Did Protestants break away from the one true church? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity.
Well, hi there. I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. Our phone lines are open, and you can call us right now for the next 25 minutes. Here's the phone number. It's 1-833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. And by the way, we're open to questions about doctrine, theology, any doubts you might have about the Christian faith. We're open to your question. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. And first up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Nate. Thank you for the time, effort, and sincerity you spend not only in the podcast, but the ministry as well.
You guys are really doing great work right now, and it's become the highlight of my day as well as giving me the courage and strength to be able to talk to some of my friends and family that have some of these harder questions. My question today is regarding a small group study I'm doing in Revelation. And the question is asking us as believers what our response would be to a new believer that's looking or not understanding why, you know, in some of the earlier Gospels Jesus is portrayed as being so loving, kind, and forgiving.
Whereas in Revelation, you know, it talks about these terrible judgments and events that are going to be poured out onto the unbelievers. Yeah, I'm just curious, Adriel, what your counsel is on this one and looking forward to it. Thank you, gentlemen.
Keep doing what you're doing. Take care. Nate, hey man, thank you so much for those really encouraging words.
I'm glad that you're blessed by the broadcast. I hope we can continue to be a blessing for you and encourage you in your faith. And I love this question because, as you probably know, I'm currently going through the book of Revelation.
Let me just say this. When we think about Christ, a lot of times people, we, have these sort of notions, these ideas in our head about what Jesus should be like. And you see this more broadly in culture as well. And especially for newer believers or people who are, you know, on the outside of the church, we just have this sort of idea of what Jesus, you know, kind of like a hippie, you know, preaching peace and love and all of these things. We have to let the word of God shape our understanding of who God is. Jesus reveals himself to us through his word. And my sense is, as we dig into the Gospels and as we dig into the book of Revelation, we see both the lion and the lamb. And that's exactly the picture that John gets in Revelation chapter 5. When he has this vision of Jesus in heaven, an angel says to him in Revelation 5, 5, Weep no more, behold, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.
And this is the conquering lion. And as John looks between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, he says, I saw a lamb standing as though it had been slain with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And so you have this, right, but both the lion and the lamb, the lion, king of kings and lord of lords, who is coming back to judge the world. And this is a lot of what you see in the book of Revelation, the consummation, the finality of judgment as God ushers in the new creation, the final judgment. But you also have those warnings of judgment throughout the gospels as well. And so it's not just that Jesus was going around preaching peace and love. He was preaching peace, peace with God and love your neighbor through the gospel. But he was also warning people. He was warning the religious leaders at that time. He was warning Israel, calling Israel to repentance. And you think about some of the strong language that we find even in the gospels. Jesus confronting the Pharisees and saying to them things like, woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. You tithe mint and dill and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These you ought to have done without neglecting the others.
You blind guides straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel. So you have these calls to repentance throughout the gospels. You see those calls to repentance at the beginning of the book of Revelation in Revelation chapter two and three. But you also have that comforting image of Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
That's what John the Baptist said at the beginning of John's gospel. Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And it's what we see in Revelation five.
The lamb standing as though he was slain. And so Jesus, he has strong words for those who persecute his people, for false teachers who lead his people astray, words of judgment, words of warning, words of threat even. In the gospels and in the book of Revelation. But you also see the comforting words of Christ to his church in the midst of her suffering. You see that again also, and even though you have those warnings in Revelation chapters two and three, you also have Jesus's promise to be with the church. He says, I am the one who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.
I am with you. He's the one who wipes every tear from our eyes as is described in Revelation chapter 21. So you see that gentleness there as well. So I think as we dig deeper into the Bible, what we need to do is challenge maybe our false understandings or ideas of what Jesus should be or how we think he's presented in scripture. And let the scriptures speak to us and give us an understanding of who he is so that we might rightly worship him and follow him. Nate, thanks again for your encouragement and may God bless you as you guys dig into the book of Revelation. And may the Lord, may Jesus reveal himself to you more and more as you do. God bless.
