Can God have a purpose for chronic pain? 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 also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you're always welcome to email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to John calling in from Missouri. John, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?
Yeah, how you doing there? I like that, Pastor. In the last times, there will be false heresies and false teachers that said they were among us, and then they became false preachers and introduced heresies in the church. I was wondering, is that former Christians, or is that people that were atheists and that never believed in God, and they somehow found their way in the church and introduced these false heresies? And also, how does that reflect the coming of the Antichrist? Is that when people are going to be turning away from Christ and the church more and more, or is that part of the delusion that God sends to these people?
And I want to stay on the air and hear your comment. Well, John, really good question. So are these teachers who are deceiving outside of the church, or are they inside the church? And I think when you look at some of these warnings that we get in places like 2 Peter and Jude, and even the warning that the apostle Paul gave to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20, it seems like in each of those passages, the false teachers are creeping within the church, and that's what's so terrifying about them. So for example, Jude, verse 3, Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, for certain people have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ. One of the things, certainly in Jude and also in 2 Peter, that seems to characterize these false teachers who have crept into the church is a sensual way of living. There's greed, there's immorality. You think of the sort of scandals that we hear about these days, things happening within churches, you just sort of scratch your head and think, wait, what was going on there?
You know, embezzlement, sexual sin, infidelity. Well, that's sort of what Jude is talking about, it seems to be here. And so, yeah, I mean, this is an apostasy, this is a turning away from the faith that is described in the New Testament. You asked, you know, what's the relationship between this and the coming of the Antichrist? Well, certainly when Antichrist is revealed, the man of lawlessness, 2 Thessalonians 2, verses 1 through 7, that's associated with a great turning away, a great apostasy. Paul said to Timothy, the Spirit says that in the latter days, many will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and the doctrines of demons.
So these are people who were within the church or are within the church and then turned away from the truth of God's word, the truth of the gospel, and were deceived by the spirit of the Antichrist. And that's why, as, you know, we read there in Jude 3, it's important for us to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Brothers and sisters, we need to take very seriously the word of God and the warnings that we find in scripture to consider ourselves, to examine ourselves. I mean, I picture the apostle Paul in Acts chapter 20 as he's speaking to the Ephesian elders, and he says to them, night and day, for years, I didn't stop warning you. I mean, he took this very seriously, the reality of false teaching and false teachers, and so we also need to take it very seriously. And may God help us to do so, to cling to sound doctrine and to discern error when we see it and address it.
God bless. You know, what are your thoughts, Adriel, on—we have some denominations right now that appear to be preaching heresy, or at least ideas that are completely contrary to scripture. I'm thinking of those denominations that have embraced homosexuality and gay ordination, gay marriage. Do you think those fall into that category?
Yes, I do. 100%, in fact. And again, that whole thing in Jude in 2 Peter, this sort of, right, like, embracing of sensuality, of sin. In other words, instead of addressing sin, calling sin what it is and calling people to repentance and faith to receive the grace of God, they encourage people to live in sin. And it's not just—we're not just talking about homosexuality. I mean, there's any number of things that churches, even quote-unquote conservative churches, can do, can fall into, and sort of turn a blind eye to evil, to sin. And this was the problem with the false prophets in Israel.
It's always struck me. When you read about the false prophets in Israel in places like the book of Jeremiah, over and over and over again, one of the things that characterized Israel's false prophets was that they would say, peace, peace, where there was no peace. God is not going to judge sin, they would say. You guys are fine.
You're doing okay. Everything's just going to continue going as it's always gone. You don't need to be afraid of God's judgment. They would essentially tell people who were living in sin and rejecting God, everything is fine, you're okay. Well, that's what we're seeing.
I mean, you brought it up, Bill. That's what we're seeing in churches today, sadly. And so one of the characteristics of these false prophets and of false teachers in the church today is that they look at people who are living in sin and they say, you're all right.
Everything's fine. Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Do whatever you want. And they don't say, repent. Repent because your sin is killing you. Repent because you're sinning against a holy God who has infinite mercy and grace for all those who turn to him. But if you keep clinging to this sin, you're going to die in your sin. And so what we need is bold preachers today who are willing to stand firm upon the truth of God's word for the good of people and for the good of their souls.
And it's just an absolute tragedy, what we're seeing in some places today. Really well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you're always welcome to leave us a voicemail. Here's our number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Anthony, who's calling in from Oklahoma. Anthony, what's your question for Adriel? Hello. Hey, Anthony. Hello, Pastor. How are you doing? Oh, I'm doing pretty good. Trying to stay warm. All right. Well, you can come out here to California, Southern California.
