Why is there so much division in the church? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, it's 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.
We'd love to hear from you. Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so. Here's the phone number to call with your question. It's 833-THOSE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. We also have a YouTube channel, and you can watch Adriel live in the studio right now on YouTube and shoot him a question that way. You can also email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com.
First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners. This is Eddie. Even though I like to drink my beer, am I going to be allowed to get into heaven with my good Lord Jesus and Savior? Thank you, sir.
Bye-bye. Hey, Eddie, thank you for that question. Well, not if it's Bud Light is the first thing I would say. I'm just joking.
You know, this question, first, what I would want to say to you is this. The Bible is very clear that drunkenness is a sin, Eddie. I mean, there are all sorts of warnings throughout the Scriptures related to drunkenness, and the Bible says that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God. In particular, the passage that I'm thinking of is in 1 Corinthians 6, where the Apostle Paul says in verse 9, You were crushed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. And so drunkenness, a person who is a drunkard, right?
There's a clear issue there. That's a sin. And so somebody who loves alcohol, they're a drunkard, they're severed from Christ. They don't belong to the Lord. I think that's the point that the Apostle Paul is making there in 1 Corinthians 6, but we also have to say, and this is clear according to Scripture, that alcohol or wine or beer in and of itself is not bad, is not a sin. The kingdom of God is depicted as this place where the rich wine is flowing, Isaiah chapter 25, where you think of Jesus's miracle in John chapter 2, turning water into wine, into really good wine.
There are some people who say, well, that couldn't have had alcohol in it or something like that, but this is not the case. That's not in the text. That's people reading their own tradition or ideas into the biblical text. And so drunkenness is a sin, and we're called to repent of it, to trust in Christ and to receive His grace, but drinking alcohol or drinking a beer or enjoying a beer is not a sin. And so no, that would not keep you as a Christian from entering the kingdom of God. And whatever you do, I would encourage you, as the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians, do it to the glory of God. And that's the question you have to ask yourself, is whatever I'm doing, even in what I eat and drink, can I do this to the glory of God, or is this keeping me from the Lord? One additional thing to consider is what the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 14.
Here in particular, or there in particular, he's talking about Christian liberty. And he says in verse 20, Do not for the sake of food destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.
It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith.
For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. And so here you have Christian liberty and the call to extend charity to others, especially those who really struggle with this within the body of Christ. And there is the problem of alcoholism. And so Paul's point is, if you have liberty to do this, if you can, with a good conscience, enjoy a glass of wine, don't try to push that on your brother or sister who struggles.
Maybe they have a history with abusing alcohol and it's causing them to stumble. It'd be better just not to drink in that situation, Paul says. And so those are all things that you need to consider as you think about this. One, the sin of drunkenness. Two, the fact that all gifts should be received by God with joy and that we ought to do whatever we do to the glory of God. And three, there, that call to extend charity to one another and to be cautious not to cause our brother or sister to stumble.
Thank you for your question. You know, when we talk about Christian liberty and charitable, you know, being charitable to others, let me ask you this situation. Let's say Tim goes to a very conservative church where the pastor and the elders believe that all alcohol is sin and that no one can drink alcohol because if they're truly a Christian, they wouldn't drink alcohol. Then should Tim abstain because that's the way his church feels about it even though he feels the liberty to do so? He's not causing anybody to stumble necessarily, but he would be going against the church's wishes on this issue. Yeah, well, I mean, I think that text there in Romans chapter 14 is helpful.
The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. In other words, if you're going to be, you know, stirring things up in your church, probably not the best idea. Now, I would take issue with, you know, a church that was saying, or I would have problems with somebody who was saying it's just wrong and it's just sinful because I think that doesn't take into account Christian liberty and it's adding to the word of God.
It's adding laws or rules to God's word that just aren't there in Scripture. And so I think there's an issue there. There's freedom to say, no, I don't want to do this and I don't have a clear conscience when I do this. And there's also freedom to say, no, this is something that I can enjoy as a follower of Christ. But just like with everything, whether it's food or, you know, some other good gift that God gives, we have to be cautious that we're not abusing those gifts. And that's really the temptation that we face, isn't it?
To abuse and to misuse the good gifts that God has given to us, the good things that God has given to us to enjoy. And so we need to search our hearts with humility and prayer and with good accountability within the body of Christ. Really good counsel. Thanks for that, Adriel. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Maybe you have a question about doctrine or theology, something that your church believes that you are struggling with, or maybe you're having some kind of a persecution, dealing with some type of persecution at work or at school in your Christian life. We would love to hear from you. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Darren in St. Louis, Missouri. Darren, what's your question for Adriel? Oh, yes. My question is this. I believe it's found in the book of Genesis.
