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Does the Bible Teach Us to Love Ourselves?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
April 17, 2023 5:13 pm

Does the Bible Teach Us to Love Ourselves?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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April 17, 2023 5:13 pm

Episode 1207 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

 

Questions in this Episode

 

1. Has the church shifted its focus away from the Father too much?

2. What is Reformed theology?

3. Does the Bible teach us to love ourselves?

4. Should a church that marries gay couples be considered heretical?

5. Is praying the “Sinner’s Prayer” what it takes to be saved?

6. Where can I go to learn more about the Holy Spirit?

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Does the Bible teach us to love ourselves? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on 24-3-2673. You can also leave us a voicemail anytime at that number, or feel free to email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com.

Well, first up today, let's go to a voicemail from one of our callers that came in earlier this week. In a sense, maybe we're neglecting God the Father, where we have shifted everything even from the Holy Spirit to Jesus, even though they're the same one. But just in my mind, I've been thinking the more I read the Scriptures, I'm seeing, you know, Jesus says, pray to my Father, Jesus says this. And it's almost like, have we diverted part of God's honor, if you will? It's a crazy question, I get it all, but you'll figure it out.

Hey, thanks for that question. Actually, a really good question, and I think part of the problem is we have abandoned a lot of the Trinitarian language in our worship. So, for example, historically the church in her creeds and in a number of different songs that Christians have sung for many, many years, there's an emphasis on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That language is embedded in the worship of the church.

I would say from the very time of the New Testament, and I'm going to make that a point right now, but a lot of times we don't have that in our contemporary worship today, and so there can be a real big focus on Jesus, maybe just exclusively, or also on the Holy Spirit. There are some, I would say, Christian traditions and denominations where the focus really is on the work of the Holy Spirit, the miraculous sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, and we can lose sight of God the Holy Trinity, the three Persons of the Trinity, distinct. They're not the same person, but they are one in essence, one God, equal in power and glory.

And so I think that you're on to something. I think that we really, in some places, have lost sight of this, and so I think that the answer is getting back to that biblical language of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus, when he sent his disciples out into the world to go and baptize, he says, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit were baptized into the Holy Trinity. This is, again, embedded in the Christian faith, in our worship as believers. You see this in so many places as well in the New Testament, in, for example, 1 Corinthians Chapter 12, Verses 4-6. Listen to what the Apostle Paul said there. There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are varieties of service, but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. There you have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the gift givers, the ones who are filling us and strengthening us for the service of God, for the building up of the body of Christ. In 2 Corinthians Chapter 13, when Paul gives his benediction to the Corinthian church, he says, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And so you see, just there in the New Testament, and we can go to other places, we could go to the book of Ephesians, we could go to the book of Revelation, where you have the three persons of the Godhead brought together in worship, in benediction. And so I think that's something that we need to recover.

And one of the reasons that we have the problem that you mentioned, that you bring up, is because we've lost sight of that. And so I appreciate you mentioning this, and God bless. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Maybe you're stumped on a particular Bible verse or passage that you've read for years, and you just really don't understand what it means.

Well, Adriel's happy to unpack that with you. Or maybe you have some doubts about the Christian faith, and you'd like to ask about maybe the authenticity of the scriptures or the truth of the resurrection. We'd be happy to talk to you as well, especially if you consider yourself to be maybe an agnostic or an atheist. We are always open to your calls. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Brandon calling in from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Brandon, thanks for joining us. What's your question for Adriel?

Hey, guys. My question is, what is it that makes Reformed doctrine and Reformed theology Reformed? And then the second part of that question is, Pastor Adriel, do you consider yourself to be a Reformed pastor?

Brandon, thanks for reaching out to us. Good question. And I mean, it gets at just when we're thinking of any theological tradition, what makes it what it is? And I would say you bring up the question of Reformed theology, Reformed obviously coming out of the Protestant Reformation, this strong belief that the church needed reformation back to the Scriptures, back to the Word of God.

You think of all of the abuses that were taking place in the medieval church. And so I would say, fundamentally, there is this high view of Holy Scripture. And of course, when you think of Protestant churches throughout the United States, even the ones that don't identify as quote-unquote Reformed, all of them, I think, are going to hold to that or want to hold to that, at least the centrality of Scripture, what we've sometimes referred to as sola scriptura, the Scripture being the highest authority for us.

