Is there such a thing as a pastor emphasizing grace too much? 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.
Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so, so now is the time to call. You can also email us your question anytime at questions at corechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to David in Missouri. David, what's your question for Adriel? Those who rejoice at disaster will not go unpunished, but then it says in Revelation 1820, I'm kind of confused about it because it says that in Revelation that the saints of God rejoice over the fall of Babylon.
Is that kind of like an exception or is that not? Yeah, that's a great question. So this is, I mean, just, I mean, really basically, is this a contradiction in the Bible? Because Proverbs wisdom 17 five says, whoever mocks the poor insults his maker. He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. And then in Revelation chapter 18, and this is actually these, these few chapters right here are focusing on Babylon and the judgment against Babylon. And you have this call in verse 20, rejoice over her, oh heavens, and you saints and apostles and prophets for God has given judgment for you against her. And David Babylon in the book of Revelation is depicted as this great beast, this persecutor of the children of God, drunk with the blood of the martyrs. And so the people of God have been crying out throughout the book of Revelation, especially if you see this in chapter six with the martyrs beneath the altar, crying out how long, oh Lord, until you avenge our blood on the earth. And this is that, this is God's judgment coming on wicked Babylon and the church, the people of God are rejoicing. Now, I think what we have here are really two different things. Proverbs 17 chapter five saying, look, when calamity happens, when you see the poor and people crushed, don't rejoice over that. That's not something that we should get joy from.
I mean, how evil would that be? But what you have in Revelation chapter 18 and throughout the book of Revelation is not just a sort of random calamity that's taking place. We have the specific judgment of God against those who had persecuted his people. And so there is, I would say, not a contradiction, but a tension that we see where we as believers in this age are called to love our enemies, to pursue peace with all people, to preach the gospel, and to engage the world so that people might turn to Christ. But there is coming a day of judgment when Christ is going to return. And that's precisely what you have again described, I believe, there in Revelation chapter 18. And the children of God, the persecuted people of God long for that day.
We say, come Lord Jesus, Maranatha, because we want relief from the brokenness and the evil of the world, the persecution that the church experiences throughout the world and has for the last 2000 years. And so no contradiction, although I think sometimes you do see that tension in scripture, David, and hopefully that helps clear up those two texts for you. God bless. Hey David, thanks so much for your call. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity.
Great question. And again, if you see what you believe is a contradiction in scripture, feel free to call us anytime and Adriel will be glad to dive into that with you and explain the full context of what you're reading. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, we would love to hear from you. Here's the number. It's 833-THECORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Brian in Kansas. Brian, what's your question for Adriel? Hello, Bill and Pastor Adriel. Thank you for taking my call.
I appreciate you guys. I was just wondering, what is your opinion on what it looks like to lead your children to Christ, you know, especially at younger ages, you get a lot of people saying, well, do you want to ask Jesus? Excuse me, ask Jesus into your heart and things like that. But I know that it's not necessarily a prayer that saves you, but it's just belief in Christ.
You know, you go to John 3 16 and then in Romans, he says, if you believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead and you confess with your mouth that he is Lord, then you will be saved. And so I'm just wondering, what do you think it looks like to actually lead your children to Christ? Yeah, man, what an excellent question and obviously something that I think about having five little kids, my oldest 11, my youngest a year old. First, in terms of just bringing children to Jesus, there is that beautiful scene in the Gospels in Matthew chapter 19. Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. And the disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.
And he laid his hands on them and went away. And so one, I think we really fundamentally need to realize that we're called as Christians and as Christian parents to bring our kids to Jesus. Now, practically speaking, right, Christ is ascended at the right hand of the Father in heaven. I think at a minimum, this looks like bringing our kids to church on Sunday. But also, and I think this is so important, setting an example for them in our day-to-day living. There's been some research done by a sociologist named Christian Smith on the faith of young adults in particular in the United States, teenagers and whatnot. But he's done a lot of research on why is it that so many who are brought up in the church are now leaving?