It stays pretty warm throughout the year. What's your question? Yeah. Well, I heard about, well, the Spirit will live forever, everlasting or whatever, but I was thinking what Paul said about, I guess it's in Corinthians, where he talks about your spirit has to put on immortality, or it'll be a mortal spirit that means that it's liable to die. Yeah, so 1 Corinthians chapter 15, Paul talking about the doctrine of the resurrection to the Corinthian church. There was a little bit of a controversy there in Corinth because there were some people that were saying that the resurrection had already happened, and so there was this deception that was taking place, and Paul is highlighting the fact, and then there were other people, by the way, who were saying that there was no physical resurrection, so Paul is having to address these errors, and he's talking about the fact that there is going to be a bodily resurrection, and the way that we know there's going to be a bodily resurrection is that Jesus himself rose from the dead. And so he says in verse 50 of 1 Corinthians 15, I tell you this, brothers, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable. So he's talking about the resurrection here. The dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall all be changed, for this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. And so the focus here is on our corruptible perishable body, putting on immortality, if you will, through the resurrection of the dead and the glorification of our body that comes by means of Christ's resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit. That's what every Christian has to look forward to through what Christ has accomplished for us. Thank you for your question, Anthony. Anthony, thanks so much for calling in, for being a regular listener to CORE Christianity.
We really do appreciate it. By the way, we get a lot of calls here at the CORE about God's will. What is God's will for my life?
How do I decide if I should take that job, make that move, marry that person? Well, we actually have a wonderful resource we'd like to offer you on that topic today. The booklet is called What is God's Will for Me, and it's a short read. It's only about 50 pages, but it has a lot of helpful information about how to discern the will of God and what the Bible is talking about when it talks about the will of God. There's so much confusion about this today, and so we do hope that you'll get ahold of this booklet, this resource.
It's yours for a gift of any amount. You can get it at corechristianity.com. Once again, it's called What is God's Will for Me, and you can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Well, we do receive emails here at the CORE, and you can send us an email anytime with your question for Adriel. Our email address is questions at corechristianity.com.
Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Corey. Corey says, In regards to suffering, some Christians might attribute it to living in a broken and fallen world. Others might point to the book of Job or other passages that speak of the Lord refining us through trials.
What is the proper response to someone living in chronic pain at no fault of their own? Can we ever confidently say what the purpose of that is? I'm hoping to provide comfort for those in my small group who've been suffering for years and dealing with unanswered prayers for healing. Thank you, and God bless. Corey, I think that we want to be really careful that we don't just sort of in an overly simplistic way and in an insensitive way say, Well, this is why God did that.
This is why you have this horrible pain. Yeah, I know we can look at passages that talk about all things that God does for his glory and so on and so forth, but oftentimes when someone is suffering, they're wondering specifically, God, why did you allow this? What is the purpose here? And I think that we can say that God is working and teaching us things and ultimately working all things, as Paul says in Romans 8, together for the good of those who love him and for his own glory. We just, I think, want to be sensitive. We want to be loving. We want to come alongside of those who are suffering and weep, mourn with those who mourn while also providing the hope that scripture gives to us. And certainly, according to the Bible, there is a purpose even in suffering, even in our suffering. This is one of the great things that we have as Christians. As people in the world, one of the reasons why those who don't know God have to avoid suffering at all costs is because there's no purpose or point to it.
It's just like you just have to have as much fun as you can in life because there's really no point to the bad. Well, we believe, I mean, James says this at the very beginning of the book of James, Count it all joy, brothers, when you experience trials of various kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. God is doing something in this. Well, is he doing something in my chronic suffering?
And I think we would want to say, yes, the sovereign Lord is able to and does work even in the midst of those kinds of things. Of course, the passage that we often go to is in 2 Corinthians 12, where the apostle Paul is talking about some kind of suffering that he was experiencing. We could maybe call it a chronic type of suffering, where he describes what he says was a thorn in the flesh, something that was really bothering him. And he says this is something that God gave to him. Verse 7 of 2 Corinthians 12, To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, Paul says, I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I want to say something to you suffering right now. There's nothing wrong with praying and saying, God, help me.
Remove this. Heal me. And maybe the Lord does. Maybe it's his will to do that.
Or maybe he responds to you like he responded to Paul here. And he says to you suffering, My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness. And then the prayer becomes, Lord, through this affliction, through this pain or suffering that I have, help me to glorify you, to be faithful to you, to experience your presence, your comfort, your love. I don't know why you've chosen this for me, why you've allowed this, but I know that you are good and I know that your grace is sufficient for me. And friend, the grace of God is sufficient for you, even in the midst of sickness or chronic pain. And may God comfort you with that reality and give you hope and strength in knowing that even when it seems pointless, even when it feels like I don't know what you're doing, God, God is at work in you, refining you, strengthening your faith.