Good word. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
We'd love to get your questions about the Bible or the Christian life doctrine theology. You can call us right now for the next 20 minutes. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to John in St. Louis, Missouri. John, what's your question for Adriel? I'd like to ask the pastor, how many judgments are there in the Bible altogether, including is there one for the devil and his demons and also for the Christians that are going to either get rewards or lose it and also for the unbelievers? And the other thing is, what does it mean when it says that Christ is the representation of the exact image of God?
I always get confused with that. I know you have the Father, Son, and Spirit. What image is that of what Christ represents? And thanks a lot.
Have a great day. Okay, a couple of questions there. First, with regard to the judgment, sometimes people will say, well, there are multiple judgments. There's a judgment for believers, and then there's a judgment for non-believers. Here you're asking, is the judgment that falls upon Satan the same as the judgment that those who reject Christ will experience? I think it's just more simple to see, look, when Christ comes back, there is one judgment, and that's going to affect everyone. Revelation chapter 20 says the evil one is going to be defeated. He's going to be thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. And that's actually the same judgment that falls upon those who reject the truth of the gospel. We're told in Revelation chapter 20 verse 15, if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
In other words, the same destination. And then prior to that, you have what is sometimes referred to as the great white throne judgment, verse 11. Then I saw a great white throne, and him who was seated on it from his presence, earth and sky, fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged by what was written in the books according to what they had done.
And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. And I think that this judgment is a judgment that everyone, even believers, are at, but we're judged differently in some sense because for the believer, we have already passed from death to life. This is what Jesus says in John chapter 5, and so we don't come into judgment, meaning we are not condemned.
Why? Because our sentence was passed on the cross 2,000 years ago. Jesus took the judgment that we deserved so that we might have life in the hope of eternal life and confidence on the day of judgment, which John elsewhere says that we can have in 1 John chapter 4, verse 17, because we know God loves us and has redeemed us in Christ.
And so there's one judgment, but there are different destinations that people will go from that one judgment. Now with regard to your other question, what does it mean when scripture talks about Jesus being the image of God? And of course, man is made in God's image. We read about that in the early chapters of Genesis. Jesus coming, assuming humanity, the Word, the eternal Son of the Father, assuming humanity, came as the second Adam, that is a true human, so that he might represent us and redeem us. And so in one sense, being in the image of God is reflecting God in his glory and his goodness, but there's a unique sense in which Jesus as the eternal Son is the image of the Father. And the author of the Hebrews talks about this in Hebrews chapter 1, verse 3. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power, and after making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. There's this unique way in which he, the Son, images the Father.
That is unique to him as the eternal Son, begotten, eternally begotten of the Father, and that's what's being talked about there in Hebrews chapter 1. Hey, thank you for your question, brother, and may God bless. You've got Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and we're still taking your calls. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, we'd love to hear from you. Maybe there's something going on in your Christian walk that's been a struggle for you, or maybe you've run up against some type of persecution. We're open to your calls, and we'd love to pray for you as well. Here's the phone number.
It's 833-THE-CORE, 833-THE-CORE, which is 833-843-2673. By the way, our mission here at Core Christianity is to answer those tough questions about the Bible and the Christian faith, and really that can't be done without your support. Yes, brothers and sisters, if you are blessed by the work that we do, and I know I speak for Bill as well when I say that this is a great joy and a privilege to get to answer questions about the Christian faith every day. By the way, let me just say, before we start the broadcast, our team, we get together and we pray every single day for the upcoming broadcast because we know we're dependent upon the Lord. We pray for God's wisdom. We also pray for mercy. It's a sobering thing for me to talk about God's Word to you every day.
