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Should We Pray for People Who Don’t Want Prayer?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
July 28, 2023 1:50 pm

Should We Pray for People Who Don’t Want Prayer?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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July 28, 2023 1:50 pm

Episode 1281 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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 CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. Are tattoos a form of trying to improve on God's design?

2. Is it ok to listen to the Bible as opposed to reading it?

3. Did Old Testament saints go straight to heaven when they died?

4. Should we pray for people who don't want prayer?

5. Does Leviticus 25 teach that slavery is okay?

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Should we pray for people who don't want prayer? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi there. 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. We'll be taking calls for the next 25 minutes or so. Here's the number. It's 833.

The CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Now you can also post your question on one of our social media sites and watch us live on YouTube. In fact, every day at 1130 a.m. Pacific time, you can check out our YouTube channel and see Adriel in the studio and send him your question that way. And of course, you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com.

First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Katie. Regarding tattooing, it's always bothered me because I have impressionable kids and I've always taught them the Leviticus 19. I mean, if we really as Christians are supposed to be distinct from the pagan world, then why is it that it seems acceptable to have tattoos in church?

I don't know how else to phrase that. Being distinct from the world means set apart to me, wholly sanctified, and God made us perfectly, quoting Psalm 139 verse 14. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. So putting art, so to speak, on your body is basically trying to improve on God's original design. And I don't think God's perfect design can be improved upon. I just would like some feedback on that. Thank you.

Hey, Katie, thank you for that question. So the first thing I would say, you appeal to Leviticus chapter 19, verse 28. We're told, you know, there shouldn't be any cuttings or markings for the dead, no tattooing of the body. And there are some who have tried to apply that to, you know, getting tattoos today.

I don't think that that's a proper application. I think they're specifically in the book of Leviticus, what Israel has been called to is this distinctness that that isn't, you know, looking like the pagan religions around them. Tattooing at that point was a religious thing. It was an act of worship, of pagan worship.

Now, if somebody's doing it in that way today, well, that would be obviously prohibited. That would be idolatry. But is it the case that the person who wants to get some sort of design on their arm or something like that or a Bible verse or is that sin? Would that fall under Leviticus chapter 19?

No, I don't think so. Now, you bring up a good point about the importance of us being distinct and holy and set apart. Jesus talked about the fact that we are salt and light in the world. And so there ought to be this difference, but we ought to also shine before the world where God has placed us. Does that get undermined by a person having tattoos?

I don't think so. But one issue that I will bring up is, especially in the context of worship, I sympathize with your concern. We don't want to be drawing attention to ourselves. The focus in Christian worship is not, hey, let me get on stage and show everybody my cool new tattoos. And so if that's a distraction, well, then maybe that's something that you talk to the leadership about and say, hey, I really want to focus on the Lord and I feel like there's this performance that's going on here that's taking our eyes off of Jesus and onto the pastor's cool new tattoo or whatever. No, we're not to be drawing attention to ourselves in worship. And so I hear that, but I would just say it's not the case that you're applying that Leviticus 19 passage, I think the right way. I think that we can be a little bit more charitable here in terms of Christian liberty and recognizing, okay, this person is not participating in pagan worship because they have this tattoo. I wouldn't do that for myself personally. I don't think it's wise. I don't want to do that, but I'm not going to treat you as though you're sinning or you're pagan or something like that because of it.

And so, Katie, thank you for giving us a call. Pray that the Lord blesses you and encourages you and appreciate your question. Now, one of the things you have mentioned in the past is what type of art is a person that has a tattoo putting on their body? And there are some choices that are not going to be Godly choices. Yeah, absolutely.

So right there are certain things that someone can can put on their body. And this is like, okay, well, that's not honoring to the Lord. That's blasphemous. That wouldn't be a good thing with regard to other kinds of things, right? I think that's a matter of wisdom and Christian liberty. And I wouldn't look at somebody who had tattoos and say, oh, they, you know, they're obviously not a Christian or they're obviously not a pious person. They don't care about the Lord.

No, I think they're right. That's just not the case. It's not just that the external appearance, not that that's insignificant or that doesn't matter, but ultimately God is looking first and foremost at the heart first and foremost. And so a person can have tattoos and all those things and still be committed to Jesus and have a heart that's sensitive to the Holy Spirit and seeking to honor the Lord in all things and follow after the Lord. And you can have an individual who looks really good on the outside and, you know, got that that clean haircut and not one tattoo on their body, if you will. And yet inside there are all sorts of problems.

