What do I say to the Mormon missionaries at my front door?
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.
We would love to hear from you. Our phone lines are open right now. And you can call us for the next 25 minutes or so. Here's our phone number. That's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, you can also post your question on one of our social media sites. We're on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. And you can also watch Adriel live right now in the studio on our YouTube channel and send him your question that way. And of course, you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners.
This is Chet. I was following up from my question. I think I understand the word church would be the English translation of the original language, the Greek, which would have been the ecclesia or the called out of stimulus. And you said the church was a growing organism. In other words, in Matthew's writing, the word church wouldn't have been used, but he would have spoke of the people of God, or God's called out of stimulus, which would have been the instructions that they received from Jesus when he was king. And I was just making sure I understood what you were conveying. God bless you.
Yeah. Well, I love talking about the church. And in Scripture, the Bible uses a number of different pictures for the gathered assembly, both the sort of organic metaphor of a body, so you think of a living organism, but also the structural metaphor of a temple. And I think both of these convey something a little bit different, but even the temple, we're told, as a church in 1 Peter is made up of living stones, living and breathing stones.
And we are those living and breathing stones. And this is what Peter says in 1 Peter 2, as you come to him, a living stone, the him there is Jesus, rejected by men, but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. And so the Bible uses both the sort of organic imagery for the body of Christ as this living person, as this body with Christ as the head, and each of us as the members in the body, indispensable for the building up of the body.
But then you also have that structural imagery. There's authority, there's structure, there's order to this body of Christ. A lot of times people think, well, the church was man's idea.
I got no problem with Jesus, I have a problem with his people, I have a problem with organized religion. Let me just say, if that's you, one, I understand some of the frustration and I recognize that there can be a lot of bad things that happen in churches. I mean, you see that even in the book of Revelation when Jesus is rebuking the various churches in Asia minor in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. But we never want to lose sight of the fact that the church from the very beginning is God's idea and Christ is the one who established his church saying that the gates of hell would not prevail against her. And so the church is continuing to grow and has been growing ever since Christ ascended into heaven by the preaching of the word and through the work of the Holy Spirit. So you got both the organic and the structural metaphors given for the ekklesia, the body of Christ, the assembly of the church. Great little theology lesson there, thank you so much for that. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Speaking of church, you realize that Adriel preaches pretty much every Sunday and of course he preached on Easter Sunday, but he had to actually go into church as the walking wounded this Sunday. Oh, did somebody ask you to bring this up, Bill? Yes, Easter Sunday my son sabotaged me in the shower and I slipped and fell in the shower. We don't have a very big shower, so there's not a lot of room to fall in my shower and I did. And we were joking about it before the broadcast started with the team.
They were all making fun of me. I don't think you should clap for that. You know when you fall or you injure yourself, you just don't know how bad it is yet.
There's a period of like three or four seconds where it's like, am I going to be able to get up? That happened. I'm laying on my back in the shower wondering, am I going to be able to preach on Easter? But I tell you, it was an Easter miracle. I arose out of the shower and was able to preach about the resurrection of Christ.
And so we had a wonderful Easter. Watch out, Bill, in those showers. You've got to be careful. Well, you've got five kids and all of them, I'm sure, play tricks on you at times. So you've got to be careful.
Yeah, five kids and one bathroom. So we're rushing to get through. Anyways, on to the questions. Okay, if you have a question for Adriel about taking a shower or anything else, feel free to give us a call right now. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.
We'd love to hear from you. Maybe you've got a question about a Bible passage that always has kind of stumped you. You really never really understood what it meant. Maybe something from Leviticus. Well, this guy is a Leviticus expert. Trust me on this. So feel free to call us on that or any other questions you have. We're also open to hearing if there's some kind of a struggle going on in your life or maybe your Christian walk is running up against some kind of opposition in some way, shape or form. So give us a call. 833-THE-CORE. We would love to hear from you.
Well, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our callers earlier this week. My question is, is it wrong to pray for money on a regular basis? Because I tend to pray to win the lottery and get certain benefits from social security and so on and so forth. I just want to know if God answers prayers for money.
