How should Christians talk about marital relations? 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. Here's our phone number.
It's 833-THE-CORE. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and of course you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Well, it's a fun week for me because I get to be in the studio with Pastor Adriel. Yes, we are so delighted to have you here with us, Bill. It's always a lot more fun when we get to do this in the same room together, and I'm looking forward to having you over for dinner on Friday with your family and all five of your kids.
Yes, yeah. They're going to be there too. It's an adventure. We tried to send them off somewhere, but they are going to be there as well with us, and so it is an adventure.
I'm glad that you feel that way. Well, the last time I came over to your house, I think it was Ambrose. One of your kids had a sword, and he was doing a sword fight with me. Definitely. There are going to be ninja stars and swords and all sorts of things flying around, so you just have to be careful.
We'll give you a helmet on your way in. Thank you. Appreciate that. All right.
Well, let's get to a few questions from our listeners, and starting off with an email. This is from Jared, and Jared says, Scripture teaches that all believers are indwelled with the Holy Spirit. How does one know if they truly have the Holy Spirit?
Yeah, a really good question. I think an important one today, because there are a lot of people who think that, well, if I'm filled with the Holy Spirit, it needs to look like this, and in some Christian traditions, you know, the this is, well, I should be able to prophesy and speak in tongues and those kinds of miraculous things. Those are the signs of the filling of the Holy Spirit.
But really, when we look at the New Testament, we see all sorts of different things. Acts chapter 4, for example, when the disciples pray for God's protection and for boldness to preach the gospel, we're told that they were filled with the Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God with boldness. So there it looks like having the Spirit being filled with the Spirit looks like boldly proclaiming the truth of God's word. In other places, you know, when Paul in Ephesians, for example, talks about being filled with the Holy Spirit, he references singing and praising the Lord.
So maybe it looks like that, worshiping God. But the best place to go, I believe, is in Galatians chapter 5, where the Apostle Paul talked about the fruit of the Holy Spirit. And so he says this, he says, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such things there is no law, and those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. And so I think it's as we see those fruits of the Spirit being produced in our lives that we can say, well, the presence of the Spirit, the Spirit is at work in my life. It's that love, that joy, that peace, that patience.
A lot of times I think people are looking in the wrong place or they're hoping for some sort of miraculous manifestation. But I think the ultimate sign of the Spirit of God at work in our lives is love in our hearts. And so love for God and love for our neighbors. You know, when I read that passage in Galatians, I always wonder how much of that is the Spirit's supernatural work and how much of it is us being obedient to God and actually developing those fruits in our own lives? Yeah, well, I mean, it really is, and this is just sanctification, is the work of God's Spirit in our lives. But we're called to follow the Lord, to obey the Lord, to, as Paul said there, to keep in step with the Spirit. And so I think as Christians, every day, you know, we come before the Lord and we say, God, fill me with your Spirit. You're already sealed with the Holy Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit. Paul talks about the sealing of the Holy Spirit in places like Ephesians chapter 1. And so as born-again believers, the Spirit of God lives in us, but we're called to be filled with the Spirit as the word of Christ dwells in us richly.
And again, that looks like that love and that joy that are created by the Spirit in us. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, you name it, we would love to hear from you. Our phone lines will be open for the next 20 minutes or so. Here's the phone number. It's 833-843-2673. If you want to spell it out, it's really easy.
833-THE-CORE, 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Sonya calling in from Oklahoma City. Sonya, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi, I was just wondering if God is omnipotent, why would He put the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden if He knew that they were going to sin, Adam and Eve were going to sin?
That's a great question and a question, Sonya, that we've received before. Why would God leave the door open? He gave Adam and Eve free choice, free will there in the garden to follow Him, to obey Him, or to reject His law.
Of course, we know the story. We know that Adam fell and that all humanity fell together with Adam, but the question that you're bringing is a deeper one. Why would God allow this? The truth of the matter is, at least there in the early chapters of Genesis and Genesis 2 and 3, it seems like the only answer that we're given there is that God is calling mankind to follow Him and He's giving mankind free choice.
