What does an active relationship with Jesus look like? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity.
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 at questions at corechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to John in St. Louis, Missouri. John, what's your question for Adriel? Hey, John, are you there? Hey, can you hear me? Hey, I can hear you now. How are you doing, John?
Hey, I want to ask you a question. If the Holy Spirit's work is to convict people of sins, then you have an opposing force like the devil trying to blind people from accepting the truth. How does the Holy Spirit work in this kind of environment where you have the world system and the devil trying to blind people from reaching the truth? And our thing is, how does the devil become so, I don't know, almost like, I mean, it used to be considered an evil creature. Now it's considered almost like they pay harm. You know, it's almost like the total opposite effect with the devil being credited for things that, you know, seems like there's more favorable for the devil worship now and devil things in general. How do you separate those two?
Okay, thanks. Hey, John. Well, with regard to your first question, how is it that the Holy Spirit works in order to draw people to Christ when the whole world lies under the sway, the power of the evil one, as John says, and we know according to Peter that Satan goes around like a roaring lion seeking to devour. And so first we have to understand that all people in Adam are bound by sin and unbelief. Paul says in Ephesians chapter two, you were dead in trespasses, in sins, in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked according to the prince of the power of the air, according to the evil one.
Right? We were captives to sin and to Satan. And so we really need a work of the Holy Spirit if we are going to come to Christ and embrace the truth of God's word. And so how does the spirit do that? Well, he does that through the word. The spirit works together with the word and as the gospel is proclaimed, the spirit of God begins to chip away at our hard hearts, giving us eyes to see and ears to hear. This is one of the reasons, friends, why you ought to pray for your non-Christian friends and family members, no matter how hard their hearts might seem. We know that the Lord is the one who through his word and by the power of the spirit can soften those hard hearts, can give life. And so that's the hope and the confidence that we have as Christians. And we see the spirit working everywhere where the word of God is faithfully preached. And this is why solid Bible teaching is so important. If the word of God is not being faithfully preached or if it's just not being preached, the spirit is not at work.
The spirit works together with the word. John, that's all I'll say and appreciate your question. God bless. Thanks so much for your call, John. We appreciate you listening to CORE Christianity. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life doctrine or theology, we would love to hear from you. Our phone lines are open right now and you can call us at 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Josh calling in from Nebraska. Josh, what's your question for Adriel?
Hi. Yes, I was wondering, so I know that in the Mosaic law, it talks about how we need to follow all these things, like all the laws that were given from Moses. But Jesus says, you know, in the New Testament, I've come not to abolish the law but to fulfill it.
And I guess my question is, what laws should we take into consideration and maybe follow if there is any? Mm-hmm. Josh, excellent question. And here it's helpful to distinguish, as many pastors and theologians have done, between the three sort of distinctions within the law that we see in Scripture. There's overlap, but we've distinguished between the moral law, which is always binding, upon all people at all times. And so that's summarized, Josh, in the Ten Commandments. And it really is, you know, people who were born, even apart from Christ, obviously, right, people who were born in Adam still have a sense of God and a sense of justice, a sense of right and wrong.
The problem is we suppress that sense of God. Paul talks about this in Romans chapter 1. And so we're all bound by the moral law of God. But you also have in the Old Testament various ceremonial laws that were associated with the worship of God's people in the Old Testament under the Old Covenant. Think about all those laws related to the temple and the priesthood and the sacrifices. You can read about them in places like the book of Leviticus and the book of Numbers. And then you also have various civil codes or civil laws that were given to Israel as a political body to rule and govern in a particular way at that time. Now, those laws can still have some application today.
The word or the phrase that we sometimes use to highlight this is just the general equity. And so what are some of the general principles that we can derive from the civil law that we see in the Old Testament? One of the ones actually that the Apostle Paul highlights in the New Testament is paying for your pastor. You know, don't muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain. He's quoting from the Old Testament law and he's drawing just an application.
