What is the unforgivable sin? 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. You can call us right now with your question. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE, 833-THE-CORE. And you can call us for the next 25 minutes or so.
The number is 833-843-2673. And you can also post your question on one of our social media accounts or watch Adriel Live on YouTube right now and submit your question through the CORE Christianity YouTube channel. By the way, if you'd like to email us anytime, here's our email address.
It's questionsatcorechristianity.com. We get a lot of great emails and we'd love to hear from you. First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners. I'm a new pastor. I was supposed to meet with my co-pastor at a sister church and my wife had a problem that I go to work and come home and I go to sleep, she says.
But she also says that I don't spend time with her. So instead of going to the sister church, I chose to spend time with her and my grandchildren. My co-pastor, he understood, but he wanted to make sure that this extension to be in this family of pastors is precedent in my life. How do you balance work and family life when you're in ministry? Thank you.
Hey, brother. Well, Duane, God bless you and may the Lord bless and keep you in the ministry. You know that the statistics in terms of pastors and longevity in ministry are not very good, tragically. And I bring that up just to say at this stage, as you begin trying to implement, doing everything that you can to implement healthy practices, to make sure that you are prioritizing your family, that's where the precedent needs to be. Paul says in 1 Timothy 3, I mean, this is really clear, one of the qualifications for you as a minister, as a pastor, is that you're caring well for your household, that you're providing for your family. And that doesn't just look like providing for your family's monetary needs, those kinds of things, but providing emotionally, being there, being present, teaching, leading, discipling.
That's first. And I can just say as a minister, as a pastor, there are going to be all sorts of things that are pulling at you, different places, right? And you just need to recognize, brother, that your primary job, your primary focus has to be your family. And so I appreciate what this other minister maybe was trying to get at, saying, hey, I want you to make sure that you are working together with others as well, in your community, other pastors.
But the fact of the matter is, you have to recognize that first and foremost comes your family. There's one helpful book, I think, on pastoral ministry that I wish I would have read earlier when I was first starting. Eugene Peterson's book, Working the Angles, The Shape of Pastoral Integrity, I'm going to recommend that to you as a newer minister, just to make sure that you're focusing on the right things, you know, prayer, the study of scripture, being rooted in the word of God, caring for the flock, and starting with your family. And so priority has to be on your family, and you love your church well by loving your family well and by prioritizing them. Don't neglect the other meetings, those kinds of things, but if you're at the point right now already where you just go home and then you go straight to bed, you don't have any time for your wife, that's a sign to me that there's something unhealthy about the current mode of operation.
And so you need to take a step back and pray, and this is where your wife maybe can help out as well and just encourage you and say, look, this is what I need in terms of you here, and make sure that you're listening to her, and just want to encourage you in that. So God bless you, check out that book, and may the Lord grant you a long and healthy ministry. Some good counsel, and I know it's a tough road for many pastors to balance that, especially, let's say you're in a megachurch where you have a huge amount of responsibility placed on you with thousands of people and maybe many direct reports under you, and then you end up working 40, 50 hours a week.
What happens to your family? A lot of pastors are working more than 40 or 50 hours a week. The joke is, you only work on Sunday, right? You just have to preach a sermon and it sounds like a pretty good job. If you're really pastoring the church, if you really are seeking to engage with the community, it's something that you almost have to take a step back because it's all consuming. There's always more people to meet with, things that need to get dealt with within the church. The church is a family of sinners, and so there's always work to be done, and a good pastor wants to do that work, and so the challenge is knowing when to say, okay, I recognize that there's 10 things that feel like they need to be done, these urgent things, many of the things, this is sort of the tyranny of the urgent, but I really need to sit at the feet of Jesus, I really need to be committed to prayer, and I really need to make sure I'm taking care of my family. In the book of Acts, there's that situation where there are a group of widows that are being overlooked with regard to the daily distribution of food, and so this is where you get probably the institution of the diaconate, where the disciples say, okay, we need to delegate some of this because we need to be focused on the ministry of the word and prayer, and so what should consume the minister's time, the pastor's time? It should be the word of God and prayer, and the pastor isn't called to be everybody's best friend or your life coach or your personal counselor. He's called to preach the gospel to you and to pray for you and to care for you, spiritually speaking, and so, again, this does call for a lot of wisdom, and we do hope the best for Duane and pray for his ministry. 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. Our phone lines are open right now. Here's the number, 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Jason calling in from Missouri. Jason, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, I was just calling because I'm reading through the Old Testament right now, and I found a section where they're talking about God, that people used to live past, you know, fairly old age, and then the Jews did something and God cursed them that they wouldn't live past 120 years old, but then it seems like there are some people who do live longer than that, so I was just kind of wondering what your thoughts were on that and if you could point me to anywhere in the Bible that talks about it. Thanks. Yeah.
