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Should We Ever Stop Praying?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
July 24, 2023 5:10 pm

Should We Ever Stop Praying?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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July 24, 2023 5:10 pm

Episode 1277 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

 CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. Should I leave my church if my pastor is arrogant and lacks accountability?

2. What type of faith is strong enough to save me?

3. Is abortion wrong under any circumstance?

4. What does Hebrews 12:6 teach us about God's discipline of His children?

5. Is there ever a reason to stop praying?

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Should we ever stop praying? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. 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 phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

We'll be taking calls for the next 25 minutes or so. 833-843-2673. You can also find that number on our website, corechristianity.com. By the way, we also have a YouTube channel, and you can watch Adriel right now live on YouTube and send him a question through the YouTube channel. And you can always feel free to email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to a listener in Gainesville, Florida.

What's your question for Adriel? Hi, are you there? I guess we lost this person. Hello, are you there? From Florida?

Okay, I guess not. Let's go to an email question that came in from one of our listeners. This one says, I'm attending a small independent Reformed church. It's the only Reformed church in my area, and I'm having some issues with the pastor. The services and sermons are good, but away from the pulpit, the pastor lacks humility, kindness, and care for his flock. He is arrogant, sarcastic, and demeaning. He has not personally offended me or my family, but he's done much damage in the church.

Because we are independent, there is no hierarchy to ask for help, and our elders, although great men, are quite passive. I feel like it's the pastor's church instead of Christ's church, and many people have left due to a lack of reconciliation. I'm looking for the Holy Spirit to change my pastor's heart, but is there anything else I can do, or should I just leave the church?

Wow. This just goes to show it's not all about the skill that one has when it comes to preaching. A person can be really talented, get a huge following, yet personally, in terms of their interaction, in terms of how they deal with the church, how they care for the church, there can be a lot of pride, a lot of arrogance. That's going to make it really hard for you to be able to sit under that ministry. The sermons might sound great. You might feel like, oh, it's right on, and yet it's coming from someone who isn't really a pastor, who is full of arrogance and pride.

This is a serious sin, a deadly sin. With regard to what you should do, it sounds like you're in a tough situation, because ordinarily, you would hope that you could bring your concerns to the church and the elders, would be able to talk about this and address this issue. They're seeing it too, but if they're just a bunch of passive yes-men, if there isn't going to be real discipline there and care, well, then you probably need to find another church. One of the marks of the true church of Jesus Christ is discipline, is the fact that you can have these kinds of conversations and address these kinds of issues. If there isn't a concern for sin, especially when it's in the leadership, then it's just going to be disastrous.

I'm really sorry to hear about this situation that you're in. I maybe would just encourage you, one, to pray. Obviously, when you bring this kind of concern forward, it sounds to me like this pastor is probably going to respond very defensively.

That's already happened. It sounds like there have been people who've already left the church. My encouragement, then, would be to pray, to bring this before the elders and say, look, something needs to change, because this church isn't ordered properly right now. It's clear that there is an issue here of sin and that there's no accountability. When there is no accountability, that's when things can go really south. I hope that the Lord is at work in the leadership there and that God, by His Spirit, brings about humility and true repentance and maybe a restructuring or reordering or at least a real accountability. That needs to be there.

If it's not there, then I think it's probably time to start thinking about other options for you and for your family. Just a follow-up question for you, Adriel. Are you concerned when a church doesn't have any kind of denominational accountability, no structure above the local church? I realize that that can be fine, but at times, it seems like there needs to be a larger body that the person is responsible to. Here we're getting into the question of church government.

That's an important discussion to have. I think the main thing is it's important that there really is accountability. Now, that can happen in a local church, in an autonomous local church that's ruled by a group of elders who aren't just yes men, but actually their primary focus is on God's word and wanting to honor the Lord so that when they see sin in themselves or in members of the church or even in the pastor, they're willing to graciously address that. Not just sweep it under the rug or pretend like it's not there.

When you do that, it just gets worse and worse. I think the main takeaway here is there has to be a healthy amount of accountability within the local church. Whether that accountability is coming from that group of elders, and I think ordinarily it does, or you have outside accountability as well in a different kind of church government or ecclesiastical structure, I think that that's wise and prudent. Because we've seen how often when you have a church that's just really governed by one person, the pastor, the sort of Moses model of ministry, that really has led to all sorts of hurt and can be disastrous for the body of Christ. So accountability is important for members of the church, but also for the leadership too.