Yeah, thanks for that question. You're probably not alone in praying that God would let you win the lottery. In fact, I know that there are a lot of people that pray like that. Sadly, I think that that's, for many people, the only kinds of prayers that they offer up. Jesus did teach us to pray for those material needs that we have. It's embedded right there in the Lord's Prayer. When we say, give us this day our daily bread, we're saying, God, provide for my physical needs, please, Lord. Supply that which I need. And of course, Jesus himself said in the Gospel of Matthew, if God clothes the grass of the field, the lilies of the field, how much more is he going to take care of you?
Clothe you, care for you. And so this prayer for daily bread, in one sense, we could face is a prayer for the material needs, a job that provides for you, for your family, those kinds of things. But what many have recognized throughout the history of the church, even in just looking at that prayer, is it's interesting that we're asking for the daily bread. And of course, Jesus there in that section that I mentioned in Matthew says, sufficient for the day is the trouble thereof.
Don't be anxious about tomorrow. And so if we're looking for God to just, Lord, you know, let me win the lottery so that I never have to worry and I can just do whatever. No, Jesus teaches us to depend upon him, to trust that God is going to supply our needs, to go to him with those needs, whatever they are, there's nothing wrong with that.
But there's modesty there in the request as well. Give me this day my daily bread, Lord, help me day by day to trust you for the provision that you give in my life. And of course, you know, if the Lord chooses to bless us above and beyond that, and he does so often for so many people, then we can give thanks to the Lord and we want to be good stewards of those gifts. But I would say, pray as Jesus taught you to pray there. And certainly there, the request is, God, give me this day my daily bread, help me to trust you and to follow you. Not, Lord, give me, you know, all the riches in the world so that way I don't have to trust you and I can just depend upon myself. That's what so many people today, I think, want to do. And that's what they're looking for. And God wants us, God wants you to depend upon him, to trust him and to say, give me this day my daily bread.
So well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. By the way, we want to mention we have an awesome book that we are offering this week. It's a book that will help you. It'll strengthen your faith and also help you when you have discussions with skeptics. Maybe there's somebody in your life that you talk to on a regular basis and they really try to attack your faith and undermine and say Christianity is all a myth or the resurrection never happened.
This book will really equip you in a great way. It's by Lee Strobel, who's a wonderful apologist, and it's called The Case for Christ. Yeah, especially, you know, just coming off of Easter and thinking about the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the reasons for why we believe the things that we believe. We thought this book would be really helpful and encouraging for you in terms of equipping you to be able to defend the Christian faith and also understand why it is that we believe the things that we believe. As Bill said, it's Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ. For those of you who don't know, Lee was not always a Christian. He took it upon himself to study these things to dig deep into the evidence for Jesus and his resurrection. He came out embracing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. So I think you'll be encouraged by his journey and I hope that you get a hold of this resource today. Just an excellent book that will really help you in any of your discussions you might be having with non-believers. And again, it's called The Case for Christ. You can find that by going to our website, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers.
Look for Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Christ. Well, let's go to a voicemail. We get voicemails pretty much every day here at the Core. You can call us 24 hours a day and leave us your question at 1-833-843-2673.
That's 833-THE-CORE. Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Matthew. My question was regarding how to handle or approach the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when they knock on the door or when they come to witness to you. As a Christian, how would you go about being kind and gracious to them while still at the same time trying to point them towards the truth of the Bible? Thank you.
Have a great day. I love this question because I think we always want to engage our neighbors. What's interesting is oftentimes we don't have to go too far. I mean, you have Jehovah's Witnesses, you have Mormon missionaries who will come knocking on your door wanting to talk about God. I appreciate the fact that you want to do so charitably, but also really bring the truth of God's Word to bear. One thing that I'll say specifically when talking with Mormons is that they use a lot of the same vocabulary that we use as Christians as well. They'll talk about grace, they'll talk about atonement, they'll talk about the Lord Jesus Christ, and so on and so forth. But oftentimes what they do is they define those words very differently. The way salvation is defined, the way grace is defined, the way the Gospel is defined, even the identity of Jesus Christ is different in the LDS Church.
