Can you practice superstitious rituals and still be a Christian? That's one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity.
Well, happy Friday. 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. Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes. Here's the phone line. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. And of course, you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Gail. I wanted to know, with Mary, when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she was expecting then Jesus, was it part of her DNA or was Jesus placed whole in her? Thank you.
Yeah, thank you for that question. You bring up such an interesting passage in the book of Luke, the Gospel of Luke, in Luke chapter 1. Let me just read what the text says. And Mary said to the virgin, how will this be since I'm a virgin?
In other words, how am I going to give birth? And the angel answered her, the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called Holy, the Son of God. And so the Holy Spirit is going to overshadow you.
That word overshadow you is very significant and I'm going to bring that up in a second. But it's not that there was this sort of being already just sort of placed there, who didn't take anything from Mary. We believe that the eternal word of the Father, God the Son, took flesh from the womb of the Virgin Mary.
And so, yes, there's DNA, true humanity. It's not that there was just this person that God adopted, if you will, this person that was already there, but that the eternal Son himself assumed humanity from the womb of the Virgin. Now, that language of overshadow, it's an interesting Greek word that's not used very frequently. It's actually in the Septuagint, in the Greek translation of the Old Testament in Exodus chapter 40, verse 35. And this is a fascinating text because at the end of Exodus, you have the tabernacle that's being completed and God's presence coming to dwell with his people. This is verse 34 of Exodus 40. The cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle and Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud overshadowed it or settled on it and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. What's being depicted for us there in Luke chapter 1 is Mary's womb is like this new tabernacle, housing the glory of God, God the Son himself assuming humanity from her womb for our redemption. And so, a great mystery there of the incarnation, but just beautifully depicted for us in scripture and appreciate your question.
Thank you for giving us a call. Interesting. And also, of course, historically, in the early church, there were different views of Jesus and his humanity. Some of those were actually heretical, correct?
A lot of them were. I mean, there were some people that denied the true humanity of Jesus Christ. There were some who said that the Christ was this person that God adopted, if you will, adoptionism at the baptism of Jesus. That's when the Spirit of God sort of overcame or came upon Jesus.
And so it's really important for us to get this right. And sometimes people think, well, man, why are we splitting hairs about theology? And boy, isn't it a great mystery? But at the end of the day, who Jesus is relates to our eternal redemption. And so if we get the person of God the Son wrong, the Christ, well, then we're going to have a problem with regard to our understanding of salvation. And so you see how these doctrines are all kind of interrelated. And that's why it's so important for us to understand who Jesus is truly, according to the scriptures. Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, we'd love to hear from you. Our phone lines are open right now. And here's the number. It's 833-THECORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Amber is watching us on YouTube right now and she submitted a question. She said this, is love your neighbor as yourself the same as loving the brethren?
Thank you for that question and thanks for watching us on YouTube as well. Love your neighbor as yourself. So here we have the second greatest commandment. Jesus said that the entire law of God is fulfilled when we love God perfectly and when we love our neighbor as ourselves. On those two commandments hang all the law and the prophets, Jesus said.
And this is something that we're called to. And that certainly relates to the love of the brethren. But loving our neighbor is not fulfilled in just loving our brethren.
That is the people who are like us. And isn't that, of course, what Jesus made very clear in his sermon on the mount? We're called not just to love the people that are like us, the people who look like us and agree with our politics or theology or whatever else it is, but even our enemies.
I mean, that's the great call of Christ upon us. Love not just our friends, but even our enemies. Don't the Gentiles and the tax collectors love those who love them? What's going to be unique about you, my people, Jesus says, is you're even going to love your enemies. And isn't that precisely what Jesus did himself for us? We who are the enemies of God pursued by the love of God. And so is love your neighbor as yourself the same as loving the brethren? It's a part of loving the brethren. That is those who are in Christ. We're called to do good to all people, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
That's what the apostle Paul says, but we're also called to love even those outside of the church, even those who wouldn't identify as our brothers and sisters in Christ. And so God help us to do that in light of the fact that God has done that for us. Thanks, Amber, for tuning in.
Great question, Amber, and thanks for that, Adriel. By the way, we want to invite you to join a group of people that listen to this program on a regular basis, and they find it so valuable that they have committed to supporting us on a regular basis. We call them our inner core. Yes, the inner core is a group of people who send us a monthly donation of $25 or more, and I hope that you would view this as an investment, a way to invest in the expansion of God's kingdom through the word of God, through talking about scripture, through the proclamation of the gospel on the airwaves. This is one of the ways you can partner together with us to that end. We want to see people grow in their relationship with Christ, in their understanding of the Bible, and if that's happened for you as a result of the work that we're doing, would you consider joining us in becoming a part of the inner core?
