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How Can the Church Be a Safe Haven In Tragedy?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
March 29, 2023 6:20 pm

How Can the Church Be a Safe Haven In Tragedy?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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March 29, 2023 6:20 pm

Episode 1194 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes


Questions in this Episode


1. Besides praying, what else can we do to help those affected by the Nashville shooting?

2. How can I deal with sexual desires as a single person?

3. How do we reconcile God’s promise in Psalm 91 with the Nashville shooting?

4. Who is to blame in a mass shooting?

5. Did the church form before or after Pentecost?

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Easter Devotional: Sayings from the Cross

Core Question – How Can Christianity Be True if God Allows Evil and Suffering?


Who is to blame in a mass shooting? 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 number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. You can watch Adriel live in the studio right now on our YouTube channel and send him your question that way. And of course, you can always email us your question at

First up today, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners named Lynn. I just asked Pastor Adriel what Christians can do with regards to these terrible shootings. In addition to praying, I wanted to thank him because he didn't sugarcoat this or just gloss over it.

I understand that he's probably wise not to get into, quote unquote, taking sides over something that can present itself politically controversial. But I still appreciate that he sees this as a life issue, that it really isn't just about our prayers as Christians powerful as they are and as important as they are. But we have to do more to be doers of the word and to love our neighbor.

And I love how he talked about that we want to see our neighbors flourish. And that just meant a lot to me. Lynn, thank you so much for that encouragement. And absolutely, I appreciated when you called in yesterday that you talked about the importance of prayer, but also the longing that we all have. Okay, what are we called to do as the people of God? And certainly we're called to obey God's moral law. And a part of the moral law is the command not to murder.

But one of my points was that, and this is I think the proper way of viewing the 10 Commandments is not just that they're forbidding certain things, but they're also calling us to something positive. Ultimately, right, summarized in the love of God and the love of our neighbor, and to love our neighbor is to want the best for our neighbor to seek the thriving and flourishing of life in the lives of our family members and in the lives of our neighbors, the people around us, even the people around us who don't embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so that's what God calls us to as his people, as a people. And so we need to be committed to that and committed to praying about and seeking out ways to serve the Lord and to do what his word calls us to. And so again, appreciate your feedback and your encouragement and especially in this time, may the Lord continue to comfort and to be with the families of the victims and give his church wisdom, give us wisdom as to the proper way to respond, to expose the evil that is in our world today, to lament over it and to comfort those who are afflicted. God bless you, Lynn.

You know, Adriel, I know you've talked about this in the past. There's a danger that as evangelical Christians, sometimes we sort of want to cloister ourselves in our own safe circles. And we look at the ministry of Jesus and how he interacted with sinners.

He interacted with some of the worst of the worst and ministered to them. And I think that I'm just following up on what you said that behooves us. There could be people right in our neighborhood, in our schools, in our workplaces who are struggling in some way, who are confused about gender identity. There's a wide variety of issues in our culture right now. And I'm just feeling like God wants us to go beyond just the safe, pablum, hey, would you like to come to church with me for Easter? I mean, that's a great thing to invite somebody to church for Easter. But to move beyond that, to really, as you said, caring for our neighbors and for the flourishing of our society, of our culture. Yeah, well, definitely invite your neighbors to the Easter service. I think that is one way that we can...

But, Bill, you're right. What we don't want, and this is one of my concerns as a pastor, is people so shaped by the vitriol that we see in media and social media. And then we just begin to view others, our neighbors, the them, as freaks, as, gosh, didn't touch that person with a 10-foot pole. We hate sin and we lament the evil in society, but we are called to pursue sinners with the truth of the gospel. And, of course, isn't that precisely what our Lord Jesus did? And so we walk a fine line, I think we ought to, as Christians, never condoning sin, but also not looking down on sinners like the scribes and the Pharisees did, but pursuing those who are desperately in need of the truth of the gospel. And God help us to do that, not to fall into the trap of, again, that sort of us, them, and we're huddled away over here and, boy, let them just destroy themselves while we do our own thing over here, but truly, with compassion, with intentionality, to seek to proclaim the gospel in word and by our actions, you know, the implications of the gospel, the grace of God in our lives, to the people around us, to engage them as Christ calls us to.