It's not that there aren't other authorities, like the authority of the local church and so on and so forth, but in terms of infallible authority, it's the Word of God. And we're constantly going back to the Word of God so that it might reform and reshape us, strengthening us in the faith. And then when you think of the historically Reformed denominations, if you will, I think what makes them what they are is the doctrine that they subscribe to. Not one doctrine in particular. Sometimes people will say, well, it's the doctrine of predestination or election or something like that. But really, it's a whole system of doctrine that has to do with the way we understand church, ecclesiology, the way we understand salvation, soteriology, the way we understand all sorts of things. And so it really is this system of doctrine that's being subscribed to or embraced, and it's associated with the historical Reformed confessions like the Westminster Confession of Faith or the Belgic Confession. And so I would say that's what makes it what it is.

But I think in terms of its influence on Protestant Christianity throughout the world, throughout the United States, you do see that centrality of Scripture, the Scriptures being the ultimate and final authority. Brandon, thank you for your question, and I appreciate you reaching out to us. Hey, Brandon, thanks so much for listening to CORE Christianity there in Canada.

We really do appreciate you. By the way, we have a great resource we'd like to tell you about this week. We've been offering this for the last couple of weeks, really started before Easter, and it's such a wonderful book that will really help to strengthen you in your faith and answer questions that maybe your friends or relatives who are skeptics ask. And it's by Lee Strobel, who's probably one of the best known apologists in the country. It's called The Case for Christ. Yeah, Bill, The Case for Christ is one of the most purchased books on apologetics for good reason as well.

Strobel is and was a seasoned journalist, former legal editor at the Chicago Tribune, and he chases down the story of Easter and the resurrection. It's one of those resources that'll help you grow in your faith and in understanding why you believe the things that you believe in. So please get ahold of this resource over at corechristianity.com. It is such a wonderful book. We know you will love it.

I read it years ago, and I've read it a second time, and there's actually a version for kids as well. So check that out, The Case for Christ. You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. While our phone lines are open, if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, feel free to give us a call right now. Excuse me, we'll be taking calls for the next 15 minutes or so at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.

Let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners named Frances. I'm interested in the second commandment, love your neighbor as yourself. And I always wondered that word as, don't we need to keep a balance of loving and caring for ourselves? And then that balance, then we love our neighbor, but is it really God ourselves and then others?

I see some Christian friends who they deny themselves and their family sometimes to the point of ill-health, because they're not taking care of themselves, but they're helping so many other people. And so to me, I see it as a balance. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. So thank you. Frances, that's a great question, and I think you're right on.

I like that you've, you know, you've used that word balance. It's not that we are neglecting ourselves or our families in order to love others. If you're sacrificing your family on your own, your family on the altar of service to others, well, you're neglecting your closest neighbors, if you will, your spouse, your children. I think that that's displeasing to the Lord. And so we have to get our priorities straight. I mean, we love God, we worship Him, and we're called to love our neighbors, the people that God has brought into our lives, to care for them, to nourish them.

He speaks very strongly, especially about men who neglect to care for their families. I mean, Paul tells Timothy that they're worse than unbelievers. And so, you know, the call to love our neighbor is not an excuse for neglecting our own health or the health of our families. But I think we also want to be careful that we don't avoid that call to love our neighbors.

And who are our neighbors? Jesus is even the people that don't agree with us as to the Christian faith. Even our enemies, we're called to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us. And so we love God, we love our family in Christ, and we love those even outside of the Church seeking to share the truth of the Gospel with them.

And I think that you're right. I think especially this is something that, you know, for me as a pastor, and I know many in ministry, this is a great concern, is we want to make sure that we are caring for our families well and not letting, you know, the Church, if you will, replace that call to make sure that we're raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. In fact, Paul, when he's talking about the qualifications for elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus chapter 1, he says that one of the things that they need to be doing is caring well for their families, raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. If they're neglecting their family, there's no way they're going to be able to care for the Church of God. And so I think, you know, if you feel like you have friends around you, you know, and this is an issue for them where they're maybe just neglecting their families and they're just so focused on ministry, I think lovingly you can come alongside of them and say, hey, Jesus calls us to love and care for our families, our spouses, our children, to honor the Lord in doing that. And if we're so focused on serving in the Church that we're not doing that, well, we have our priorities wrong.