And he says, fundamentally, I mean, this is a scary thing, but it's also an encouraging thing. Fundamentally, the most important thing is the example that we set in the home as parents. Ordinarily, right, if we're not coming to Jesus ourselves, seeking him in prayer and in the study of scripture and setting that godly example for them, they're not going to ordinarily do that on their own. And so it's setting that example and being focused upon bringing our kids to church, growing together with the worshiping community, but grounding them, I would say, in the word of God. And I think that there's a beautiful picture of this in Paul's letter to Timothy. In 2 Timothy, chapter 1, verse 5, he says, I'm reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother, Lois, and your mother, Eunice, and now I am sure dwells in you as well. In other words, it's like the faith is being passed down. It was first in your grandmother and in your mother, and I'm sure it's in you too.
Well, how did it get into Timothy from a very young age? If you go ahead a little bit in 2 Timothy, chapter 3, verse 15, it says, how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. And so here's a question we need to be asking ourselves as parents of young children. Am I, are we, acquainting our kids with the sacred writings, with the scriptures? Are we reading the Bible together? Are we praying the scriptures together? Are we sitting under the ministry of the word faith? And you quoted this text in Romans, chapter 10, faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of Christ.
And so God works with his word by the power of the Holy Spirit to create and sustain faith in the lives of his people. And so I would say in terms of bringing our kids to Jesus, we know that Christ is the center of all scripture, and so it starts with and it ends with a focus on the word of God and growing together as a family in the word of God. And God bless you, Brian, as you seek to do that with your children and all of our listeners who are seeking to do that with their young kids as well. Hey, Brian, thanks so much for your call.
That was excellent. You know, Adriel, I was thinking also, in addition to what you mentioned, Christian Smith's research, University of North Carolina has found that if young people, especially teenagers, are plugged into a healthy faith community, into a church, they are much less likely to leave the faith as young adults. So that's another thing I think we should be stressing as parents.
Yeah, I mean, absolutely. And I encourage parents to prioritize the body of Christ, Christian worship. I think, I mean, we see this all the time, right, parents who are willing to sacrifice church for things like sports or, you know, and I'm not saying sports are a bad thing at all. I'm saying what we prioritize, what we focus on as parents, what we value, our kids see that. And so in our own lives as parents, valuing the people of God, the word of God, growing in grace together, I think that is so important to set that example. By the way, we have a great core guide on this topic. It's called Five Ways to Help Your Kids Keep the Faith.
You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash guides. Again, look for Five Ways to Help Your Kids Keep the Faith. Well, our phone lines are open. If you have a question about the Bible, Christian life, doctrine, theology, maybe some area of your life that you're struggling with right now, or maybe you've run up against some type of persecution in your workplace or at school, wherever it might be, give us a call right now.
We'd love to hear your question. It's 833-THECORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Our phone lines will be open for the next 15 minutes or so.
So now is the time to call. I want to take a moment to tell you about a great new resource we have. It's all about finding God's will for your life. The booklet is called What is God's Will for Me, a very practical question that each of us asks at some point in our lives and throughout our lives. One of the things we've found on this broadcast and I've found as a pastor, so many people, I think, when they think about this question, finding the will of God for me, they're not going to the scriptures in terms of thinking through what does it look like for me to understand God's revealed will and how should that shape the decisions that I make in my day-to-day life. So this booklet is going to help you dig into the Word of God to have a biblical perspective on finding the will of God for your life. You can get it for a gift of any amount over at corechristianity.com. Once again, it's called What is God's Will for Me, and you can find that at corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Feel free to browse around our website and see some of the awesome resources and Bible studies that we have designed just for you. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core, and you can call us 24 hours a day with your question at 833-843-2673.
Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Albert. My question for Adriel is, I've been looking at different churches in our area and even our own local church. It has the correct teaching of the grace of Jesus Christ, and everything is very much encouraged and based on the grace of Jesus Christ. However, what I'm noticing is Scripture is also calling to sanctification, purification, and staying away from the world. And what I'm noticing is how modern churches are becoming more and more like the world in a sense of music and a sense of just even behavior and things like that. And it's to some degree justified because we're not saved by works, but we're saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. And my question is, what do you as a pastor view this as, or if you could comment on this matter?