So well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about something going on in our culture, how it impacts your Christian life, how you can be a better witness to those around you, or maybe you've got a struggle with something going on in your life and could use some prayer right now, here's our phone number. It's 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE.

We'll be taking calls for the next 15 minutes or so, so give us a call right now. I have a question that came in from Jane in Indiana, and she says, how can I deal with sexual desires as a single person? Thank you, Jane, for this question, and obviously a very, very practical question, one that many people ask. And so first, I think recognizing that those desires aren't necessarily bad desires. I mean, we can have disordered sexual desires, I think, that we confess to the Lord, but then there's also just the natural desires that we have as human beings made in God's image. This is why God has given us the gift of marriage, and I think a part of growing in maturity and in sanctification is learning how to deal with those desires in ways that are proper and biblical and honoring to God. Now, when it comes to sexual temptation, the temptation to do things with those desires that runs contrary to the word of God, I think scripture is very clear.

You're called, Jane, to flee from those youthful passions. That is not to give in to them, but to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. That's Paul's words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2, verse 22.

And I love the way he puts it there, right? Because when it comes to sinful temptation, we're never called to cultivate it, to just sort of dwell on it, but to run from it, because it is so powerful. And we think of the weakness of the flesh, our own propensity to sort of give in to sinful desires or to take those desires that we have and do things that we shouldn't do with them. And so we flee from those things, but we don't just run, we pursue something positively, that is righteousness, faith, love, peace, and not in isolation, but together with the people of God. So I think actually community, godly community, godly friendships, relationships, is really important when it comes to fighting against sinful temptations. And then also bringing those desires to the Lord. I mean, Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, when he talks about marriage, he says it's better to marry than to burn with passion. In other words, this is a sign, I think, in part that we ought to pursue marriage, pursue the right person that God has for us, someone who loves Christ and is a part of the Church as well, and to bring those things before the Lord and to wait upon the Lord, seeking to be content, seeking to be holy and pure in all things, and trusting that God is going to provide for us in His timing.

Jane, thank you for your question. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Love to hear from you if you've got a question about the Bible or the Christian life, maybe a passage of scripture that's kind of been confusing to you through the years and you'd like some clarification. Here's the number, 833-THECORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Connie calling in from Independence, Missouri. Connie, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi, Pastor, thanks for taking my call. I have a question, and maybe I'm doubting God's faithfulness to His promise, but in Psalms 91, it says that God will send His angels to protect us. And so, with that in mind, how does that fit in for these people in Tennessee with the mass shooting yesterday? Where was the angels to protect them?

Yeah. Well, Connie, let me just read some of Psalm 91 to give us the context. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust, for He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked because you have made the Lord your dwelling place, the Most High, who is my refuge. How do we read that in light of the shooting there in Tennessee and the children of God being gunned down? I mean, I think of the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 8. This is something that the apostles themselves had to wrestle with.

We are counted as sheep to be slaughtered, Paul quoting there in Romans 8, all day long. He talks about the persecution, trial, sword, death, all of these things that the people of God can experience as followers of Jesus Christ. And so I think we have to understand Psalm 91 in its context, and certainly God does protect and defend His people. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit, meaning there is no spiritual force in heaven or on earth that can snatch us out of the hands of Almighty God. This is something also that we see in the book of Revelation, the people of God sealed with the Spirit and name of God.

You think of the 144,000, for example, who are described there in the book of Revelation, and yet those ones still experience great suffering and tribulation, even martyrdom. And so the protection of God is deeper than just like you're not going to feel or experience physical tribulation, even famine, death, the sword, things that Paul mentions in Romans 8. But it is that God, even through that, keeps His children, that no one can snatch them out of His hand. And that's what Jesus says. And I think that's one comfort that we have, even in the midst of this great and horrific tragedy that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, holds those victims in His hand. And no one, not even a deranged shooter, can take them out of the hands of Almighty God because of faith in Jesus Christ.