Great question. Yeah, you get to Genesis, Chapter 5, and you see this genealogy and people were living hundreds and hundreds of years. Of course, it's the pre-Diluvian state prior to the flood, and so there are some people who will say, you know, the pristine-ness of the original creation. There, you know, you just had people that were living much longer. The world was a healthier place, that sort of a thing, and then you get the curse or the flood that comes in Genesis, Chapter 6, and we read in Genesis, Chapter 6, Verse 3, Then the Lord said, My spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh, his day shall be 120 years.
And then it gets into just the overwhelming wickedness of the world that was there at that time that led to the flood. But what does the text mean when it says his day shall be 120 years? This could be referring to two things. One, it could be shortened lifespans, so this is a part of the judgment now. People are going to live for a shorter period of time. It could also be the approximate time until the flood was going to occur. That's another way in which this has been taken, and so you have this warning that's given, essentially.
The clock is starting now. You have X amount of time to repent, and there does seem to be some indication of this later in the New Testament in 1 Peter 3. You also have what happened in the book of Jonah. When Jonah goes preaching to the Ninevites, he says, Look, you have X amount of time before judgment comes, so you need to repent. Either you have shortened lifespans here as a judgment, or you have a warning of the coming judgment, which would be in about 120 years.
Yeah, there's your answer. Thank you for calling us, Jason. God bless. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We have some great Bible studies here available at the Core. If you want to grow deeper in your faith, we would encourage you to go to our website, browse around, and maybe get one of those Bible studies for your personal use or for a small group at your church.
I just love the fact that we produce this material. Every day we get to answer your questions about the faith, but we know that many of you want to go deeper in your study of the Scriptures. As a team here at Core Christianity, we work night and day to create Bible study resources. Not really night and day, but there's a lot of people working really hard on this, putting together resources that you can use in your own life, in your own devotional life, and also as a church. If your church is looking for a resource, a Bible study to go through, whether it's through a book of the Bible or maybe some of the basics, you know, Core Christianity 101, that kind of a thing, we have the Bible study for you. Head over to CoreChristianity.com. These are available for a donation of $15 or more. You can get them as a PDF download, or you can get the actual hard copy of the Bible study. We also include or have access to leader's guides for those who are going to be leading a Bible study in the church or small group.
I hope that you take advantage of this resource. By the way, one of our Bible studies is on the book of Hebrews, and we actually have a voicemail that came in which asks about a verse, a particular verse in Hebrews today. This is Maureen. Oh, I'm sorry. It's an email.
My bad. Here's what Maureen has to say. She says, I was going through your Hebrews Bible study and I came to a phrase that said the sacraments and God's word are instruments or tools that we can go to for truth.
I disagree with that statement. I was wondering where in scripture your basis is for such an idea. The fact that sacraments, which are Roman Catholic and doctrine, are mentioned concerns me. Yeah, well, sometimes we do hear that word sacrament. We think, oh, I've only heard that in my Catholic Church or when I was a Roman Catholic.
We shouldn't be afraid of the word sacrament. We also shouldn't be afraid of the word Catholic. The word Catholic just means universal. Now, I'm not Roman Catholic. You know that if you listen to the broadcast, I have friends who are Roman Catholic.
I think that there are things that the Roman Catholic Church gets right, but there are many things that I disagree with the Roman Catholic Church on. But the word Catholic just means universal. We believe in one holy Catholic and apostolic church.
At the heart of the Christian faith, there's only one universal church made up of all those who call upon the name of the Lord together with their children. With regard to the word sacrament, that comes from a Latin word, which is a translation of a Greek word, the Greek word mysturion, which means mystery. The sacraments are the mysteries of the faith, the ways in which God communicates his grace to us in a mysterious way. That makes perfect sense because Jesus himself is the one who instituted these things for us, baptism and the Lord's Supper. See, one of my concerns, and I'm not sure what specific text you were looking at in the book of Hebrews where we were unpacking this idea in the Bible study there.