I think about what James says when he talks about the importance of not sinning with our words and how easy it is in situations like this. You're talking a lot, just wanting to represent the Lord well. So we pray that we might bless you, and if you have been blessed, we're asking that you consider coming alongside of us and making a one-time gift, a one-time donation. Your support helps us to continue to share the gospel and the core truths of the Christian faith all around the world. It really is so encouraging to see the people that we're connecting with throughout the world. So if you've been encouraged, consider today giving a one-time gift, and you can do that over at corechristianity.com forward slash give. It's your generous support that keeps us going here at the Core. We don't receive funds from a church or denomination or a radio station. We count on people just like you to make gifts, and you can do that by heading over to corechristianity.com forward slash give, or you can call us again at 833-843-2673.
We do receive voicemails here at Core Christianity, and here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Charles. How do you know that your belief system as a Protestant is any better than anybody else's? Because let's face it, the Protestant religion is just a bunch of organized religion. Everybody has their own belief.
Nobody dead has come back to tell us anything. Not only that, the Catholic Bible, we have more books in our Bible. Who says that the Bible should only consist of 66 books? That's just some of the concerns that I have. So how do you explain it?
Thank you. Well, of course we would say, and I think you'd agree with this, that there is someone who died and came back and speaks the truth to us, Jesus, the Lord. And so we want to base what we believe off of the teachings of Christ and the apostles given to us in Holy Scripture. All Scripture is God-breathed, we're told. This is what Paul said to Timothy, profitable for doctrine, for correction, for training in righteousness.
And so there is a priority, I would say, to the Word of God. Now the response then is, well, how do you know you're interpreting the Bible correctly? Look at all of these different denominations that are out there.
You say you believe the Bible teaches this, and then another person says they believe the Bible teaches that. Well, the reality is, when the Protestant Reformation happened, it wasn't like there was just one church, if you will, on earth at that time, and then the Protestants left and then became their own thing. The church was already divided at that time.
There was a great schism between the East and the West in the 11th century that had been heating up for quite some time. Sometimes people will say, well, everything was perfect and there was just one church until Martin Luther came along, and that's just historically inaccurate. The church has always had to deal with divisions, with schism, with approaching Scripture rightly. And so the question is, are we handling the Word of God correctly? And here's where we just need to have an immense amount of humility and depend upon the Holy Spirit. And of course, the Spirit of God bears witness to the truth of God's Word. I would say that Scripture is self-authenticating. It's God speaking to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so if you're asking, how do you know for certain, what we do is we come to the Lord and we come to His Word. We know this is God's Word. And by faith, the Spirit of God illuminates our hearts to receive it as the truth of Scripture. And then in humility, we follow it and we ask God to help us. Now, there are many things that we agree on even as Protestants and Catholics, and I give thanks to God for that. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the incarnation of the Son of God, what we sometimes refer to as the hypostatic union, one divine person, two natures.
There's a lot to celebrate, but there are also some significant differences. And that's where we have to go to the Scriptures, and that's what the Protestant Reformers were wanting to do, is go to the Scriptures and let God speak and settle those disputes. And so I appreciate your question.
I think we need to approach it with humility and also recognizing that the Word of God is the ultimate authority for us as believers. God bless. Well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Marvin calling in from New York. Marvin, what's your question for Adriel?
Yes, Adriel. I have a question. What would you tell a parent that has a child that doesn't want the Gospel but wants the inheritance from the parent? Well, this sounds, Marvin, like an issue of wisdom here. As a parent, obviously, you know, storing up for your children is a good thing. It's commended in Scripture.
It sounds to me like the question here is, well, if my child is not a believer, if they don't want the Gospel, should I withhold their inheritance? Is that right, Marvin? Is that what you're asking? Yes, yes.
That's what I'm asking. Okay, and I would say that this is just a matter of wisdom, the person who's giving the inheritance. I think there are so many factors here. I don't know that there's nothing in Scripture to indicate that, you know, just because your children have rejected the Gospel, that that means, you know, that they've forfeited their earthly inheritance, you know, that you shouldn't necessarily give to them.
But I think that, again, it's a wisdom thing. This is where you and your family has to think through this. I know that there are often other reasons why parents don't want to give an inheritance or why they maybe allocate those resources to one child and not another because they're afraid of how those resources will be used.