And so it's reading these things in their context. I also think in Psalm 91 you have echoes of the promises for blessings, for obedience to God's covenant that are outlined in places like Deuteronomy chapter 28. And those are specifically a part of those old covenant promises. If you do these things, if you're faithful to this covenant, then you're going to experience these blessings, this protection, the enemies are going to flee from you, so on and so forth. We're not under the old covenant.

We're under the new covenant. And that doesn't mean that we're not protected by God. But even though we're protected, even though we're sealed by the Holy Spirit, we do experience tribulation and trial and sword even. And so we come before the Lord, crying out to Him for His mercy, for His grace, for physical protection as well, absolutely, as the people of God saying, God, spare Your people. But not just reading this and thinking, well, this means that Christians should never experience persecution or suffering or horrible events like we've just seen because it doesn't. And that's very clear from the rest of scripture, certainly from the New Testament, what the apostles themselves experienced, what our Lord Jesus Himself experienced for the sake of His people. God bless you, Connie, and may the Lord comfort you and all of us in the midst of this difficult time. Great explanation.

Thanks for that, Adriel. By the way, we have a great free resource here at CORE Christianity, which really would be very helpful at this time after the shooting. And a lot of perhaps your friends or relatives or work associates who are not believers are asking this question. They're saying, how can Christianity be true if God allows evil and suffering in this world? And that's exactly what this resource is called.

And we'd love to get that in your hands. It's free. You can find it by going to core Christianity dot com forward slash questions.

Look for how can Christianity be true if God allows evil and suffering? Well, one of the things we want to mention here today on core Christianity is that we are a listener supported ministry. We count on people just like you to keep us on the air. We don't get money from a church or denomination. We don't play commercials.

We don't get money from a radio station. We we really do depend on you. And we have a group of people that believe so strongly in this ministry that they contribute on a regular basis and we call them our inner core.

Yes. Our inner core is a group of monthly donors that give us a gift of twenty five dollars or more every month. And that's a part of how we continue to do the ministry that we're doing here, the work that we're doing here in terms of answering your questions every single day about the Christian faith. And of course, we want to apply the truth of God's word to the difficult situations that we're facing today as as a church, as a country. But for you also, as individuals, as you're reading through scripture, as you're wrestling through a passage, we want to encourage you. And so if you've been encouraged by the work that we're doing, would you consider joining the inner core? And as a thank you, we'll send you a copy of the book Core Christianity by Dr. Michael Horton, a professor, theology professor and a friend of mine. I know this book will really bless you. And so thank you for your support and and for your encouragement. You can learn more about joining the inner core by going to core Christianity dot com forward slash inner core. That's all one word core Christianity dot com forward slash inner core. Love to have you perfectly consider joining that excellent group of people who support this ministry on a regular basis.

Well, we got a voicemail that came in yesterday and we'd like to play that for you right now. Hi Pastor Adriel and Bill, thank you for what you all do at Core Christianity. I'm a long time listener and not to discuss the Nashville tragedy that happened. My question is regarding the shooter's parents and the shooter's family. I think about what they have to endure and what they're going through. I pray for them that God will just help them through this and that they won't be stigmatized because in America, it's easy to stigmatize someone who happens to be related to a person that would do this terrible act. Yeah, how can we be there for them? I appreciate everything you all are doing and God bless you all.

Yeah, thank you for that for that encouragement and excellent question. I mean, obviously, certainly prayer and let me say something. One of the things I've noticed in the last day or so is, and not just with this instance, but anytime you have something like this, isn't there the temptation that we all have to blame someone? You've even been seeing and this is horrible, but in media, in some places, I've seen blame laid at the feet of the church. In other words, it's the church's fault. It's Christian's fault that this happened because of their beliefs about transgenderism or whatever. What a horrible thing.