Well said. This is 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, feel free to give us a call. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to a caller from Ohio. What's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Hi, yes. So I kind of feel like I have no hope right now. God showed me the other day that I'm not a Christian, which is kind of good to know because I've been struggling with it. And he showed me that I have a shallow faith through the parables of the seed and the sower. And my question is like, there's demonic faith, there's intellectual faith, I guess there's shallow faith.

Like, how do I, if God gives faith, like in Ephesians 2, 8, and 9, how do I get the faith if it's from him? And also my repentance is fake. It's more about, like, I haven't really cared that Jesus died.

It's been more about escaping punishment. So how do I get godly sorrow if God gives the gift of repentance onto life? Like, I don't know what to do. Well, this just sounds to me like you feel like there's something really wrong with me, but there's nothing I can do unless God will help me. Sometimes, you know, we can be so introspective, you know, looking at how we think about faith, how we think about repentance, that we can get ourselves in a sort of rut.

You know, we're examining every single action. How strong is my faith? What is true faith? And I think it's good that you've recognized, look, there is such a thing as false faith, right, as not truly trusting in Jesus. People can have what we sometimes refer to as a historical faith.

You know, you believe in Jesus like you believe that Abraham Lincoln existed, right? True faith is characterized by trust, casting ourselves upon the Lord Jesus Christ. It's not a work.

It's not something that we do, per se. It's something that's created in our hearts, as you know, by the Holy Spirit whereby we receive and rest upon Jesus Christ and Him alone as He has offered to us in the gospel. I want you to know, if you long to come to Jesus, if you feel like, man, I'm so messed up. I'm so broken. I just don't even think I have true faith. Jesus, I want you. I want true faith. I want the forgiveness of sins. I want you to know that Jesus doesn't turn you away.

He says in John 6, all those who come to me, I will in no wise cast out. And maybe it is that you're coming to the Lord right now and you're so introspective. You're thinking, well, I don't even know if I'm really coming for the right reasons, truly, you know, honestly. The fact of the matter is, even our most pure works, our pure attempts at following the Lord are still mingled with sin. And when you see that, you know, maybe it's I'm just doing this because I'm afraid of hell. It's not really because I love God. You see that and that can hold you back. Don't let that hold you back. I think true faith is recognizing, Jesus, you're my only hope.

I've tried everything else and nothing works. I can't save myself. You're my only hope. And I just want to grab onto you.

And that's what I'm doing. And I think it's illustrated for us beautifully in Mark chapter 5. There's that woman who had this issue for 12 years. In verse 24, it says, a great crowd followed Jesus and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had a discharge of blood for 12 years and who had suffered much under many physicians and had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. And there she said, if I touch even his garment, I will be made well. And immediately the flow of blood dried up and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned around in the crowd and said, who touched my garments? And his disciples said to him, you see the crowd pressing around you and you say, who touched me?

And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman knowing what had happened to her came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And Jesus said to her, daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your disease. Here's what faith is.

I love this picture. Faith is an unclean hand, our unclean hand. Unclean because of our sins. Unclean because our motives aren't perfect. Unclean because we're coming to God, you know, not because we truly love him, but because we're afraid.

Our faith, it just isn't perfect. But that faith that recognizes Jesus, you're my only hope, that faith, it's an unclean hand that lays hold of the righteous robes of Jesus Christ. And that's what you need to do.

That's all you need to do. And when we do that, right, the Spirit of God is at work in our lives. And so I would say to you, don't be held back by your fears or by this sense that you have of, man, everything that I do is wrong. And your introspective, your seeing the motives, even those things, you can confess those to the Lord. You can come to Jesus and say, Jesus, I don't want to just pursue you out of fear, out of terror that I'm going to go to hell if I don't. I don't want to just follow you for those reasons. I want to know your love. I want to follow you for the right reasons. I want to walk with you. And I recognize that I'm going to do that imperfectly because we do.

No one does that perfectly. This side of eternity, it's not until we're glorified in the presence of Jesus that our obedience to him is what it ought to be. But you can come to him confessing all of those things saying, Lord, I'm a mess. I feel like my faith is so shallow. All I have is this unclean hand that's reaching out to you.

