Why are there so many mentions of slavery in the Bible? 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. Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so. Remember, it's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on our social media sites, and of course you can always email us at questions at corechristianity.com. First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named David. I was wondering if you could completely explain Matthew 6-24, because I had a question in the past that didn't quite add up to a few answers that I was given. So if you could please explain Matthew 6-24, if we are supposed to love one and completely hate the other, which I clearly believe is the world.
Thank you. Let's go a few verses back in Matthew 6-19, because I think this is all coming in the context of Jesus talking about teaching on money and worldly possessions and our relationship to them as Christians. He says in Matthew 6-19, But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.
If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness. And that brings us to verse 24, the verse you have a question about. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. And so Jesus is, just in the context here, talking about possessions, money, and the temptation that we have to idolize material things, possessions, money, to worship those things. And Jesus is saying, look, you can't serve two gods.
There's a tug-of-war here that just isn't going to go well for you. And so the point that Jesus is making is, if you make an idol out of your possessions, out of money, you're not capable of worshipping the true God, of having him as your master, because you've already made money your Lord, your Master. It's interesting, you know, the passage, or the verses leading up to this in verse 23, Jesus says, if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.
What's he getting at there? He's probably referencing a text in the book of Deuteronomy, in Deuteronomy chapter 15, verse 7, it says, If among you one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart, and you say, The seventh year, the year of release, is near, and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing. That could also be translated, you have an evil eye towards your brother. It's this, you know, being stingy, this being unwilling to share, and why is it that you're unwilling to share?
Why is it that you're stingy? Well, it's because you've turned money and possessions into an object of worship. You're putting them before your poor brother, the one who is in need, and you're putting them before the worship of God. And so Jesus is challenging his disciples here. He's saying, look, you need to recognize that you can't serve multiple gods, you know, despite what people say. You know, just worship whoever, whatever. However, no, Jesus says you can only worship the Lord, and he's not going to compete with the worship of other things.
And so we ought to take that to heart, but specifically Matthew 6 24, the context there is not worshiping money and possessions. Thank you for that question. Great explanation. Thank you 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 or the Christian life doctrine, theology, maybe something going on in your own Christian walk that you are troubled by or you're struggling with, give us a call right now. Here's the number.
It's 1-833-843-2673, or you can spell it out, 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Gary calling in from Missouri. Gary, what's your question for Adriel?
Oh, hey. The question is, people say when we talk about the Bible and theology, usually they end the conversation, like, agree to disagree. But my question is, if we pray to the Spirit and there's one Spirit, one God, one Jesus, how can we get different answers for the same question? Gary, I think we'd have to say that we're assuming there that God is giving different people different answers. If we're talking about doctrine, important matters of doctrine, I don't believe that that's true. I think that the reason there's division on these things is because we're human beings and we're sinful, and oftentimes our minds are blinded to the truth of God's word, or we're not interpreting or understanding it correctly. Paul tells the Corinthian church, God is not the author of confusion. I don't think that God is giving different people different answers.
It's okay for you to live this way or to sin in these ways, but it's not okay for another person. And so I think that the problem is not with God. I think He's communicated to us clearly. I think the problem is with us.
Now I want to go back to you really quickly, Gary. Is there something specific that you're thinking of in terms of differences that Christians have? Well, you hear about these, even the mainstream ones, even these guys, I won't say their names, but all that we follow on radios and even this radio station, the biggest one that comes to mind is pre-tribulation rapture and post-tribulation rapture, and stuff like that. And what they say is, and you hear them well, we'll agree to disagree, it's just minor compared to accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. I think it's okay to say there are some matters of theology or doctrine that don't strike at the very vitals of what it means to be a Christian, so that if you differ on your view of the end times between another believer, that doesn't mean that that other person isn't a Christian or that you're not a Christian.
Now, if we're talking about something like, you know, salvation or the person of Jesus Christ, is He God, is He not God? Well, now we're talking about something more significant, something that's at the very heart of what we might call core Christianity. And so there is room for disagreement, but that room for disagreement doesn't mean that the disagreement or the difference is okay, that it's just sort of like, well, you know, whatever we believe about the end times or whatever we believe about doctrine, we're all just going to come to different conclusions and it's the Lord who's guiding and leading all of us.
So the reason we have differences here is because someone is wrong on this particular matter. And that's where we approach the text with humility and prayer and we seek to apply proper hermeneutics, that is Bible interpretation, and to grow together in the Word of God, to reason together. And so what I would want to say is, you know, we want to be charitable with one another, recognizing that, hey, we can differ on certain things without minimizing the fact that those differences are important and that there is a truth and that that truth is revealed in Scripture and that we're called to dig into that truth and to know it and to teach it. And so may God help us to do that as we study His Word together. God bless you, Gary.
Thanks for calling, Gary. Adriel, just to follow up a question for you, how would you deal with differences of opinion on sexual ethics? For example, we have several denominations now that are saying that people have been born gay, that homosexuality is a gift from God, that gay marriage is completely accepted and that Jesus, you know, is fine with it. So in a situation like that, how do we remain charitable and yet stand for the truth?