You know, labor is worthy of his wages. And so you see in some places how the New Testament applies various civil laws. And certainly when it comes to the ceremonial law, we would want to say, well, all of that has been abolished through Jesus Christ because all of that was pointing forward to Jesus and to his coming. And so just to summarize, you have the moral law, which is always binding. You have the civil law in Israel, which isn't binding on us today as a church.
It was really associated with Israel as this kingdom, as this political body. But we can derive general principles from the civil law. And then you have the ceremonial law, which we're also, you know, we learn from it and it sheds light on Christ's work in the gospel.
But it would be a grievous sin to try to reinstitute the ceremonial law, to go back to the sacrifices of the temple. That's what the author of the Hebrews highlights throughout the book of Hebrews. And so I think those distinctions are helpful. And hopefully that provides some clarification.
But was there something specifically, you know, just giving you those three, I think should be helpful. But is there something specific that you were thinking about in the Old Testament? Yeah, probably the ceremonial law. Okay.
Yeah. So if we define the ceremonial law as those things that were given to Israel as this, you know, the priesthood, the Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament, with the types and shadows pointing forward to Christ, certainly those are things that we can't reinstitute. And in fact, the author, Paul, in the book of Galatians, he highlights this specifically because there were some Christians that were essentially saying, you need to go back to the ceremonial law. You, you know, Gentiles who have come to the faith, if you really want to be a Christian, if you really want to follow Jesus, you need to, you know, follow the law of Moses like we do.
You need to go and be circumcised, you know, like it talks about in Genesis and so forth. And Paul says, no, no, all of these things were pointing forward to Messiah and his coming. And ultimately, you know, the work that he would accomplish, he is, John says, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. So we don't need sacrifices anymore of atonement because Christ, once for all sacrifice, has paid the penalty for our sins.
And so this is where it's really helpful, I think, to make those distinctions. And let me just say, this is where a lot of people go wrong, brothers and sisters. It's not understanding the proper application of God's law, not properly distinguishing between the law and the gospel, and then, you know, and then not understanding how the law applies to us today. And if it was a problem for the church during the days of the apostles, I mean, this was the issue that they were having in the book of Hebrews. It's the issue that they were having in the book of Galatians. Then we should expect that it's going to be a struggle for our churches today. That's why it's so important for us to understand the gospel and God's law and how to properly apply God's law to believers today. I appreciate, again, your question, Josh, and thank you for calling in.
Really well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Let's go to Dan calling in from Kansas. Dan, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, I was going to ask you how, when it says that we're to watch out for the faith Christians, or they're going to say that here's Jesus, and we're not to listen. How do we know which ones are the actual Christians and which ones are the fake ones?
Okay. Well, there are two passages of scripture that I would want to draw your attention to. The first one is from Jesus, and here he's talking about false teachers in particular in Matthew 7. And the other passage that I would want to bring up is in 1 John 4, speaking about testing the spirits.
But let's just look at these two passages briefly. First, Jesus in Matthew 7 says, verse 15, Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits, are grapes gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles. So every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Now here Jesus is speaking about false prophets, or false teachers in particular, and he's saying, look at how they live, look at their actions. And of course, I mean tragically, we do see examples of people who have large ministries, I'm thinking in particular of stuff like the prosperity gospel where you have these large ministries, but there's a lot of greed, there's a lot of immorality, there's a lot of rotten fruit. And so I think Jesus is calling that out. Now here specifically I think he's highlighting the rotten fruit of the scribes and the Pharisees who although they taught God's word, they completely missed the very center of God's word, which is Jesus and his crucifixion, the hope in him.