But one of my concerns is that we minimize these means of grace, these means of experiencing God's presence in our lives, baptism and the Lord's Supper, by diminishing them, by thinking, well, God doesn't really do anything there. And yet Jesus says, this is where I'm going to meet you, at my table. You know, it's interesting when Jesus gives the upper room discourse in John 13 through 16, he's telling his disciples he's going to go away. They're not going to see him anymore. Of course, they're distraught.
They're concerned. He says, I'm not going to leave you as orphans. I'm going to come to you. And it's in that context that he talks about sending the Holy Spirit. And it's also in that context that he does what? He institutes the Lord's Supper. Here's a way that we can have, that you can have communion.
Koinonia is the Greek word. Paul uses it in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 with reference to the Lord's Supper. Here's where we get intimate communion with the body and blood of Jesus Christ by faith. And so God really is working in these things mysteriously. And so don't be afraid of the word sacrament if you want to call it ordinances or something like that.
That's fine. But we shouldn't just say, oh, Catholics use that word so we can't. No, we have to define the words and determine whether or not they ought to be used. And I have no problem using it because I think it helps to convey the fact that God is mysteriously at work in these holy ordinances that Jesus himself instituted for us. And so there's a huge problem, I think, among evangelicals where we say, no, you really experience God in singing or, you know, in personal prayer, that kind of a thing. But these old, you know, these old rituals, baptism in the Lord's Supper, you don't really need that stuff. And yet Jesus says, yes, you do, actually.
This is my body and blood. You know, he's the one who's given us these gifts. And so we don't want to neglect those gifts.
We don't want to minimize them. You think of someone, you know, offering you a gift and you say, that's not it. I actually didn't really want that.
I don't care for that. Well, Jesus is giving you these gifts, really himself through these visible, tangible means by faith and by the work of the Holy Spirit, baptism in the Lord's Supper. And so let's not neglect those things and let's not minimize them when we think about, you know, what the church does. Instead, let's say, God, thank you.
Thank you for these gifts. And maybe the text that you were thinking of in Hebrews chapter six, the author of the Hebrews talks about the fact that we've tasted of the heavenly gift, probably a reference to the Lord's Supper. He says that we've been illuminated, probably a reference to baptism.
That's how the early church spoke about baptism as this illumination. And so this is a big deal. This is a significant thing and we don't want to minimize it. Thanks for that question. Great advice. Thanks for that, Adriel. 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, maybe there's a passage of scripture that's always kind of confused you or concerned you. We would love to hear from you. Or maybe there's something going on in your personal life, in your walk with Christ that you're just really struggling in some way. Hey, give us a call.
We would really love to pray for you. Here's the number again. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Brian.
I know you and I don't have a favorable opinion of certain ministries. I don't know if you've seen this YouTube video or not. Kenneth Copeland was preaching from Genesis about the creation and happiness mentioned the verse of the scriptures about how God let Adam name all the animals that God had created. Kenneth Copeland said, why did God have Adam name all the animals? Was God too stupid to do it on his own?
That's why he had a relegated to Adam to do it. Talk about blasphemy. I mean, I know God's grace is beyond man's understanding and comprehension, but my question is, what is the unforgivable sin? Is it blaspheming the Holy Ghost? Hey, Brian, we do as followers of Jesus Christ need to be discerning and we need to be able to call out false teaching when we see it. And there are a lot of false teachers out there. This is exactly what Peter said would be the case just as there were false prophets in prior times. There will be false teachers among you, Peter says in Second Peter chapter two. And so that calls for vigilance that calls for an understanding of God's word, especially those who teach and preach the Bible are held to a higher standard. This is what James says in James Chapter three.
Don't let many of you guys become teachers knowing that we're going to receive a stricter judgment. And so when you hear about preachers using God's word in a way that is twisting it, using God's word to coerce the sheep to do something, give us extra money, that kind of a thing. It should cause serious concern and we should call those people to repentance.
I mean, that's just the reality because, as I said, they're going to be held to a stricter judgment. Now, have they committed the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit when these pastors misspeak or just teach blatant heresy? I don't know that I would say that they're necessarily committing the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, the unpardonable sin. And that language comes from the Gospel of Mark.
It's in the synoptic gospels, but in Mark specifically, in Mark Chapter three in verse 22. Now, I'm not saying that to minimize what it is that they're doing. I think that unless there's repentance, I mean, if you're teaching false doctrine, you're going to go to hell. I mean, this is heresy.