And that's precisely what Jesus said about the Pharisees, right? Like on the outside, you guys look really good. You guys are whitewashed tombs, but inside you're full of all kinds of unrighteousness and evil and murder and adultery. And so not that not that the outside doesn't matter or that we can just sort of, you know, set that aside.

No, no. I mean, we can talk about things like modesty and whatnot as well. But we can't miss the fact that God is looking at the heart. And that's the most important thing.

Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you.

If you have a question about the Bible, Christian life, doctrine, theology, we are open to your call. Here's the number. It's 833-843-2673.

Or if you want to spell it out, it's 833 The Core. Let's go to Guilherme at in Oklahoma. I hope I said your name right. Guilherme, what's your question for Adriel? Hello, how are you guys doing? Thank you for picking up my call. You're welcome. What's your question?

Hi, Dr. Sanchez. My question is, I have a really busy life and I'm always on the road. I don't even have a lot of time to read the Bible. So most of what I try to get knowledge from the Word is listening to pastors or sermons or people preaching the Bible. And I was just wondering if that kind of fills in the blank for getting the Word or I should just try to immerse myself in reading more.

Thank you for that question. I just want to encourage you to, yeah, it's totally fine to listen to the Bible in your car through headphones or whatever. I guess maybe not through headphones. You just want to listen on the speakers. But there's nothing wrong with that.

I would encourage you. It's a different experience, obviously. We also should recognize that initially the Bible was written to be heard. The New Testament letters, the expectation was not that people in the church were going to sit down and read this letter on their own. Many of them were illiterate.

They couldn't read. So the way in which the Bible was written, it was this very auditory experience. It was hearing it from the mouth of the preacher, the minister, or the elder there in the church, reading that letter that the apostle Paul had sent to the Corinthians. And so I would encourage you to do that, man, to immerse yourself in Scripture. And that way, if you've got a lot of time on the road, what a great opportunity to go through big chunks of the Word of God. And by the way, for all of us, right, as you're thinking about a road trip or just going to work early in the morning or maybe with your kids in the car, why not, you know, put on the Book of Jonah and have a conversation about God's Word.

I think that that's a wonderful thing. And then as you have other opportunities and time to maybe sit down and open up the Scriptures and meditate on a verse, maybe to go through it more slowly, to study it more in depth, I would encourage you to do that as well. But however we can get the Word of God, let's do it. Let's listen to it on Audible or wherever, you know, however it is that we go about that. And then let's spend time studying it and reading the Word of God. I appreciate your question, brother, and may the Lord bless you as you listen to the Bible on audiobook. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Maybe you've got a question about a Bible passage that's kind of confusing to you or maybe something going on in your church or your Christian life that you're concerned about. Hey, give us a call right now. 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Donald calling in from Nebraska. Donald, what's your question for Adriel? Thank you there, Pastor Sanchez. Thank you for the two-part question.

I'll make it pretty quick. The first one is Ephesians 2, 8, and 9. It says, People understand that the grace is a gift, and if you read that, the faith is also given as a gift, so the faith and grace is both gifts of God. And we talked about the faith is a saving faith, not just a gift.

It's a saving faith is what we're looking for there. And the second question was Old Testament saints who died, specifically Abraham and everybody else back then, Jesus did not come yet. So another question came up was, well, he didn't come yet. John 739 says he did not come yet. Once he came, then they could enter to the presence of the Lord. And my response was absolutely not. Abraham believed in Genesis 12, 6, and 15, 6 that he believed he was coming from righteousness.

So once he died, just like all the Old Testament saints, once he died, and everybody else immediately goes to presence with the Lord, as 2nd Corinthians 5, 8 says. So those are my two-part questions, and I'll thank you for your answer to those. Okay. Hey, Donald, thank you for both of those questions.

Let's start with the second one first. Did the Old Testament saints go into the presence of the Lord immediately? What I would say is that they were in a place of blessedness. So yes. Now was it the exact same thing that believers experienced after the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and his death, burial, resurrection, ascension into heaven?

This is where you have some difference of opinion. There's the story that Jesus tells in Luke 16, the rich man and Lazarus. And what happens there? The rich man descends into Hades, being in torment. He lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. This is where people get this doctrine, this idea of Abraham's bosom, Lazarus being there with Father Abraham. And he called out, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. So he's in this place of torment. Lazarus is in this place of blessedness, I would say, in the presence of the Lord. But Abraham said, child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things and Lazarus in like manner, bad things.