We need to take a step back and do things the right way. And so, Francis, thank you for your question. God bless you, sister. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. One of the ways you can connect with us is through our YouTube channel. In fact, you can watch Adriel in the studio on YouTube every day at 1130 a.m. Pacific time, and you can send him a question through our YouTube channel.

Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Alexander. He says, I go to an Anglican church with female bishops and gay marriage blessings. I feel uncomfortable. Should the Anglican church be viewed as heretical? First, let me just say the blessing of gay unions. I would say that that is heretical.

I think that that's wrong. So let me just say that at the outset. And I think specifically of Jesus' warnings to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.

It's so interesting. He's writing to these churches in Asia Minor, and he's bringing up different things that each of these churches was struggling with. Some of them were struggling because they had grown so insular and isolated. They had left their first love. They were no longer sharing Christ with the lost.

They weren't engaged with their neighbors in that way. Others were struggling and near to being shut down, if you will, by Jesus himself because they were compromising with the culture. They were letting the sinful ideologies of the world penetrate into the church, and they were beginning to teach things and do things that were contrary to Christ's word. And so this happens in churches. And insofar as it happens, Christ calls the church to repent, to turn back to him. And I know that there are many faithful people serving even in Anglican churches wanting to be faithful to the word of God, seeking to hold the line, if you will. And I thank God for that and for them. And I know that there are many people in churches, whether Anglican churches or other churches, that that's not where they're at.

They've begun to embrace, I think, the world's view on sexual ethics, on any number of things. And in those situations, just like Jesus did in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, he calls the church, he calls us to repent. And so I would say, I don't know what your particular local congregation is like, Alexander. I don't know the person who's ministering there. It could be that you're in a great church, a local expression there. Or it could be that some of these ideas have begun to slip in there, and that's where you have to ask yourself the question, is this the right place the right place for me?

Is this where we're going to be able to grow? I mean, again, it's just so tragic, but we bring this passage up from time to time on the broadcast. Jeremiah, when he's talking about the false prophets in Israel, he says that what they were doing is they were saying, peace, peace, where there was no peace. They weren't willing to call out the sin in Israel. They were saying, God is not going to judge that.

Everything's fine, peace, peace, but there was no peace. And that's what's happening in so many churches. And we have to be vigilant. We have to be watchful. And ultimately, we have to let the word of God be our guide and our anchor. God bless you.

Good word. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can give us a call right now at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Essex calling in from Missouri. Essex, what's your question for Adriel?

Okay, my question is, sir, and I'm 82 years old and forget what I said the last three minutes, but here we go, okay? I hear so many preachers on the radio, preachers just telling people, just pray the sinner's prayer and you will be saved. But according to what I've read in Acts and some other scriptures, but in Acts 2 and 38, it says you must be baptized and you will be added.

You're baptized into the body of Jesus Christ and you will be added to the church. It doesn't say anything about you, the sinner's prayer. Now, also I've read, and there are some other scriptures, I don't know them right now, there are other scriptures that say you must hear the gospel, believe the gospel, confess, and be baptized. So I don't understand why some preachers preach the fact that just say the sinner's prayer and you will be saved. So I'll shut up and listen to you.

Essex, thank you for your question, and what an important question. I mean, we're getting at the doctrine of salvation. How can I know that I'm saved? And you're right, there are so many people out there who, they just sort of say, you know, well, just ask Jesus into your heart.

Say this prayer. Now, there's nothing wrong with praying and saying, Lord, come into my life, crying out to God for his mercy and grace. The problem is, I think, when people view the sinner's prayer as this sort of, you know, magical incantation, you just say these words and you're saved.