Man isn't this robot that God is programming to do just this certain thing. No, God wants the love of His creature and so Adam falls, sins, all humanity is corrupted as a result of this, but here's what you need to know, Sonya. We don't always understand why God does things maybe the way that He does them, but we do know and we do believe that God has not allowed anything, including this, God has not allowed anything that He hasn't already purposed to resolve through His Son, Jesus Christ. And that's why you have the promise of the gospel just a little bit later there in Genesis chapter 3 in verse 15 where God says, I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring, he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel. There it is, the promise of the gospel, that serpent is going to be crushed by the seed of the woman, ultimately a reference to Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and so we know that God allowed Adam and Eve there in the garden, there with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
We also know that God has purposed to cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and certainly even that He used for His glory and our good and so appreciate that question, Sonya, and may the Lord bless you. Sonya, thanks so much for listening to Core Christianity, we really do appreciate you. If you've got a question about the Bible or the Christian life, feel free to give us a call right now, 833-THE-CORE. If there's some area of your life that you're struggling in right now, maybe your Christian walk in some way has really caught up with something in your life that's been a real challenge or maybe you've had some persecution that you've been dealing with at work or at school, give us a call, 833-THE-CORE.
That's 833-843-2673. Now we do have a new booklet we want to tell you about today we're excited about. It's something that you can find through our website. Yeah, Bill, every day on Core Radio we receive questions related to the Christian life, how do we discern and walk in God's will for us when it comes to our relationships, our jobs, our everyday decisions. This brand new free booklet, Jordan Dahl, provides a practical biblical framework for answering these questions. We hope it will help give you wisdom and confidence as you face difficult decisions in your life. Now to request your free copy of this new booklet, just head over to corechristianity.com forward slash offers to learn more, or you can give us a call at 833-THE-CORE, we'd love to put that in your hands. And again, it's this great new book by Jordan Dahl about our everyday decisions in the Christian life.
Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core and emails as well. Here's one that came in from one of our listeners. He or she says, I read a recent article where a pastor spoke about how sex tells us about God. There were some graphic depictions of how acts involve marital sex depict how God saves us, which I honestly found very uncomfortable. I know that the Song of Songs is in Scripture, but I'm not sure how I feel about this direct correlation between sexual acts and God's redemptive work for us. Is this how Christians should talk about sex?
Yeah, you know, I saw this same thing out there in social media land, and there's some really important questions that are raised. First, we know that this is something that God has given to humanity as a gift in proper context. And I think that there's a way for us to talk about it within the church that's, or there's a way for us to avoid this conversation within the church that's not helpful, where we sort of communicate that sex is just this taboo thing. It's bad, it's icky, it's wrong, and that's not what we want to communicate.
To our children, that's not what we want to communicate. To the church, we want to see it as a good gift that God has given to his people in the context of marriage. And of course we know that marriage, according to the Bible, is a picture, really, of a greater reality, and that greater reality is the reality of the Gospel, the relationship that Jesus Christ has with his bride, the church. This is exactly what the apostle Paul said in Ephesians chapter 5. Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. They're speaking of that union of intimacy. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
However, each one of you love his wife as himself and let the wife see that she respects her husband. In other words, from the relationship that God has with his people, that Christ has with his church, we can draw lines of analogy, but there is a great mystery involved here, and so we want to be careful that we're not removing the mystery, that we're not approaching this in a way that is unveiled, we might say, or just let loose. Yeah, we really want to be faithful to the Scriptures, we want to allow some of this imagery, some of these analogies, these metaphors, to carry over as we're thinking about God's great love for his people. But I think there's a way to delve in to this discussion that's unhelpful, and so when we're looking at things like sex from a human perspective, and then through that lens trying to make conclusions about God and the Gospel, well, that's when it becomes dangerous.
And I would say that would be problematic. Now, there are other places where you also have this same kind of intimate language used analogically by way of analogy to describe our relationship with God. I think of Paul's exhortation in 1 Corinthians 6, and there in particular, he's talking about fleeing from sexual immorality. He says in verse 12, all things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.