Hold fast to the truth of his word and to the promises that he's given to you in his word and walk in that. And I pray for you, friend, as you're talking to people in your Bible study, Corey, who are wrestling with these things, that you can be a comfort, an encouragement, that you can bring some of these passages to bear in a way that's helpful and life-giving for those who are going through great difficulty in that study. And let me just take a moment right now to pray for you, that God would give you wisdom, and to pray for the people in your study and your small group who have been suffering.
Father, thank you for Corey. Oh Lord, thank you for his desire to encourage and come alongside of those who are suffering greatly. I pray, Jesus, that you would give him wisdom. I pray, Lord, that you would be with the people in his small group, Lord, who are dealing with chronic pain or sickness. Lord, that you would strengthen their faith, that you would comfort them, that you would give them a sense of your presence.
And Lord, that together, that small group would grow in the grace and the knowledge of Christ. Thank you for them. In Jesus' name, amen. Amen. Thanks for that, Adriel.
Some great words. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can call us 24 hours a day and leave your question on our voicemail system. The number is 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Sue calling in from Tennessee. Sue, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Pastor Sanchez. I am so glad to talk to you.
I listen to you frequently and a lot of times in the middle of the night when I can't sleep and they re-run your program. Wonderful. And my question is, I have been a Christian for many years and I had always thought that I would be cremated upon my death. And I really can't afford to have a big funeral and all of the trappings that go with that. But I've had several of my Christian friends and one pastor say that I should not do that because that's the way of the pagans. And that God would not be, you know, blessing that. So my question is, is it wrong to be cremated? Well, Sue, thank you for your encouragement first.
I'm grateful that the broadcast can be a blessing in your life. With regard to this question, I believe that this is a matter of Christian liberty so that it's not a sin to be cremated. Of course, the Christian faith has a high view of the body and of the physical world. And so sometimes people will say, because that's the case, cremation is not a good thing.
But we're bringing all sorts of things into consideration here. One of the things that you mentioned is just the ability to pay for a funeral and a casket and all of those things. I know for many people, it's a lot simpler to be cremated. Here's the thing, it's not the way that you're buried that determines where you spend eternity. You know, there were ancient... The way of the pagan is really believing that, actually, because there were ancient religions. You think of the Egyptians who had these, you know, intense burial practices, the belief that they're going to take some of these things with them in the afterlife, and so they're being placed in a tomb with all sorts of goods and treasures and so on and so forth.
But the way that you're buried is not the most significant thing. The question is what you believe while you're alive and whether or not we're united to Jesus Christ by faith. The power of his spirit is what's going to resurrect his people, whether they've been cremated or buried or lost at sea or whatever, however that's come about. And so we can be confident as believers that we're going to spend eternity with the Lord because of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf and because we trust in him. And so that's why I think that, again, this is a matter of Christian liberty.
If this is what works best for you and for your family, I think you can, with a clear conscience, make the decision to be cremated as opposed to being buried. I don't think that it's a question of sin. And so, yeah, this is something that I would say falls into that category.
And appreciate, again, your encouragement, and pray that the Lord blesses you and gives you wisdom and peace of mind as you think about this decision. We actually have a resource on this topic. It's called Can a Christian Be Cremated? It's one of our core questions.
You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash questions. Let's go to Eric calling in from Oklahoma. Eric, what's your question for Adriel? Hey, Eric, are you there?
I think we lost Eric. Well, here's an email question for you, Adriel. This is from Megan. She says, I'm reading through Genesis and I had a question about how God renames his people. Examples like Abraham becoming Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel. I know this also happens in the New Testament with Saul becoming Paul. What is the significance of these people being renamed? Is it just another sign of the change in their faith? If so, why doesn't everyone in the Bible or even today get renamed when they come to faith?
That's a great question. Well, it really has to do with identity, doesn't it? God taking someone like Abram and calling him Abraham or with Israel. Something is communicated there, there in particular with Abraham. Who is Abraham?
He's the father of many nations. And so that's what's being communicated through this change of name, is this change of identity in one sense, seeing things from the perspective of Almighty God. And I would say that in holy baptism, we are renamed in one sense.
Why? Because we're baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. God has placed his name on you in baptism so that you're a part of the holy family by faith, and you're called to live in light of that new family identity in Jesus Christ as one who is no longer dead, but alive from the dead.
And this is precisely what the apostle Paul talks about in places like Romans chapter 6. You have this new identity as one who is alive from the dead, a new name we might even say, and as one with this new identity, now we walk, you walk in newness of life. Praise God for his goodness and praise God for giving us that new identity in Jesus Christ. 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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