Yeah. Well, first, I think it's really helpful to define that word grace. We throw it around a lot as Christians. Grace is the demerited favor that God has given to us in his son Jesus Christ. And I say demerited because what we deserve as those who have broken God's law is his wrath and curse. And yet, instead of giving us that, God gives us mercy, grace, something good, this gift, the gift ultimately of his son Jesus, and redemption. And that gift of grace should shape our lives and propel us forward into a love for God and his word and his law. The question, can we overemphasize the grace of God? I think the answer to that is simple.
The answer to that is no. We got to go deeper and deeper into the grace of God. Now we can twist the doctrine of God's grace. We can preach grace in such a way that it leads people to have a license for sin, where we just minimize the call that God has placed upon our lives to follow him, the implications of the grace of God in our life. And so while I don't think we ought to stop preaching grace and the free grace of God, the radically free grace of God, what we have to be careful to do is not twist the message of God's grace into licentiousness.
And that's what the false teachers did. Peter talks about this in 2 Peter. I love the way Paul puts it in Romans chapter 3 when he talks about the fact that we're justified, that is made right in God's sight before a holy God, not on the basis of our works, but on the basis of faith in Christ. He says, then what becomes of our boasting? This is Romans chapter 3 verse 27.
It is excluded. In other words, we can't boast and say this was my works that justified me. By what kind of law, Paul says?
By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles also?
Yes, of the Gentiles also. Since God is one who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith, do we then overthrow the law by this faith? In other words, do we set aside the law of God now that we're justified by faith? And Paul says, by no means on the contrary, we uphold the law.
And this is precisely what he's going to go deeper into later in the book of Romans. In Romans chapter 8, when he says in verse 3, For God has done what the law weakened by the flesh could not do, by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. And so we preach the free grace of God that we're justified solely on the basis of Christ's righteousness through faith in him. And then we call people to live in light of that free justification to follow the Lord, to, by the Spirit, fulfill the righteous requirement of the law. And that's a gift, too, that God gives to us. And it sounds to me like, you know, the context you're in, maybe what they're doing is preaching the grace of God, but minimizing that call to walk in newness of life.
And I think we can distinguish between those two things, but we never want to separate them. We're justified freely by God's grace, and we are called to walk in that freedom to love Christ, to love his word, to love his law, to grow in holiness. Of course, it's going to be imperfect, but still we're called to pursue it with all of our hearts by the grace that we have received. Thanks for that question.
So well said. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. You can feel free to leave us your question anytime on our voicemail system. Here's the number. It's 833-843-2673.
That's 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Janice calling in from St. Louis, Missouri. What's your question for Adriel? Yes, my question is, our creator, God, gave us the baby Jesus, and we glorify the baby Jesus. He gave us the adult Jesus on the cross, and we thank him for his work on the cross for our salvation. In the 21st century, God has manifested his glory through technology where man is able to leave planet Earth, look back and see the Earth in the cosmos.
Why are we not paying an equal amount of attention? Because I was in awe the minute I saw the Earth rising from the moon, and I fell on my face on the floor. This is the creator that I will stand in the presence of, the creator of the entire cosmos. Are we neglecting that manifestation of who the creator is, the creator of the universe that we can now in the 21st century see?
That's my question. Should we be glorifying the Lord and what he has done in the universe? Thank you.
Absolutely. Janet, thank you for that question. I love to hear that as you see God's creation, it just brings you to your knees. That's what it should do for every single one of us. We call this natural revelation. That is, that we can learn something about God through the created world around us. And that's exactly what the Psalm is said in Psalm 19. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaim his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the Earth and their words to the ends of the world.
