. And I think that should also be a comfort to us, too. Thanks, Kurt, for that question.
Really well said. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. By the way, I should let you know that we are not supported by a particular church or denomination. We are a listener supported ministry. So we count on people just like you to help us pursue our mission, which is to share the gospel and to equip believers and also answer the questions of nonbelievers. And if you'd like to make a gift, you can easily do that by going to CoreChristianity.com and clicking on the donate link. You can also learn more about becoming an ongoing supporter by joining what we call our inner core. So we'd invite you to check that out this week.
Go to CoreChristianity.com and click on donate. Let's go back to the phones. Andy is on the line from Kansas City, Missouri. Andy, what's your question for Adriel?
Yeah, thanks for taking my call. My question was about I grew up saying the Apostles Creed and the Apostles Creed, you know, Jesus died and sent it to hell. Third day he rose again, and set it into heaven. Where do those three days in hell come up that would be? Yeah, so the question is, I think, related to what happened during that period where Jesus is entombed.
And some of the texts that people have appealed to, there's some in Peter's letters, also Ephesians chapter 4, where we read in verse 7, Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore, it says, when he ascended on high, he led a host of captives and he gave gifts to men. And then Paul says in verse 9, in saying he ascended, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions of the earth? That is, he ascended, that means he first had to descend into what Paul says are or were the lower regions of the earth. Now the way in which people have talked about this clause in the Apostles Creed, he descended into hell, there are some, some of the reformers, for example, who say, well, that refers to the suffering, still the suffering that Christ experienced on the cross.
That's where that descent into hell, if you will, took place. There are others who have highlighted the fact that this is Christ during his trampling on death, if you will, after he had died and prior to his resurrection, this vindication going there to the lower regions of the earth, proclaiming his victory over the realm of the dead prior to his ascension. It's not that he was suffering in hell or something like that. I think people hear this phrase in the Creed and they think, oh, well, what does that mean? Does that mean that after Jesus died on the cross, he continued to suffer for three days? Well, no, remember what he said to the thief on the cross, today you're going to be with me in paradise.
So Christ conquered death definitively and I think what you have in that statement in particular is this picture of Christ in his vindication, being vindicated over the powers of death and hell, proclaiming his victory over the forces of darkness and leading a host of captives free as he ascended into heaven. And so thank you for that question, Andy. God bless you.
So important for us. I appreciate thinking about the Creed, the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, because that really is core Christianity. When we think about the central tenets of the Christian faith, important for us to know these things and understand them so that we might worship. 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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