All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything. And then he goes on to say, and he's rebuking the Corinthians here, because they were engaging in sexual immorality. He says, just a little bit later there, this is 1 Corinthians 6, verse 14, God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
In other words, we have been united to Jesus Christ, body and soul. Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Apparently, some within Corinth were going and visiting prostitutes, and Paul says, never. No way.
How could that be? Do you not know, he says, that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? They're referencing that act of union, the two becoming one flesh. For as it is written, the two will become one flesh, but he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
Flee from sexual immorality. And so he's, again, using this by way of analogy to talk about the intimate relationship that we have with God as his people, with Christ. But we, again, we want to be very careful that we're not reading too much into that, that we're letting the mystery stand this picture of beauty and intimacy, and closeness, covenant, covenantal relationship that we have with God as his people, and there are good ways of talking about that, and then there are also some unhelpful ways of talking about that. Good counsel.
Thanks for that. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go back to the phones. If you have a question for us about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, we'd love to hear from you. 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Rick calling in from Nebraska. Rick, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yes, Pastor Adriel. I wanted to know, what does the Lord say or the Word say about marijuana, the smoking of marijuana? Yeah.
Hey, Rick, thank you for that question. Well, of course, there isn't one verse in the Bible that brings up the smoking of marijuana. Sometimes people will appeal to the Greek word pharmakeia, where it talks about, I mean, they're just alluding to drugs or drug use, that kind of a thing, but again, if we're going to be specific here, what the Bible condemns is drunkenness.
That is, losing control of your faculties, being brought under the influence of something that keeps you from thinking clearly and sober-mindedly. I think, again, of that text that I was mentioning earlier in the book of Ephesians, we were just talking about marriage, but right before that, the Apostle Paul says, this is Ephesians 5, verse 18, Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. In other words, don't get drunk with, don't come under the influence of or intoxication, don't be under the influence of wine, but be under the influence of the Holy Spirit, led by the Spirit.
And so I think that's what we need to pursue in the Christian life. And so insofar as people are using these drugs recreationally and becoming intoxicated, I'd say, well, the Bible does have a lot to say about that. It says, be filled with the Spirit.
Don't be controlled by this other substance. We're called to be sober-minded. We're called to be wise in all that we do.
And so that's what I say. Of course, the Bible also calls us to obey earthly rulers. And I know there's a big question right now about the legalization of some of these things, but there, too, we're called to obey earthly rulers. And so there are a couple of different ways of looking at this, Rick, but my encouragement to you as a brother would just be to heed the words of the Apostle Paul there in Ephesians 5, to be filled with the Spirit.
Let the Spirit of God, brothers and sisters, be what we're controlled by, who we're controlled by in our everyday life. A few years ago, I was talking to some Christian parents whose teenage son was trying to justify his use of marijuana. And he said, well, Mom and Dad, you know, the Old Testament says that God blessed every herb of the earth.
Yes, I've heard that one, Bill, believe it or not. Yes, you know, sometimes people will point to the early chapters of Genesis, where it talks about God giving, you know, every plant and, you know, herb of the earth and whatnot. Well, let's be careful with how we're using Scripture here. But, again, I just, I think that exhortation that Paul gives us in Ephesians 5 is a good one to live by. And then Peter also says, be clear-minded and self-controlled, right? I mean, and that's, I think, applies to our theology, our doctrine, but it also applies to our personal behavior, right?
100 percent, yeah. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you've got a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can call us 24 hours a day. Leave us a voicemail at 833-THECORE. You can also email us your question. Here's our email address, questions at corechristianity.com.
Let's go to Austin calling in from Missouri. Austin, what's your question for Adriel? Hey, Adriel, I was calling because I was reading Matthew 22 verses 4 through 10, and I was wondering why it was mentions of murder in that passage, when it looks like it's describing what the kingdom of God is.
It's a great question. So this is a parable that Jesus gives, and actually I was just talking about this yesterday in the sermon, Bill, and you were there for that. I was.
Because you visited our church yesterday. Hope you liked everything. I love you.