And, you know, it doesn't matter really what you believe. We're called, though, as you noted, to receive and believe in the gospel. You can do that, you know, as you're hearing the preached word. A sinner can come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and believe the gospel in that moment. And I would say in that moment, the Spirit of God is at work in their heart and they're saved. They're born again through the work of the Holy Spirit and we're called, as those who believe in Christ, to be baptized as well.

And that's precisely what you have happening there in Acts chapter 2. And so I sympathize with your concern, you know, not wanting to give people this impression that just because you said these words, that that's what saved you. No, we're saved by faith in Jesus Christ.

Now, again, the words aren't necessarily bad. My hope is that, you know, if you're talking to someone who's not a Christian and they're open to the things of the Lord and they're, you know, at the moment of making this decision or, you know, it's very clear that the Spirit of God is working in their heart, that instead of pitching the sinner's prayer as, okay, here's how it works, you know, do this and you're good, that we would just say, no, no, set your eyes on Jesus. Focus on him and what he's done for the forgiveness of your sins and embrace that by faith. And if you lead someone in prayer in that way, saying, look, let's go to the Lord and pray to him and call upon the name of the Lord, as the prophet Joel said, you know, all those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. We're called to call upon the name of the Lord. And so that's a good thing. And so, again, I sympathize with your concern and think that what we have to do, whether we're talking about baptism or even this prayer, is remember both of those things ultimately, baptism specifically as this sacrament of grace, they're pointing us to the reality of Christ and his work.

And that's what we're laying hold of by faith. Thank you for your question. Amen. Thanks for that, Adriel.

And, Essex, thanks so much. Great question, as Adriel said, and great to get some clarification on that. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go to Michael calling in from Kansas. Michael, what's your question for Adriel? My question is about the Holy Trinity. A lot of times, in my experience going to church anyways, the Father and the Son are both talked about, but the Holy Spirit's not very much discussed. So I'm just trying to figure out where can I find more information about the Holy Trinity and kind of what's your take on, you know, if you've experienced that part of it not being discussed in churches.

Yeah, Michael, great question. We had a question just a little bit ago on the broadcast about, you know, people neglecting the doctrine of the Trinity. And I said, you know, one of the reasons I think that that's happening is because we've lost sight of Trinitarian worship. We tend to focus on one person of the Trinity in our worship, maybe even exclusively, where the focus is all on Jesus or the focus is all on the Holy Spirit. And that language of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we've neglected that, I think, in the church. And so there is a lot of confusion out there in terms of resources. I really believe, for one, read through the New Testament, but read through the New Testament with an eye to see the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

It's amazing what you'll find. I mean, in the Gospels, but I think even also in the Epistles, reading them with that intention, prayerfully saying, God, help me to see you at work and how you work in the lives of your people, in the life of your church, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I quoted one passage earlier in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, you know, the varieties of gifts but the same Spirit, the varieties of service but the same Lord, and the varieties of activities but the same God at work, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, at work for our redemption, for our sanctification, in unique ways but together in concert.

And so it's important that we see that. Another resource I think that can be really helpful, Michael, in terms of growing in your understanding of the Trinity is a book that we oftentimes offer on the broadcast. Maybe if you stay on the line, we can get you a copy. It's the book, Core Christianity. I think that has some wonderful introductory information on the Holy Spirit, the Father, the Son, and rightly understanding the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of the deity of Christ. And so that's another, I mean, if you're looking for a book, I would say check that out and appreciate your question, brother.

Thank you. And God help us, God help our churches to really recover that Trinitarian focus in worship. You know, I've been to your church before, Adriel, and it does seem like you do focus on the Trinity and the hymns that you sing and the prayers that you pray, and I'm guessing that that's a deliberate effort on your part. Absolutely.

Yeah, it was not an accident. It was very much, I mean, ultimately this is the God that we worship, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Trinity, one in essence and undivided. And so, you know, when we don't worship God, the Holy Trinity, I've found that what a lot of churches end up doing is just speculating about the Trinity, you know, trying to figure out the Trinity, but we're talking about the eternal God, more to be adored than speculated about. And so it is so important for us, Bill, and I'm glad that you noticed that. Thank you all for listening once again to the broadcast. May the Lord bless your day. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-17 18:42:39 / 2023-04-17 18:52:41 / 10

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