And Jesus will grab a hold of that hand and lift you up. And may he do that for you, sister. God bless you.

Amen. This is 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 doctrine, theology, something going on in your church right now that you're concerned about, or maybe some type of persecution you run up against in your work at school or wherever it might be. So give us a call. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. We do receive voicemails as well. You can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day. By the way, in addition to our radio program, we've also created some excellent Bible studies for you. And Adriel has been involved in writing several of these studies, and we're really excited to tell you about them today.

Yeah, we are. One of the most important things I think we can do as believers is not just make sure we're carving out time to be in Scripture, studying the Bible every day, but to truly understand what we're reading. And one of the ways we can do this is by getting some helpful resources like Bible studies.

And that's what we've tried to provide for you here. We have a continuously growing collection of Bible studies written for topics like the foundations of the Christian life, how to study the Bible, you know, just about everything, really. And then just Bible studies through particular books of the Bible as well.

For a donation of $15 or more, all of our studies are available as a physical copy or as a PDF download. And we also offer leaders' guides, so if this is something you're thinking about maybe doing with a group of friends or Bible study for your church, fall Bible study, community groups, get ahold of these resources, and Bill will tell you a little bit more about how to do that. You can find them by going to corechristianity.com forward slash studies. Again, that's corechristianity.com forward slash studies. And by the way, one of our Bible studies is on the book of Hebrews, and we actually have a question about a verse in Hebrews today. Do we, Bill?

I think we do. My pastor preached a couple of months ago that abortion is okay if you've been raped, because he said God wouldn't want you to look at that baby and be reminded of the trauma you suffered. My question is, is abortion wrong, which I know that it is, because the Lord says don't kill.

Thank you. Okay. Well, that's definitely not on the book of Hebrews, but it is an important question, and my sense is that your pastor maybe would want to affirm that abortion is generally wrong, but he's trying to say in this circumstance, you know, if a woman has been raped and she gets pregnant, then that would be a justification for having an abortion. Well, there's a great inconsistency here. Abortion, we believe, is the taking of human life. It's a violation of God's law, the commandment not to kill, not to murder. And I understand, you know, maybe the heart behind what he's saying, but it's just wrong.

He's wrong when he makes that statement. Now, that's not to minimize the suffering of this person who's been raped or abused. It's just to say that the solution, the right thing to do, would not be then to have an abortion, and I know that that's a controversial statement to make.

I also know that there are women, and I've heard their testimonies, who have experienced this and, you know, had their baby, and it was a picture of redemption, and how the Lord was at work in and through them. But again, I don't want to minimize the suffering. I would just say, no, that that pastor was incorrect. That would not be a proper application of God's word. We want to be compassionate.

We want to be caring. We want to be humble as we have these discussions, and especially when somebody's experienced something like this, man, we as a church need to come around this person with all of our resources, all of our care, all of our love, to support them, to support this baby. But the right answer isn't to say, well, let's just, in this situation, abortion would be okay.

No, that would be wrong. That would still be sin. And so I disagree with your pastor and think that he's incorrect there.

You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. I mentioned we had a question about a verse from the book of Hebrews, and this one came in from one of our listeners named Marilyn. My question for you is in Hebrews, 12th chapter, 6th verse. For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth and scorneth every son which he receiveth. What does that mean?

Thank you. Basically, the author of the Hebrews is saying, look, you Hebrew Christians, you are struggling, you're suffering. And in part, some of this is the Lord's chastisement upon you. The group that he's writing to here, they were sinning against the Lord. They were turning away, actually, from Christ. And there was suffering associated with this. I mean, there are all sorts of really heavy warnings in the book of Hebrews, Hebrews chapter 6, Hebrews chapter 10, but here he's saying, look, this chastisement that you're experiencing, you know what it is?

It's a sign of the fact that God loves you. Just like a good father, a good parent disciplines their children. If they see them doing something that's going to hurt them, going to destroy them, running into the street or something like that, a good father wouldn't just say, go ahead, have at it.

Why don't you do that some more? No, that would be a sign that you hate your kids. A good father cares for, instructs, disciplines his children. Similarly, the author of the Hebrews is saying here, quoting from the Old Testament, he begins in verse 5, Have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord. Don't just cast this aside.