And so they rejected him. And so right there I think there's one answer, but another one that John gives in particular in 1 John 4, and this is I think really getting to the heart of your question, he says, Beloved, verse 1, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist which you heard was coming, and now is in the world already. And so what is the test that John gives here? He says, Look, this is how you'll know every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. That is, false teachers, false Christians have a wrong understanding of who Jesus is and what he came to do. Now there in 1 John 4 there was a sect it seemed like at that time that was denying the bodily incarnation of the Son of God. They were minimizing the humanity of Jesus or denying it altogether. And when you do that, you undermine the doctrine of his atonement and our salvation. And so John is saying, Watch out for this. Test the spirits. Similarly today, when people teach a different Jesus or don't understand the person of Christ or the work of Christ, there are serious, serious problems.
And let me just add on top of all of that. I don't think, right, like as Christians within the church, we do encourage each other and we come alongside of one another. If you see someone struggling lovingly, you come alongside of them. And if it's an issue of sin, you point it out. I mean, this is one of the ways that we care for each other within the body of Christ. I don't think it's helpful for us to be, you know, quote, unquote, fruit inspectors with other Christians. You know, always sort of trying to figure out, you know, are you a true believer?
Are you not a true believer? No, we're growing together in the body of Christ. We're fighting sin together in the body of Christ. And we're caring for each other, for our doctrines, for our life, the life that we live in obedience to the Lord. And so knowing the word of God and encouraging each other in the word of God is what you have to do, Dan, and may God help us all to do it.
Thanks for reaching out. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We've got a special offer for parents or grandparents who might have teenagers in high school right now getting set to go off to college either maybe next fall or the fall after that. It's something that will really help them prepare for what they're going to be facing after high school. Yeah, the booklet is called How to Keep Your Faith After High School.
And it's not very long. It's only about 70 pages, something that you could read in an afternoon or a couple of days, something that your children or grandchildren heading off to college could read. And it really is insightful and helpful when it comes to thinking about what are the things I need to have set solid as I go out into the world and as I begin my education in college. And so get a hold of this resource for someone in your life, and I know it'll be an encouragement to them.
Once again, it's called How to Keep Your Faith After High School. You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, that's corechristianity.com forward slash offers. We do receive voicemails here at the Core, and you can call us 24 hours a day and leave your message, your question on our voicemail system. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Jacob. My question is, how can I know I have a relationship with Christ? I believe in his death and his resurrection, and I trust in him for paying the price for my sins, but I'm still a bit afraid of being told that after I die that he never knew me. So what does it practically look like for a Christian to have an active relationship with Christ to ensure that when we go to heaven that we'll be told that we're a good and faithful servant rather than he never knew us?
God bless you, Jacob, and man, you are not alone. And if you listen to the broadcast, you know that there are many people who call in with this very same question, wondering, how can I know for sure that I'm in a right relationship with God? There are many people out there who are deceived, people who, you know, maybe I said a prayer, you know, at some point in my life where I went through this religious ceremony, okay, the box has been checked. And those individuals I don't think typically ask this question. Usually I've found in my own life and, you know, for others, and this question comes when you're really concerned about your soul, about your relationship with God.
And all of us, right, we ought to have that concern. We need to know that we are in a right standing before God, that we have a relationship with Jesus. John says, Jacob, I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, which is what you've just told me you do. I'm writing these things to you that you may know that you have eternal life. So the first thing I would want to say to you is God wants you to have confidence that you are, in fact, a possessor of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, that that is a free gift that God gives to you, not because you're perfect and you always have, you know, perfect desires or whatnot.
All of the sin falls short of the glory of God. And even as believers, we continue to wrestle with sin, with sinful desires, but we're justified solely by faith in Jesus Christ. So we can have that personal relationship with him and a love for him, even though we don't see him. I think about what Peter says in 1 Peter 1, verse 8.
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. And so what does it look like now to love Jesus and to have a relationship with him? Well, I think in part it looks like obeying his commandments.
Jesus says this in the Gospel of John in the Upper Room Discourse, If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And so it looks like following him, growing in our understanding of his word, what he's called us to, and being led by his word, by his voice, speaking to us in the scriptures as though we were being led by his very hand, guided by him. So being under the ministry of the word, Jacob, being in a solid church, surrounded by other believers, filled with the Spirit of Christ, who are encouraging you in your walk with the Lord, this is how we have that personal relationship with God. Note it's not a private relationship.