But now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. And so even for, I would say, for Old Testament believers, they experienced when they died. And you're totally right to bring up that text in Romans that Abraham was justified the exact same way that we are. Old Testament saints were saved looking forward to the promises. We're saved by looking back to the gospel of Jesus Christ, but saved by the same kind of faith. And so as a result of that, they were, when they died, brought to that place of blessedness.

We might call that heaven or paradise, but it is, I would say, in the presence of the Lord. And then with regard to Ephesians chapter 2, by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. I do believe that the whole thing is the gift, that whole package, the grace and the faith. And the Bible does talk about faith as something that we have received from God himself. It's something that we exercise, and so I'm the one who exercises this faith, but it's a faith that has been given to me by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Peter says in 2 Peter chapter 1, beginning in verse 1, Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, may grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord. In other words, this gift of faith is something that's been won for us by the righteousness of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. And that word obtained there is really interesting in 2 Peter chapter 1.

It means to be allotted. You think of people casting lots and the lot falling on this particular thing. No, God has allotted to you this gift, this treasure of faith. And so the heart of this is just recognizing how merciful and how good God is to give us these things. And so we ought to give thanks to the Lord for that. Donald, thank you for both of those questions. May the Lord bless you. Hey, Donald, thanks so much for listening to CORE Christianity.

We really do appreciate you. We want to mention we have some great Bible studies available here at the CORE on a wide variety of topics, and Adriel actually helped to write several of those studies. You can find the full selection on our website at corechristianity.com. But Adriel, mention if you would just briefly how a person can use those for both their own personal study or in a small group or a Sunday school class. Yeah, all of those work, Bill, for these Bible studies. I mean, if you wanted to go through them on your own, they're 10-week studies. And it would be a good way to just slowly go through a book of the Bible and maybe get some insights, some deeper insights into that particular book, you know, the background, some of the context, as well as some application, thinking through it personally.

And you can do that by yourself or you can do it with a group of friends, maybe a small group at your church or with a group of different churches. It's just a helpful resource for digging into the scriptures. And so you can get a hold of these Bible studies for a gift of $15 or more. You can download them as a PDF or you can get a hard copy.

The hard copies are really nice. And we also have leaders guides with each study so that if you're intending to lead through a Bible study, we're going to give you extra resources just to be able to do that with your group. And so I hope that you get a hold of these resources. They're going to encourage you and encourage your church as well. You know, as you're looking forward to maybe a fall small group at your church or Sunday school class, this would be a great opportunity for you to get a wonderful resource that will help you in that study.

Again, you can go to corechristianity.com forward slash studies to learn more about our great Bible studies here at the Core. Well, we do receive emails here at Core Christianity, and this one came in from one of our listeners named Carla, and she says, Do you pray for people who do not want to be prayed for, especially when they've made it clear they don't want you praying for them? Do you pray for them anyway?

Carla, I think that the answer is yes, and I'll give you one example. In the book of Acts, in Acts chapter 7, here's an example of someone praying for people who probably didn't want him to pray for them. It's Stephen, and he's being martyred. He's being killed. He just preached the gospel to a group of people. They got very upset. They heard what he said. They were enraged and ground their teeth at him. That's Acts chapter 7 verse 54. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. I don't want to hear what you have to say. Stop it.

Stop it. I mean, they're closing their ears and gnashing their teeth at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.

And by the way, that Saul there is the guy who's going to become Paul, the apostle. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And falling to his knees, he cried out with a loud voice. Imagine what it must have been like to hear him say these words.

He's being stoned by this crowd. These are his last words before his death. And he cries out with a loud voice, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. And when he had said this, he fell asleep, which is New Testament speak for he died. He went to go be with the Lord.

Wow. So here's a guy who, I mean, they're shutting their ears at him. They're throwing rocks at him. They're murdering him. And he's saying, Lord, have mercy upon them. He's praying for them. Now, they probably didn't want those prayers. They didn't care for those prayers.

They wanted to shut him up, quite frankly. But I think it's instructive that Luke tells us that Saul was there. Saul was there while Stephen was praying, God have mercy on them. And did God answer Stephen's prayer?