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Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core, and here's one that came in earlier this week from one of our listeners named Kay. My question is, my husband is a Native American and says he's a Christian. He grew up Baptist and goes to church with me but still practices superstitious acts. For an example, when we leave for a trip, he prays in front of the house and throws a little tobacco on the ground. I've asked him who he's praying to, and he says he's praying to God. If we're eating in the car at night, he'll roll the window down and throw a piece of food out the window, and I've asked him why he does that, and he said that it's for people who have passed on so they have food to eat.
He doesn't allow me to whistle at night because it brings bad spirits. My belief as a Christian is since Jesus died for our sins, and if he's in our hearts, then that supersedes any type of beliefs we previously had. Am I wrong? Is it okay for Native Americans to still practice their superstitious acts if they say they're Christians? Is there a place in the Bible that may explain this?
Okay, excellent question, and I don't think, sister, that you are wrong. Is superstitious acts... One of the things I think that this shows is in Scripture, I guess the place that I would want to go is the discussions that the Apostle Paul has in 1 Corinthians and in Romans pertaining to food sacrificed to idols. And there were some Christians within the church that were superstitious about that because they were coming from a pagan background, and what they were exhibiting was an immaturity with regard to the faith. There was a lack of understanding. And so insofar as some of these superstitions are rooted in that, beliefs that are just not true according to the Bible, I think that there's something that we need to shed to not do.
It's clearly... When we talk about giving food to the deceased or something like that, that's a superstitious act that is not rooted in anything that the Bible teaches. And so I think you're right to be concerned about this. I mentioned Paul's writing in 1 Corinthians in chapter 8 verse 4. He says, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that an idol has no real existence. So he's saying there's freedom in Christ to do this for those Christians who were eating food that had been sacrificed to idols because we realize that an idol has no real existence and that there is only one God, for although there may be so-called gods in heaven and on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is one God the Father from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge, but some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. And so I think there are some lines of analogy that we can draw here based on what Paul says there in 1 Corinthians 8 in this situation that you're talking about. But I think ultimately as Christians we want to grow in our understanding of what God's word actually teaches so that any practices that we're doing that run contrary to the word of God, the superstitious spiritual practices from an old manner of living, we realize, okay, what am I doing here? This isn't really doing anything, and that's where you can have, I think, a bigger conversation, an important conversation, I think, to have.
And I sympathize with your concern. I think you want to be charitable, but I think at the end of the day you also, both of you, want to be firm in your understanding of the scriptures and in living in a manner that's honoring to the Lord and true to what the Bible teaches about God and the afterlife. And so God bless you, and thanks for reaching out to us. You're listening to Core Christianity, and we'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Maybe there's a passage of scripture that's always kind of been stumped by, you really haven't quite understand what it's all about. Well, Adriel would be happy to clear that up for you. Or maybe there's something going on in your life right now where you really need some prayer.
We'd love to pray for you as well. You can call our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to John calling in from St. Louis. John, what's your question for Adriel? Yeah, how you doing there?
I'm Jerry Shorg. I'd like to know when it refers to the Bible about principalities, powers, and the air, is that referring to certain demonic control over certain countries or behind kingdoms of the earth? And is there different levels of authority behind the satanic, like where God refers to the kingdom of this world or Satan's kingdom? And how does that affect biblical prophecy going forward and in the past?
Thanks. The Bible talks about principalities and powers. It is talking about those spiritual forces, evil forces that are at work in the world. And there is some indication in places like the book of Daniel that you have these demonic forces over regions, particular places. But we also need to recognize that Christ, through his death on the cross, has conquered those principalities and powers. And then with regard to all of this stuff and the end times, I would just say we know that the end times are associated with the strong spiritual delusion. The people giving heed, as the apostle Paul said when writing to Timothy, to deceiving spirits and the doctrines of demons.
And so there is a call to be vigilant. But again, just recognizing, this is the words that Paul gives us in Colossians chapter 1, and this is just really worshiping Christ. He says, He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, for by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through him and for him. And so there isn't anything that exists in the universe, even the fallen angels that don't exist, anything that exists that exists apart from Christ. And this is what John says at the beginning of his gospel in John chapter 1, verses 1 through 4. By him all things were made. And so we have to realize that Christ is preeminent, superior to all of these things, and that they all bow before him, but that Jesus is able to use these things for his own purposes in the world.
And indeed he does. John, thanks for giving us a call. Hey John, thanks so much for listening to CORE Christianity.