When you compare it to the historic teachings of the Christian faith, and that's where there's so much confusion. I think when you're having these conversations, one, make sure that you're defining your terms and making the people that you're speaking with, the Mormon missionaries, making them define what they mean. Then I always say when you're speaking with Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses, getting to the heart of the Gospel is so important.
At the end of the day, that's the main thing. Focusing on who Jesus is and what he's done. How is it that we're saved, that we experience the grace of God? For so many people in these different sects, I would say they're not Christian denominations. They're broken off of the Church, and they teach things that are false and heretical. They're cut off, I would say, from Christ because they teach a false Christ, frankly. Getting to the heart of the matter, focusing on the Gospel, I like going to places like the book of Galatians where the apostle Paul himself said, if we or even an angel from heaven preach a different Gospel, let them be accursed. There are other Gospels out there. There are other quote-unquote Jesuses that are out there. This is what Paul warned the Corinthians about in 2 Corinthians.
It's so important for us to be aware of that and then to be able to address it. I would also say make sure you understand how to show someone through Scripture, from Scripture, who Jesus is, the divinity of Christ, the fact that he's the eternal Son of God, equal with the Father in power and glory, who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven. You want to be able to point to various Scriptures so you can walk through the Bible. Ultimately, we know that it's a work of the Holy Spirit to open the hearts of men, but that God uses his Word. It's the Word of God that grants, creates, if you will, faith in our hearts and then sustains that faith.
So focusing on the Word, focusing on the Gospel, and may God give you much grace. One, when my wife and I were first married, before we had any kids, there were a couple Mormon missionaries, two young women, who were coming around our neighborhood. We had them over twice, and we got to talk about the Lord, talk about the Gospel.
I think it was the second time they came over, my wife made cookies. I didn't realize it, but I was so fixated on what I was talking about. I think we were talking theology, talking Jesus, that I had taken one of the cookies that the Mormon missionary had already taken a bite out of, and I ate her cookie. And Isabelle thought, was this some sort of power move, Adriel?
What are you trying to do here? I was so embarrassed after that. But we had a really respectful conversation, but it was clear that we were talking about two different things. And so that's the reality, just praying that the Lord opens their hearts as you seek to charitably engage with them, and not being ashamed of the Scriptures, but able to defend what the Bible teaches very clearly. And so God bless you in that. I seem to recall you also had a long-term friendship with somebody who was LDS, and you'd often talk about the lawns outside Mormon churches.
Check this out. Yeah, and he died a few years ago. He was brought up LDS, had been LDS his whole life, had served in every sort of position you could in the LDS church. And he met us, we were doing street evangelism in San Diego, and he saw me talking to a guy who was an atheist. I think he was just intrigued, and I think he liked what he heard, so we exchanged numbers, and he started coming to a Bible study at my house, and even visited our church a couple times.
He visited on a Good Friday service. But we had a lot of conversations over the space of about two years, and Bill mentioned talking about the lawns. He would always say, Oh, you look at our churches, and the lawns are just immaculate, and everything's clean and nice, and so on and so forth. And I think he was kind of trying to knock our church because the lawn wasn't that nice. But I said, brother, or friend, I said, Listen, at the end of the day, the most important thing is the theology. You can have a really nice-looking lawn and clean facility, but is Christ, the true Christ, being proclaimed?
If he isn't, it doesn't matter what you have, frankly. The church is more than the way she looks externally, right? There are a lot of churches out there that have great buildings and look really nice, but at the end of the day aren't proclaiming Christ faithfully. Give me a church in a building that's run down where Jesus is being preached over the most beautiful cathedral in the world. We want to hear. We need to hear Christ. Amen.
That is so well said. I'm just thinking as you talked about that huge Mormon temple in San Diego right off the freeway there. I mean, it looks like a giant castle. Disneyland. Yeah, it does look like Disneyland. Yeah, that's right. Who knows?
Yeah. Millions of dollars on that, and yet those people are unfortunately not hearing the true gospel when they go to church. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can call us right now, 833-843-2673.
That's 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to John calling in from St. Louis, Missouri. John, what's your question for Adriel? Yeah, I like to ask you questions, guys.