God is speaking through his creation. I went camping with my family about a year ago. We were in Utah, and my son, my oldest son, had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. He went outside of the tent to go pee, and he looked up, and we were in the tent, but we could hear him gasp. He just said, look at the stars. I mean, we live in San Diego in the city, and so we had never seen stars like that. He had never seen stars like that, but he just saw that and was in awe because we're 10,000 feet elevation looking up at the heavens, and they are declaring the glory of God. And we ought to, as human beings made in God's image, worship God because of his great creative acts, God as creator. We also worship him as Christians as our redeemer. Now, the problem is, and what you're picking up on, Janet, is that what the world does with this natural revelation is instead of worshiping the creator, they worship the creature, and that's exactly what the apostle Paul says in Romans chapter one, that we suppress the revelation of God through the natural world. We know what it tells us about the God, the great creator. We suppress that. We reject it in sin, and we choose instead to worship his creation, and so we're called to repentance to truly worship the Lord as creator and, as I said, as our redeemer. Thank you for that question. Great words, and boy, isn't it important that we always acknowledge God's creation, his created order in both his natural revelation and also, of course, his written revelation in his word and how those two match up with each other in so many beautiful ways, so thanks for that, Adriel.
This is Core Christianity. Let's go to Marcy, who's calling in from Nebraska. Marcy, what's your question for Adriel?
Hi. I'd like to know more about Swedenborg or Swedenborgism. It's a cult, I believe, that's going around right now. Can you, now, I've actually never heard of Swedenborgism Can you tell me a little bit about what you know about it, specifically, and maybe where it differs from Christianity?
I looked it up online last night, and it's like the spiritual structure of the universe, the possibility of direct contact with spirits and the divinity of Christ. My niece is into it, and she's not doing anything because she believes Jesus is coming right back. And we believe that as Christians, too, Jesus will be coming back, but we are to go on with our lives and be doing, we're not to wait.
Okay, well, look, I am so sorry to hear that your niece has gotten caught up in this. I remember talking to a friend some years ago speaking about the great apostasy that scripture speaks on. These are the false teachings that's out there, and you really just can't keep up. There are all these different sects that pop up. Teachings that seek to draw people away from the true Jesus.
And, of course, Paul said in 2 Corinthians that even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. He was concerned for the Corinthian church that someone might come and preach a different Jesus or that they might receive a different spirit. And so how do we address friends and family members who get caught up in these kinds of cults, Jehovah's Witness, Mormonism, Swedenborgism, or whatever this is? I would say focusing, first and foremost, one on the true Jesus of scripture as he's revealed in his word. And a lot of times when people get caught up in these things, and I'm sure you've found this, there's a lot of isolation. There's a lot of control in these cult-like communities. And so I think it's really important for you to maintain a close relationship with your niece, to exhibit the love and care of Christ to her, to build trust in that relationship, and to ask serious questions and to line up what they're teaching with scripture and to go to the word of God.
I already said it on the broadcast earlier. The word of God is where the power is. And so opening up books of the Bible, 1 John, I think, is a really helpful one here because in 1 John there was confusion about who Jesus was. John is warning against the spirit of the Antichrist.
It's in the world leading people away from the true Christ who came in the flesh to die for our sins, the eternal Son of God. And so I would say, Marcy, pray for your niece. Continue to spend time with her to show her the love of Christ, to grow in trust.
She needs to be able to trust you. And then to express very, very honestly the concern that you have for her, for her soul, and to address it biblically, to talk about scripture. Now, one of the resources that I hope we can put in your hands, and so maybe you'll stay on the line, is the book Core Christianity by Dr. Michael Horton. And the reason I think it could be a good resource for you and for your niece is it focuses on those core questions, like who is Jesus? Who is Jesus on the basis of scripture, what God says?
Who is God according to the Word? And so stay on the line, and we'll make sure to get you a copy of that book. And let me just say a prayer for your niece.
Father, would you be with Marcy, with her niece? Would you open her niece's heart to you delivering her from this false group, Lord, and bringing her into the light of your son Jesus through the Word? Thank you. 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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