Absolutely. Because that young man, Saul, who was helping them put Stephen to death, became one of the greatest influencers on the Christian church. I mean, just the apostle Paul wrote the majority of the New Testament. Yeah, the Lord heard his prayers. And so God hears your prayers too. And even when there are people who are hostile to the faith, hostile to you, I would encourage you, even if they're shutting their ears, I mean, you don't have to say, I'm still going to pray for you, take that kind of a thing.

It's not that. But you ought to keep praying and saying, Lord, they're shutting their ears, but you, Lord, open their ears. You, Lord, draw them to yourself. Do for them what you did to Saul of Tarsus and save them. And may God answer that prayer for all of us as we pray for the people in our lives, even those people who are hostile to our faith.

Hmm. Let me just ask a follow-up question to you. You know, we're told in scripture that not to make a show of our prayers, to go into our prayer closet. Should you ever say to a person, well, I'm going to pray for you anyway.

I'm praying for you, buddy. It would seem like that would not necessarily be the most loving thing to do. Yeah, I mean, well, if you're doing it to sort of get on someone's nerves, then yeah, don't do that. But pray still. Pray for them.

You don't have to, again, try to get on their nerves. But we are encouraged to pray for each other. And so that's what I would say, Bill. You know, sadly, the text that you bring up when Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, when he says, you know, don't pray like the religious, you know, false teachers, the scribes and the Pharisees. They love to make a show.

It's just a mask that they're wearing, essentially. Well, that's the warning, is when we pray for others, it's not so that they'll think we're holy or elevate us. We go into our closet, Jesus says, and God is the one who sees us.

We're not doing it primarily to be seen by others. And so let me just encourage you listening right now. When was the last time you had that time with the Lord in your prayer closet and just sat before him and spent time with God?

I don't say that to, you know, to make you feel bad. I say that just to remind you of this great gift that God has given you through his Son, Jesus Christ, that through the blood of Christ, you've been accepted by the Heavenly Father, and his ears are open to you. He's calling you to himself to pray to him. We have this great privilege as the children of God to be able to approach God in prayer, and yet oftentimes we forget about that. We don't take advantage of the privilege. And so take advantage, brothers and sisters.

That's so well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine or theology, you can feel free to call us anytime. We have a voicemail system. In fact, you can call us over the weekend and leave us a question for Adriel. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to John calling in from Illinois. John, what's your question for Adriel? John, go ahead. Looks like we lost him.

Thank you for that. John, are you there? I think we lost John. All right, let's go to Robert. Oh, I'm here. I'm here.

What's your question, brother? Okay. Okay. I'm sorry.

My difficult question is Leviticus 25 verses 44 through 46 seems to imply that it's okay to own slaves as property. And I'm confused by that. Yeah. John, thank you for that question. You're right.

Difficult question indeed. How do we make sense of these laws pertaining to slavery in the book of Leviticus? And, of course, for us, I mean, we think about the history that we have in this country and how that colors, when we think about slavery, how that colors how we read some of these passages. The first thing I would want to say is when the New Testament or the Old Testament, because slavery was a huge thing in the Roman Empire as well, when they talk about slavery, we're not thinking about the same thing. So it's important that we don't draw a one-to-one correlation between what a lot of times we think of when we think about slavery and what we see in Scripture. The Bible teaches that every single person is made in the image of God.

In the book of Revelation, one of the things that John rebukes Babylon, the great adulterous nation, for, and when he's enumerating her wickedness towards the end of the book of Revelation, one of the things he says that she was known for is the selling of souls, human bodies. And this was an attack on the image of God. And so the fact that the Bible gives us, just taking a step back, the fact that the Bible gives us this theology of being made in the image of God and calls us not to objectify each other as image bearers is the basis for why we fight against things like slavery. And this was the case during the abolition of slavery. So then how do we make sense of these passages? Well, in part, in Israel's history, this is one of the ways where if somebody had fallen upon hard times, they could essentially enter into this kind of indentured servitude to help supply for themselves and for their family.

And then there would even be an opportunity for them to be relieved in a period of time, or maybe they would want to stay and continue to serve there and be a part of that household. So it was different than what people think of today. And maybe the other thing I would just add is the importance of, again, context.

When we read these texts of Scripture, we want to understand them in their context, recognizing that we're talking about the God who made all people and made us in His image. So I appreciate the question. Maybe if you have a follow up, feel free to reach out to us in the upcoming week. And thank you for listening to the broadcast. I hope 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 / 2023-07-28 18:29:46 / 2023-07-28 18:40:15 / 10

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