This is false teaching. This is leading people astray. Jesus says in Matthew Chapter seven, many are going to say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, didn't we do all these things? And you see, my great big ministry that I built, and I'm going to say to them, Jesus says, I never knew you.
Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness. And so what's interesting, though, is in Mark Chapter three, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, those who are in danger of committing it were the teachers, were the people who seem to know the most about God's law. Let me just read the text, verse 22. The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, he, that is Jesus, is possessed by Beelzebul. And by the prince of demons, he casts out demons.
And he called them to him and said to them in parables, how can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man.
Then indeed, he may plunder his house. Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man and whatever blasphemies they utter. And praise God for that.
We often sort of skip over that verse. All sins and whatever blasphemies they utter. But, Jesus says, whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness but is guilty of an eternal sin. For, and I think this is important, this is explanatory here, for they were saying he has an unclean spirit. In other words, the religious teachers, they failed to understand who Jesus was.
In fact, they didn't just fail to understand who he was. It's not that, well, I don't know if he's God. Is he God?
I'm not sure. They identified him with Satan. I mean, talk about being spiritually blind, talk about totally missing it. Here you are, you know, you've studied the Torah, you're supposed to be an expert on the law. The scribes, by the way, they began preparing for being scribes, you know, from their childhood.
They wouldn't even get ordained until the age of 40. They were supposed to be the experts in interpretation and application of God's law. And yet, here is Jesus, the lawgiver, God himself. And they're blind.
They think he's Satan. They're saying, oh, the miracles that he's doing, he's doing those by the spirit of Beelzebul. And Jesus says, watch out. Watch out.
You're getting dangerously close to hardening your heart to the point of no return. And that was the terrifying thing. There was this judgment that was being threatened that was coming. And of course, he calls the scribes and the Pharisees to repentance. He warns them, woe to you, over and over again.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Matthew chapter 23, right? That's an opportunity for them to come to repentance, but they're blind. And so I think when we see people who are totally missing the boat, they fail to understand who Jesus is.
They're actually waging war against him, even within the church. I think we say, like Jesus says in Matthew 23, whoa, whoa. I mean, you need to be careful about how you talk about Jesus, because if you conclude he's the devil, if you think that, you know, Christians are just drinking bathwater, that they don't know what they're talking about, if you reject the gospel, there's no hope for you.
There's no forgiveness for you if you die in unbelief. And that was what was happening with these scribes and Pharisees. And so it's a sobering warning for us, and it's a call for all of us to rightly understand who Jesus is, not to have a case of mistaken identity with him, to think, oh, he's just a good teacher, which is what so many people in our culture today say. He's a good moral teacher, right?
That he's, you know, just a religious zealot. No, this is God incarnate, come to redeem you, come to save you, and to deliver you from your sins, to grant you the forgiveness of sins. And if we miss that, if we neglect it, if we close our hearts to the voice of God's Spirit speaking to us, then we're in deep spiritual danger. And that's what Jesus is warning against there. I appreciate your discernment, Brian, and I truly am bothered by some of these preachers. You mentioned Kenneth Copeland.
I truly am bothered and grieved as well. May God first help us to rightly understand who Jesus is and to rightly worship him, and then may he give us the courage and the boldness to point others to the true Jesus as well. Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez. If you'd like to leave us a voicemail, our number is 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Marcos. I was born and raised Catholic, and I've been bringing the mysteries a lot more lately, and I've noticed that in some of the mysteries that there's a kind of a double baptism that Jesus goes through the first time when Joseph and Mary consecrate him to the Lord in the temple, and the second time when he's baptized by John the Baptist and the Jordan. And I was wondering if you have some theological information on maybe what the difference is between the baptism and that consecration. Thank you, Pastor Andrew. God bless you and your ministry, and have a wonderful day.
Yeah, appreciate that. Well, when Jesus is baptized in the Gospels, the text says it was to fulfill all righteousness. He is walking in the footsteps of Israel. You know, he goes through the temptation in the wilderness for 40 days, a picture of Israel's 40-year wilderness temptation, then out of the wilderness through the waters into the Promised Land, and Jesus goes through the Jordan through the waters like Israel did, but he was perfectly faithful when he faced the temptation.
And then with regard to his presentation there in the temple, that was the revelation of him in one sense, the epiphany of him as the Son of God there with the people in the temple, recognizing who he was, the Redeemer, the Savior of the world. God bless. 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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