Don't think this is a small thing. Don't be wearied when you are reproved by him, for the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom the father does not discipline?

If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the father of spirits and live? And so he's encouraging them in the midst of their suffering.

And this should be an encouragement for us. When we sin against the Lord and we experience his care and his discipline, even that sense of, right, I just feel so spiritually dry, and sometimes we can take that to mean, man, God must hate me now. He's rejected me.

He's done with me. No, that can be the discipline of the Lord. It's actually a sign, not of his hatred, not of the fact that he's abandoned us, but that he loves us, and that he's calling us back to himself in repentance. He's calling us to follow him, not to continue to do the things that are destructive, that will harm us and harm the people around us sin. And so it's the grace of God, truly, and the love of God that leads to his discipline over us as his children. Thanks for that question. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can always email us anytime.

Here's our email address. It's questions at corechristianity.com. Here's a question that came in from one of our listeners named Mike, and Mike says this, Do you have any guidance for me on when to discontinue praying in the following specific instance? Fairly often I get requests to pray for someone or something needed or for a specific situation. Rarely do I ever hear the outcome of what was asked for by the requester. For example, when I see someone I haven't seen for a while and they request prayer, I may not see them again for a long time.

Other times I just don't get any feedback from the requester. To honor my commitment to pray, I do pray for them, sometimes for several months and in a few cases years, again with no news. I'm aware of 1 Thessalonians 5.17, and that's typically the reference I get when I ask for guidance on this question.

But what are your thoughts? Mike, I just want to say God bless you for being such a prayer warrior. I think it's wonderful that when you say, I'm going to pray for you, you commit to it. And I think a lot of times we can say that, right? We can say those words, Oh, I'll pray for you.

And then we just forget to do it. But, brother, God bless you. You're the kind of guy I want praying for me. And so say a prayer for me, add me to your list, and let me just say, we may not see, you may not see, right now, this side of heaven, how the Lord has answered your prayers.

That commitment to call on the name of Jesus on behalf of others. But they're bearing fruit. And one day, sometimes the Lord does give us glimpses here. We do get that feedback, somebody comes to us, or we just see, and we get to marvel and say, Thank you, Lord, for what you've done. But one day you are going to get to see the fruit that your prayers helped to produce by the grace of God. And so my encouragement to you would be keep praying, keep praying. Now, it's good to follow up. You know, there's nothing wrong with that. It's actually encouraging.

I think, you know, if you haven't heard back from someone in months, maybe shoot them an email or give them a phone call or reach out to them and say, Hey, I wanted to check in. I think that's just, when people have done that for me, it's a shot in the arm because it's like, Oh man, you've been praying for me. And I get to say, keep praying or, oh man, here's how the Lord answered your prayer. Here's what the Lord has done since then.

So there's nothing wrong with that. But I will say, you know, we just don't know. We don't always get the benefit of getting to see how the Lord has worked through our prayers. Sometimes, you know, that fruit doesn't come maybe until years down the line. And yet the fervent prayers of the righteous man availeth much as we read in the book of James. And so my encouragement to you is to continue to pray and to seek the Lord. And maybe God will impress upon your heart at one time or another. Okay, I'm going to refocus my prayers.

This has happened in my own life. You know, there are times where you're praying and it's like something comes to mind or there's a focus and it's as if God in His providence is leading you to pray for something particularly, I think be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in your life and that way to pray. But just God bless you and keep praying. And may the Lord bless you and encourage you in and through that.

Thanks for that question. You know, it's interesting. Just recently, I've had a couple of promptings from, I guess, the Holy Spirit to pray for a certain person that I hadn't talked to in a long time. And then I followed up with an email to him. I said, I just felt like God wanted me to pray for you today. And they've written back and said, thank you so much.

You won't believe what's been going on in my family or you don't believe the issue with our health or whatever it might be. And I'm just feeling like, wow, God really did impress that on me. I mean, Bill, what a great example. It's just so important for us to be sensitive to the voice of God's Spirit in our day to day life because God will do that. God will impress that upon your heart, bring someone to your mind and just a reminder, an encouragement to pray and to encourage them. And so I'm glad that you did that. And I hope that he reminds you to pray for me, Bill, from time to time. So keep it up, keep it up.

I will, don't worry. 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 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 / 2023-07-24 19:36:52 / 2023-07-24 19:47:26 / 11

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