What an outrageous thing, frankly. It seems like people recognize how wrong it is, how evil it is to blame victims unless those victims at times are believers in Jesus Christ, even little children. It just shows you how twisted things are. We have to fight against the temptation to point the finger and say, you mentioned the parents, well, it's their fault or it's the church's fault. We have to be careful, but we look ultimately at the individual who committed these heinous crimes. We lament those things. We just have to be so careful. It's not even just with stuff like this. It's anytime there's a tragic event, even in our own lives.

I think it's easy for us to want to try to dig deep and say, I wish I would have done this or I wish I would have done that or this is my fault in some way. We just have to take a step back and be really careful with that. I think we want to be cautious there and I think we ought to pray. Obviously, I imagine that the family, I haven't read anything about this, but I imagine that the family is absolutely horrified and devastated and that this is a crushing thing for them. Praying for them as well, certainly. Praying that somehow the light of the Lord would shine through and penetrate through the darkness for them as well as we pray that for so many others, especially those families of the victims during this time. Appreciate your question and even you bringing that up and God help us to act wisely and to respond properly to these kinds of tragic events. I was just thinking how great it would be if that church where the school was located reached out to those parents and just said, we love you. We want to come alongside you.

We know you're grieving as well. My guess is knowing that church, what I know about it, I bet you that's going to happen. We should all be praying for that family as that listener said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you've got a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Chet calling in from East Illinois. Chet, what's your question for Adriel? Yes. Good afternoon, gentlemen.

Thank you for your program. I just had a question about in Matthew chapter 18 verse 17. Matthew is writing there about some instructions that Jesus had gave the disciples.

And in this case is talking about the offended brother. But he says there that if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he even refuses to hear the church, let him be to you like a hedon. My question is the use of the word church. I was understanding that the church was not established until after Pentecost, and that's when the church first began. So how do we understand Matthew's usage of the word church in his writing?

I know he wrote after the resurrection of Christ, but how do we understand that? Yeah. Yeah.

Excellent question. And I think it is important for us to recognize that something distinct happened on the day of Pentecost as the history of redemption is unfolding. But there are a few different ways of looking at this. There is this organic unity of the people of God across redemptive history. So for example, the author of the Hebrews can write about the wilderness generation, the people that were in the wilderness there under the old covenant, and identify them as, in one sense, the church, the people of God, the assembled ones, and draw lines of analogy between them and between us, or between the believers that he was writing to under the new covenant there, the Hebrew church. And so there is this organic unity of the people of God.

We have been grafted in as Gentiles by faith into the one people of God, as the apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 11. So even though there's something distinct that happens at Pentecost through the work, the redemptive work, obviously, of our Lord Jesus Christ, we don't want to lose sight of the fact that the people of God are one throughout redemptive history, and that you have these types and shadows of the church, even in the Old Testament. And of course, Jesus, throughout the Gospel of Matthew, talked about building his church.

It's what he told Peter back in Matthew chapter 16, when he said, you know, you are Peter, this is verse 18, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And then in Matthew chapter 18, speaking about the process of church discipline, you know, what you do when you have a brother who has sinned against you, Jesus says at some point in the process, if they fail to listen, to repent, then you tell it to the church. And here, Jesus is setting his disciples up for a lifetime of ministry and establishing churches and helping them to understand how those churches are to be run, how they're to operate faithfully. And a part of that is the process of church discipline, of working together as a church to fight against the sin in the midst of the body.

And so that's precisely what's happening. And of course, you get the day of Pentecost, the disciples going out preaching, and what are they doing? They are planting churches, establishing churches, and installing elders and deacons in those churches, as the book of Acts describes, because Jesus commanded them to do those things. You know, a lot of people think the church is man's idea.

I know the church is and always has been God's idea, and that's why we need to be a part of solid gospel preaching local churches. God bless. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-02 14:51:42 / 2023-04-02 15:01:15 / 10

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