It's not just you by yourself on your own. It's a relationship that exists within the context of this community of faith, the body of Christ. And so I would say that's very important, growing together with other believers, growing in the word of God, following the Lord, obeying by the grace of the Holy Spirit, his commandments, communing with him. Where do we see the presence of Christ and the Spirit of Christ at work in our midst? It's through the preaching of the word and through those holy ordinances that Jesus left to the church, baptism and the Lord's Supper. There is an intimacy, a communion that you can have with Jesus there.
And he promises you that. And so you're growing day by day in your relationship with God through the study of the scriptures, through prayer, week by week, sitting under the ministry of the word, communing with Christ, ascended at the right hand of the Father, but by the grace of the Holy Spirit, experiencing and knowing his presence and the breaking of the bread and the cup that's given for you. And so these are all ways that we begin more and more to cultivate that relationship with the Lord. And I would just encourage you in that, knowing that God has given you, by his grace, eternal life. And now he calls you day by day to walk with him, to commune with him, to pray to him. And of course, again, we all fall short of that.
We all could pray more or read more or serve and love our neighbors more. So it's a journey. We're being sanctified day by day, but know that the Lord is not going to leave you hanging, that if you believe in him, he's filled you with his Holy Spirit. And that same spirit, right, is going to continue to sanctify you and bring you nearer and nearer to Christ, molding you more after the image of Jesus day by day as you follow him. And so, Jacob, God bless you. God comfort you as well and encourage you in the Christian life. Thanks, Adriel. Some really encouraging words there. Thank you for that. This is CORE Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We're going to be recording a second episode of the CORE after this live episode ends here in just a few minutes. So if you weren't able to get in during this program, well, you can still call us for the next 35 minutes with your question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology.
Maybe you have a particular passage in the Bible that's always confused you and you'd like some clarification on that. Well, Adriel will be happy to take your call. Or if you have any doubts about the Christian faith, hey, we're more than welcome to take your call as well. Here is the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. And again, you can call us for the next 35 minutes or so. Let's go to Ashley in Minnesota. Ashley, what's your question for Adriel? Hello. Hey, Ashley. Can you hear me? Hi. Hi, Pastor Adriel. I have a question and it's what do you think if someone were to witness a preacher promoting worldly beliefs, entertainment, even if they aren't biblically sound or pushing agendas, and the preacher was approached about this topic and said that if a Christian were to actually look into every single company that was out there, they would have to boycott everything and that he just didn't want to spend his time looking into every little thing and he saw no problem with particular companies that are very out there promoting things that are worldly, very worldly and not biblical. Ashley, I'm guessing, I know there's been a lot of talk lately about Target in particular and many people boycotting Target because of some of the things they've been putting on the shelves. I mean, I just want to get specific with you.
Is this what we're talking about in terms of, are you there? Yes. More so like he promotes a lot of like Disney things, a lot of Disney, just a lot of like worldly books and things that I just, I know that I feel convicted in those areas that it wouldn't be something that I would be promoting, especially if I were a preacher. So it just kind of shocked me to see more of this on his social media now than even Bible verses anymore.
He's completely went the opposite way. So I approached him and he told me that if I felt convicted that was on me, but he didn't feel convicted in those type of things. Okay. Well, look, here's the first thing that I'll say. As pastors and frankly just as Christians generally, what we want to promote above all else is Jesus and the truth of God's word.
It sounds to me like there's a difference of opinion here with regard to, you know, what is it okay for kids to watch Disney movies are not okay. I mean, you think about these large companies and corporations and some of the things that they're pushing, and I think we really do need to be discerning, especially today, because there's an agenda that's out there that we need to be watchful of, but I would just encourage you in humility to continue to talk with your pastor, to continue to pray about this and to encourage him as well. 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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