We appreciate you. Let's go to Christine calling in from Oklahoma. Christine, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, I have a question about rebuking Satan and placing hedges. You know, some people say, you know, in Jesus' name I rebuke you Satan, or in Jesus' name I place a hedge around, you know, my children for protection or around us during travel, that sort of thing. Can we as Christians actually rebuke Satan or place the hedges?
Christine, man, excellent, excellent question. And again, getting back to Christ, I would say what we have to realize is that Jesus has definitively conquered and bound Satan, so that we aren't the binders of the evil ones, the evil one and his minions, but that Christ, and this is what you see in the book of Colossians, this is what you see in the Gospels, where Jesus gives that short parable about binding the strong man. I think this is also what you see in Revelation chapter 20. So I would just want to say, as believers, not falling into, I think, the false understanding that it's on us, we're the ones who need to bind Satan.
No, that was what Jesus did at the cross. And so Christ has definitively conquered the evil one, but we are also called to pray and to be vigilant. So that's what we ought to do as believers. We ought to pray, we ought to be saturated in God's word, but I don't know that, you know, the best approach in terms of spiritual warfare is, you know, binding Satan here and there.
And I think sometimes we can get a little bit over the top. Look, Jesus is the one who has rebuked Satan and conquered him through the blood of his cross. And we stand in that victory. And it grieves me when I see Christians who feel like they give the devil too much credit and too much power, and they feel like it's on them to conquer the evil one in their own lives. No, we look to Jesus Christ and we trust in the work that he has done, and we stand firm in the armor of God, as the apostle Paul said, Christine, in the book of Ephesians, and we pray. We pray that God advances his gospel in our lives. We pray that God delivers us from the evil one, as Jesus taught us to pray in the Sermon on the Mount.
But I don't know that I would say there's anything wrong with saying the things that you said, per se, but I would just say we need to have that proper understanding of what Christ has done and where we fit in to the equation. And so God bless. Let's go to Brian calling in from Missouri. Brian, what's your question for Adriel?
Hello, guys. Thanks for your show and the whole network is awesome to listen to. Anyway, my dad died and I was left a good amount of money. Should I pay tithing on it and if so, should I pay the church or directly to the preacher who has had some problems in operations and I didn't know to go directly to the church or if it was all right, would it still be considered tithing to give to my pastor?
Brian, first let me just say, man, God bless you for wanting to be generous. It sounds like this is some money that you received and you want to be faithful to the Lord. You want to honor God with these resources. And I would just point you to the text that Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 9, the point is this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart. So I want to encourage you to pray and say, Lord, help me to give generously in a way that honors you not, as Paul goes on to say, reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And so that heart, that desire to be generous, Brian, God loves that and you have freedom to think about this and say, okay, maybe this is an area where I can help support this pastor who sounds like has had some operations or a medical condition.
Maybe this is a way I can support the local church where I'm at or other Christian ministries. Paul also said in 1 Timothy 6, verse 17, as for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. And so view this as a gift to you from God to enjoy, to steward, but then also wanting to think about, Lord, give me wisdom about how to use these resources also in a way that's good for your kingdom and its advancement. And I think any pastor that tells you, here's exactly what you need to do with that money, you need to give it to me or you need to give it to this ministry or that ministry, I think, no, you, as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9, not under compulsion, not reluctantly, but cheerfully as the Lord leads you. And so I pray that God gives you wisdom and continues to bless you even as you seek to bless others. You know, Adriel, we've had this discussion before on the program, the Old Testament tithe versus Paul's view of giving.
Can you kind of flesh that out a little bit? I think that the tithe is a great sort of baseline, you know, specifically it was a part of the Old Testament, right? I mean, people were bringing their tithe to the temple, worshiping the Lord in and through that, but you also have this idea of the tithe long before the construction of the temple. You think of Abraham giving a tithe to Melchizedek.
I mean, so you see this in different places. And so I think that there's a sense in which we can say, yeah, this is a good thing. And frankly, for a lot of Christians, I think if giving for you as a believer is just sort of something that you don't have a habit of doing, but it's just, you know, whenever I feel like throwing in 20 bucks to the offering basket, that's what I do. I would really encourage you to say, no, no, think about being consistent and giving in such a way that I think exhibits the generosity that ought to flow from the fact that we're the recipients of God's immense grace in the gospel. And so while I don't think we're bound to the tithe in the same way that believers under the old covenant were, we are called to be generous and we have more grace, more light, more understanding than the believers in the old covenant did. And so all the more, we should be eager to share the good gifts that God has given to us with others for the advancement of his kingdom and for his glory and with joy. And we have that beautiful promise that the Lord loves a cheerful giver. And so may God help each and every one of us to give in that way cheerfully and to the glory of God. 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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