Especially the movie analogies. Yeah, there you go. There was 15 of them, right? So this is the parable of the wedding feast, Austin. Jesus tells a parable, The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants saying, Tell those who are invited. See, I have prepared my dinner.
My oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast. But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you can find. And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both the bad and the good.
And so the wedding hall was filled with guests. Now this parable, Austin in particular, what Jesus is doing here is he's saying, Look, I've come. I'm the Lord. The Father sent the Son into the world. And what is Jesus preaching? He's preaching the kingdom of God. John the Baptist before him was saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. The kingdom of God is here.
Jesus is establishing his kingdom, and he's calling people to come on in. Do you remember as he was preaching these things, Austin, how the religious people responded to him? They rejected his word. They rejected him. I mean, Jesus says to them in John chapter 5, You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and these are the very scriptures that testify of me, but you're not willing to come to me that you may have life.
And so the Messiah shows up, but as John says earlier in his gospel, he came to his own, and his own did not receive him. It's as though they were making excuses. They don't want to go to the wedding feast, and those excuses that we see there in verses 4 and following, these lame excuses. You know, you're being invited by the king to the marriage supper, to the wedding feast, and their response is, Well, you know, I've prepared my dinner, my oxen, or excuse me, a little bit later.
You know, they go on to say, you know, I've purchased a plot of land and so on and so forth. It's just they're making excuses. And so that's what Jesus is getting at, and not only were they making excuses, but what did the religious leaders in Israel often do to the prophets that were sent to them? Well, they murdered them, they killed them, and that's what Jesus is talking about in verse 6. So these words are really a rebuke to Israel for rejecting the words of the prophets and rejecting here the Messiah himself, not wanting to enter into the wedding feast. Austin, does that clear it up for you?
He's not talking about heaven, you know, like as in, you know, already being in the presence of God, but he's talking about his ministry, his preaching, and how people were responding to it. Yes, that helps out a lot. I appreciate it. All right, good, man. Hey, God bless you, and thank you for giving us a call. Thanks, Austin. Appreciate you being one of our regular listeners. Let's go to Jared calling in from Texas.
Jared, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, so my question is on like fasting, the conscience, and spiritual attacks. So a dilemma I've been facing in my walk with Christ, just for a little bit of background on the question, I started off in a nominal home, was a lost false convert, and by God's grace started to read the Gospels, but quickly shifted to legalism because I didn't realize God's law is meant to drive you to Christ and not as a means of attaining, you know, righteousness with him. Fast forward several years, God revealed to me, you know, we're saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and yet I still get tripped up in very simplistic areas like fasting or other various disciplines. There will be inner compunctions of conscience that say to me, you know, if you don't pray or read God's word before eating, you're proving that you're choosing God's gifts over him, or, you know, you're like Esau.
So I guess the question could be how can one balance the line between legalism and lawlessness, and how can one enjoy God and not just his gifts? Yeah, well, there's a lot there, and so specifically with regard to the discipline of fasting, you know, the religious leaders, they fasted twice a week. You know, they had this whole pattern for fasting. I think under the new covenant, I think fasting is appropriate at times, but I don't know that I would see it as something that we just sort of create a regimen for. You know, I fast once a week or something like that.
No, we fast in response to particular needs, dire situations, perhaps, or certain prayer requests, and so it's more occasional, and so we don't need to be legalistic about getting into a pattern of fasting. I think if you're feeling this sense of I ought to pray and fast about this thing and God provides you opportunity to do that, I would say go ahead and do it. You have been freed, Jared, through Jesus Christ from the curse of the law. In Jesus Christ, you are dead to the law. You have died with Christ, and now the law can't condemn you anymore.
So when you hear it accusing you and you feel these accusations, you could just, look, I'm dead to that. You are free now to follow Jesus, to pray, to read scripture, not because you're under the law as this sort of crushing covenant. You know, maybe God's going to accept you.
Maybe he's going to reject you. No, you can do that because you're alive to Jesus Christ, and so, brother, I would say having the right balance is saying, look, I'm alive from the dead in Christ, and now, Lord, I get to follow you, and I do so imperfectly, and we all do, but may God give us the grace to do it with joy. 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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