I support you monthly, by the way, on a monthly basis, so I just don't want to let you run out there. But anyway, I want to ask you guys a question there. When it says that the end times, so much is discourse about the end times now because of what's going on, but it's said that last time that people will have itchy ears and that they'll hire people that they want to hire and they reject God's gospel. Is that time coming up now, or is that a fulfillment of future time? And as far as what does the end times mean to people and churches, how does that affect your biblical take on things that are going on right now, as far as how you preach the gospel, does that affect you in any way, or you just let God set the times and you just preach God's word right now?
Alright, thanks. Yeah, here's what I don't think we should do as pastors. I don't think that we should preach the newspaper, right?
So, you know, I've heard messages and conference talks on what's going on in the Middle East right now, and is this what was prophesied by Ezekiel, or is this the harlot of the book of Revelation, or so on and so forth. Our focus as pastors, as ministers, needs to be faithfully preaching the whole counsel of God's word, and training the people in our church up in godliness and being faithful to the Lord. Now, that doesn't mean we don't address the stuff that's going on outside of the church.
Certainly we do. We apply God's word to it, the law and the gospel, you know, calling people to faith and repentance. We've been living in the quote-unquote end times ever since Jesus ascended into heaven. I mean, when Peter preached his Pentecost sermon on the day of Pentecost, he quotes from Joel, and he says, this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel in the last days.
Here's what's going to happen. And so we've been in the quote-unquote end times. John himself says in 1 John that the spirit of the Antichrist is already at work, and so we need to be discerning, we need to be vigilant, but we shouldn't, I think, lose sight of the centrality of Christ and just faithfully teaching God's word and trusting him as we're seeking to walk in the light in the midst of all the things that are happening around us. And so I appreciate your question, John. Thanks for giving us a call. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Let's go to Jared calling in from Texas. Jared, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, so my question is about two different Heidelberg catechism questions. The first one being number 60, how are you righteous before God? It says, only by a true faith in Jesus Christ, so that though my conscience accuses me that I have grossly transgressed all the commandments of God and have kept none of them, and I'm still inclined to all evil, notwithstanding God without any merit of mind, that only a mere grace grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, even so as if I had never had nor committed any sin. Yes, as if I had fully accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for me, inasmuch as I embrace such a benefit with a bleeding heart. And then the second question, number 64, does this doctrine make men careless or profane? By no means, for it is impossible that those who are implanted into Christ by a true faith should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness. And I know those two questions don't contradict and they're clearly taught in the scriptures, but in my practical walking out of daily life, I just feel a disconnect. There are times where it feels like my heart's hardening, or other days where my conscience seems very tender, and scripture says we're not given a spirit of fear but that of love, power, and sound mind, and yet I'm perpetually afraid, even though I'm seeking God in his word, praying, fellowshipping with other believers.
Faith feels difficult at times, and I'm wondering if this is just pride that's keeping me from faith, or just fearful that the day of salvation has passed. Well, Jared, dear brother, one, thank you for bringing up those two catechism questions. And for those of our listeners who are not familiar with even this idea, catechisms were used throughout the time of the Reformation to help teach the basics of the faith and to encourage believers together with their children.
And so there are some really great catechisms out there like the Heidelberg Catechism. And those two questions that you brought up, one, emphasizing the centrality of the fact that we're justified not on the basis of any of our merits, anything that we do, but solely by the grace of God, and then question 64 saying, well, if we're saved by grace alone, doesn't that mean that we're going to just go and live in sin? And it says, no, when we truly grasp the grace of God towards us, it should lead to sanctification.
It does lead to that and to thankfulness. But as we've said on the broadcast before, our response to God's grace always falls short to what it should be. And not one of us perfectly serves the Lord or does works that are perfectly pure before God. Even our works are still tainted by sin, and so we're humbled by that.
You can be humbled by that. And of course, there are going to be days where we feel really close, sensitive to the Spirit of God, and there are going to be other days where, for whatever reason, it could be circumstances, sickness, it could just be the hardness of our own hearts where we don't have that same feeling. But, Jared, thank God that it's not our feelings that determine the grace of God towards us. It's the objectivity of His promise and His word. And so don't cling to the feeling. Cling to what God has said and receive His mercy and love for you. As we explore the truth of God's Word together.
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