In a situation like that, I would say that the charitable thing to do would be to address that error in particular. And those are the kinds of errors, I think, that do actually strike at the vitals of Christianity because it's teaching something totally contrary to what God's Word clearly does say. 1 Corinthians 6, verse 9 says, Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. And so when I say that we can be charitable about certain differences, matters of doctrine, I don't mean to suggest that some Christians believe things like homosexuality are okay and others don't. No, I would say that we're not talking about sexual ethics, which I think are clear in Scripture.
I'm thinking more in terms of, well, the example that was given. You know, I believe in a rapture, I don't believe in a rapture, pre-tribulation, those things pertaining to the end times. Now even when we're talking about the end times, there are important things that we all do have to affirm, namely the second coming, the bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ in the future. And so regardless of how you may differ on the end times, there are certain things that we all have to affirm, I think, to remain within the bounds of orthodoxy. Good word.
Thank you for that. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Maybe you are confused about a particular passage in the Bible. It's kind of always stumped you. You like some clarification on it. Or maybe there's something going on in your church that you are confused about or struggling with.
You're just not quite sure if it's biblical. Give us a call right now. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Jim in Tennessee. Jim, what's your question for Adriel? Well, I had someone come to our Sunday School class and teach, and they taught about Genesis. And the first thing he said was that on the sixth day, God created male and female in his own image and told them to go forth and multiply. Now, all our lives, most everybody in my church has been taught that Adam and Eve were the first ones on the earth, and I think we focused on that because they created sin. But since I've looked at this passage and I've read it over and over and I've thought about it a lot, it certainly says to me, and this man said that these people were hunters and gatherers. Now, in this same sixth day, that's when he created the animals that they were going to eat. And I believe that it says that God created man, male and female, in his own image and sent them out to multiply. Now, this is where Cain went after he killed Abel and he was banished from the family. He went to these hunters and gatherers. What say you?
Hey, Jim. Well, so just thinking of that text, in Genesis 1, verse 26, the sixth day of creation, God said, Let us make man our image after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. And so God made man in his image.
In the image of God, he created him. Male and female, he created them. And then verse 28, And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. And so here you do have our first parents, Adam and Eve. They're in the garden and they're given this very specific role.
You mentioned hunter-gatherers. Specifically, what they're called to do, what Adam is called to do, is be this sort of priestly king in the garden, extending the scope of the garden through the cultivation of God's kingdom, if you will. This is what he commanded to do in verse 15. The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and to keep it. And this is when he tells them, you guys can eat from every tree of the garden, but don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So you have our first parents placed in the garden and called to do what?
Called to cultivate it. Called to exercise dominion over the whole creation as the image bearers of God. They're to rule over creation. And you said, well, through them, sin was created. Sin entered the world through their free choice, the free choice that Adam made.
But I didn't quite understand. If you're wondering, were there other people before them, hunter-gatherers before them, that's not what Genesis 1 says. Genesis 1 makes it clear that God breathed into man the breath of life and that what you get there as a result is Adam and Eve.
And from them, the human race descended. Thank you for your question. Thanks, Jim. Appreciate you listening to Core Christianity. If you've got a question about the Bible, the Christian life doctrine, theology, our phone lines will be open for the next 10 minutes or so. Here is the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Need to tell you that in addition to this radio show, Core Christianity produces a lot of great resources that will help you grow in your faith. And one of those resources is our collection of Bible studies. Yeah, if you're looking for a good way to dig into the Scriptures with a little bit of guidance, get a hold of one of the many Bible studies that are produced here at Core Christianity. Bible studies on Old Testament books like the book of Jonah, the book of Daniel, Bible studies on New Testament books like the Gospel of John or the book of Revelation.
We really have a lot of great, great resources that I hope you'll take advantage of. And so you can get a hold of these over at CoreChristianity.com for a gift or donation of $15 or more. We have PDF downloads as well as physical copies of these Bible studies, and I know that they'll encourage you in your church. We also have leaders guides for each of the studies. So if you're a person who leads a Sunday school class or a small group, you're looking for some good curriculum for this fall, check those Bible studies out. You can find them by going to CoreChristianity.com forward slash radio. Just browse around, check out some of the Bible studies again, CoreChristianity.com forward slash radio. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core. You can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day at 833-THE-CORE.
Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named John. My question for Pastor Adrian is about the early Christian church. Why is it that slavery is being mentioned in the Bible? Is it because the early Christian lives involved too much, you know, like slavery, people that are under this classification to be enslaved?
Hey, John, excellent question. Just to get to the heart of it, the first thing I would want to say is it's not mentioned a lot in the Bible because God is pro-slavery. Slavery was something that did exist in the Old Testament and certainly in the New Testament as well. There are even laws related to slavery in the Old Testament, but I view that similar to the commandments related to divorce in the Old Testament where Jesus says this is not how things were supposed to be.