And this is where maybe the local church, people around you who know the situation better, can come alongside and help. But I don't think the Scripture binds your conscience one way or another. And as I said, it doesn't necessarily teach that because your child, if that's the situation, you know, rejects Christianity or rejects the Gospel, that then they've forfeited, you know, the inheritance that you were going to give them upon your death. So, yeah, I mean, of course there's the story of the prodigal son and the Gospels in Luke chapter 15, which is meant to illustrate, right, the fact that this rebellious son wished his father was dead, didn't even care about him, just wanted his inheritance and took that inheritance and did whatever he wanted with it. And of course the father still loved his son and longed for his son to return, and his son did return in the parable and was restored. And it's this picture of the love of God for us, for wayward children who turn away and take that inheritance and squander it.
And of course that happens so often in the world. I mean, you see that in the wisdom literature, right? Looks like the book of Ecclesiastes talk about this. And so I would just say, brother, you need to pray and ask God for wisdom. And I hope that there's healing in your family.
I know that these situations can be so tense, there can be so much division. I pray that the Lord would bring peace in your family and an openness, especially. I mean, that's the most important thing, right, is that heavenly inheritance that's stored up for us by God through Christ. And so what I would want and what I'm going to pray for right now is that your children, whether they get the inheritance that you've stored up or not, that they would know Jesus and have that inheritance and that God would give you wisdom as you navigate these difficult questions.
Father, would you be with Marvin? Would you grant him wisdom, Lord, to love his children even though he doesn't agree with their decisions, even though he's grieved by their decisions, having rejected the gospel? I pray, Lord, that you would open their hearts to you, that you would soften their hearts, and that you would give Marvin much grace and the ability to communicate, Lord, your love, the love of the Father in Luke 15 towards his wayward children, calling them back to the truth. And so give our brother wisdom, bring healing and peace to his family, and draw all of them closer to you through your son Jesus. It's in his name we pray. Amen. Amen. Marvin, thanks so much for your call, for listening to Core Christianity. We'll continue to pray for you and your family situation. Let's go back to the phones. Melanie is on the line from Indiana.
Melanie, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, I was raised in a charismatic church. A lot has changed since 52 years ago, but I was always under the impression when I was raised that cigarette smoking was a sin. You hear some pastors now saying that it's not. I know that it isn't in the Scriptures, but I am trying to figure, you know, I've had the discussion, and now I'm confused, so can you enlighten me please?
This is a great question. Well, first, maybe just defining what sin is. Sin is any time that we transgress the law of God.
You think about what God has revealed in his word, his revealed will. And it's any time we don't live up to the righteous requirements of the law. Sin is any want of conformity to or transgression of the law of God. Those two aspects are really important to highlight, so it's when we break the commands, but it's also when we fail to live up to them, when we don't love our neighbor as we should.
It's not just being neutral and not doing things. The law calls us positively to love God and to love our neighbors. Now, a lot of times what we can do and what people will do is they'll invent sins.
They'll say, well, that's a sin. You shouldn't eat that. You shouldn't drink that. You shouldn't do that. When it comes to the issue of smoking, I think that that's a question of Christian liberty.
Of course, you know, is that the wisest thing to do? You want to consider your health. You want to consider not being addicted or enslaved to things. The Bible talks about that, not being addicted to things like wine or food, right? There's a sense in which we can use food that is sinful, the Bible talks about, and you see that as well. I think rather than saying it is a sin or it isn't a sin, I think it's an issue of wisdom. We have to ask ourselves, am I enslaved to this thing?
Is it destroying my health? Is it getting in the way of my family relationships? Is it getting in the way of my serving God? Those are the types of questions that we should ask. Again, I would say that that question, in particular, it's a matter of Christian liberty. Going back to the definition of sin is those things which are violations of the law of God or failure to uphold God's law, I think would help there. I appreciate your question. It's a good reminder that we need to let the scriptures define for us what God has revealed, what his law is, and God calls us to live accordingly by the grace of his Spirit. God bless. .
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