It really is a result of the sinfulness of humanity, the hardness of our own hearts that God has given these sort of regulations pertaining to these things, but this is not how God created the world to be. This is a result of sin and the hardness of human hearts, the fact that we objectify other people and we mistreat them and enslave them, and it's something that we've seen throughout human history and certainly in the days of the Bible. And in particular in the New Testament, I mean you think of the Roman Empire, there were millions and millions and millions of slaves.
I mean people could enter into slavery in various ways, maybe they were conquered, some people would sell themselves into slavery, sometimes a way of paying off a debt. And so you think of the churches that are being addressed in the New Testament by the apostles, think of Paul's letter to the Romans or to the Corinthians. In these various places, it's a fact that there were slaves in these churches, people who were categorized in that way, and so the Bible speaks to that specifically. And it also uses this idea of slavery and being released from slavery as a picture, a metaphor of what we experience as the children of God and salvation released from our slavery to sin. You also think about the story of the Exodus and the children of Israel enslaved by the Egyptians for so long and then God delivering them from slavery. So God is the God who delivers from slavery. And so again, I just want to reiterate that when we see this in the Bible, it's not that the Bible is celebrating this or saying, boy, this is just really good and the way things should be. It's dealing with an issue in that society at that time, and at the very end of the Bible, in the book of Revelation, when John is picturing the judgment of Babylon, this evil, wicked world system, one of the ways that he describes Babylon in her sin, what she was doing, is by enslaving people. It says that in terms of what she would trade, it says the slaves, that is human souls, that's Revelation chapter 18 verse 13, and that's something that leads to her condemnation, to her judgment, the fact that she's objectified people, enslaved them. And so God is clear about this.
We are made in his image, and as his image bearers, we're worthy of dignity and respect, and slavery is a way of minimizing that great reality that's revealed to us in scripture. Great explanation. 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 or the Christian life. Our phone number is 833-THE-CORE, or of course you can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day. Let's go to Matt calling in from Nebraska. Matt, what's your question for Adriel? Well, hello, can you hear me okay?
Hey Matt, I can hear you. Thank you, I just want to say thank you for your program, and my question is about the Christian life, and I will just tell you that in recent years as a dad, I'm trying to bring my kids closer to God more often. And so my question would be, growing up, I would see churches offering Sunday night opportunities, Wednesday night services, and I've had a hard time finding that with churches across different, even just like denominations within Christianity where it seems to be only Sunday morning, here's your two services, and see you next week. So I find a lot of strength in going on a Wednesday to kind of just bring my family back to that Christian fellowship.
Can you tell me, is there a national trend like that, or is that just my own observation, and what do you think about that? Well, there definitely is a huge trend going on right now with regard to people just abandoning church altogether, so even the Sunday service. There's a book that just came out on the great de-churching that we're experiencing all around us, where people who used to attend services regularly now are attending less than once a year or not at all, and for various reasons. Some of it is people just sort of fall out casually of church attendance. Sometimes it really is, they've experienced some terrible trauma or abuse in church, and so they're ex-evangelicals now. They've completely just said, you know, I can't have anything to do with this system, with church anymore, and so you see it with the Sunday service, but I think you also do see it with maybe other opportunities for fellowship, and I just want to commend you for wanting to be engaged in the life of the church.
I think that's something that we desperately need. The Sunday service is key, it's very important, but the hope is that out of that blossoms other opportunities for Christian fellowship throughout the week, whether that's something like a midweek Bible study or a community group, or it's just you opening up your own home and being hospitable to the believers in your neighborhood or to folks who are in your church, people who need some encouragement. And so one thing that I would encourage you to do, Matt, if you're part of a church, you're taking your kids to church on Sunday, you're looking for other opportunities, maybe talk, one, to the leadership of your church and say, hey, are there other opportunities like this for fellowship? But additionally, seek to create those kinds of opportunities for others in the church who are longing for that. Let your dinner table be a place where Christian fellowship happens, where you're inviting people into your home. Brothers and sisters in Christ, maybe people who need some help with a meal or something like that, and conversations about Jesus and the gospel can take place.
This is something that we desperately need. The author of the Hebrews said in Hebrews 3, verse 12, take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart leading you to fall away from the living God, but exhort one another every day as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. And then just later in the book of Hebrews, in Hebrews chapter 10, verse 24, the author of the Hebrews says, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
I want to commend you, brother, because I can tell that that's what you want, and I also want to commend you because you don't want just that for yourself. You recognize the importance of bringing your family along in this, of exposing your children to Christian fellowship, of not neglecting that gathering together as some do. And so may God open the doors for that kind of fellowship for you in your church community, and may he bring just a great amount of fruitfulness through those conversations, through those relationships that are built, maybe around the dinner table or at a weekly Bible study or something like that. And may that be a blessing not just for you, but also for your kids, Matt.
Thank you for reaching out. And if you're not in a church, you're listening, you're not in a church, get into a good church where you can have that fellowship too. 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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