So my question is this. What does the ladder represent when the Bible tells a story about Jacob's ladder? So what does the ladder represent? And then two, we're traditionally taught that all angels can fly. Well, if angels can fly, why were they ascending and descending on a ladder if they can fly?
Yeah. Hey, great question, brother. Yeah, who needs a ladder when you have, you know, angelic powers and you can just fly? Well, this is a dream that Jacob has that is meant to communicate something to him. And you're right that, you know, the text is in Genesis, Genesis chapter 28, verse 10. Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran, and he came to a certain place and stayed there that night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven, and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, I am the Lord, the God of Abraham, your father, and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.
Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and in your offspring shall all families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. And Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.
He was afraid and said, How awesome is this place. This is none other than the house of God. This is the gate of heaven.
In other words, the dream was communicating that God is giving him this promise, reiterating the promise that was given to Abraham. You're going to be a blessing to the nations, and so God is calling Jacob here, but he's also demonstrating to him that God himself is going to give him this inheritance. And you have this amazing picture, the gate of heaven, the presence of God there with him.
Now what does that ladder represent? And I'm glad that you asked that question, because when you come to the New Testament, when we think about this, what is the gate to heaven? We come to the New Testament. Jesus at one point is having a conversation with some of the first disciples, the early disciples. And I'm just beginning in John chapter 1 verse 49. Nathaniel answered to him, Rabbi, you are the Son of God.
You are the King of Israel. And Jesus answered him, Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these. And he said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. In other words, the ladder, the bridge to heaven, we might say, is Jesus Christ himself. Jesus is the gate, the door, as he says later in John's gospel, to heaven. And Jacob there in Genesis chapter 28 is given this prophetic vision, this picture of that great reality, that the way in which heaven and earth commune is through the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And so there are other questions we could ask, but when you have these kinds of visionary events in the Bible, the point is not this literal ladder that the angels are needing to climb up onto to get back into heaven, that sort of a thing.
No, it's this picture of that bridge between heaven and earth and communion with God ultimately being fulfilled in Jesus Christ himself. Thank you for your question. Great answer. Thank you for that, Adriel.
Great explanation. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. I want to mention a wonderful free resource we have available for you.
This is particularly apropos if you happen to be a parent or a grandparent. You want your kids to learn God's word. And one of the really wonderful ways to meditate and really memorize God's word is through song. Here at Core Christianity, we want to equip you and your family to grow in the Christian faith. And we know from experience and throughout the history of the Church that one of the best ways to be rooted in sound doctrine and God's word is through song.
Our worship, how we worship, shapes our beliefs, shapes our theology. And so that's one of the reasons why we've had this resource created. It's called Ten Songs to Sing as a Family. And it's a free download for you. You can get this for free over at corechristianity.com forward slash radio. And so get a hold of this and use it.
Take advantage of it. These are great hymns and songs to be singing together as a family that will give you deeper roots, if you will, in the faith that we love and confess. And so get a hold of this resource, Ten Songs to Sing as a Family. And while you're at our website, feel free to browse around, look for some of our other great resources, several free resources there you can get and our core Bible studies, which are just excellent. If you've got a small group this fall or a Sunday school class that you're involved in, maybe you'd want to go through one of the core Bible studies.
You can find all of those at corechristianity.com. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core. You can call us 24 hours a day. Leave your voicemail at 833-THE-CORE.
And here's a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners named Jim in Tennessee. My question is about the division of the church we're seeing right now. Short and sweet. Well, division in the church is a serious issue. Heresy, division, is one of the fruits of the flesh. In other words, it's not something that's produced by the Holy Spirit and Christians living in charity, rooted, grounded in sound doctrine.
And, I mean, for me, I'll just speak personally. I mean, seeing division in the church saddens me. It's grievous, because you think about what Jesus prayed in his high priestly prayer in John chapter 17, that the church would be one. This is John chapter 17, verse 20. I do not ask for these only, but also for all those who will believe in me through their word. Jesus is praying for us. If you believe in Jesus, Jesus is praying for you here. That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I in you.
That they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. In other words, the unity of the church is also so important for the mission of the church. There's something about that oneness that we have, that unity that we have, that testifies to the reality of the fact that God sent his Son into the world for our redemption, for our salvation. And so there are divisions, and there have been ever since the days of the apostles. Paul, for example, in 1 Corinthians, one of the reasons he's writing to the Corinthian church is because of the divisions that were cropping up among them. And it's a sign, really, of Christian immaturity, and that's one of the things that Paul highlights in that book, in the book of 1 Corinthians in particular.
He says that they're fleshly. And so that's what I would attribute it to. Divisions in the church, the issue oftentimes is our own sinfulness and immaturity, like you saw there in Corinth. The inability to extend charity to one another or to understand God's Word as we should.
Now, here's the encouragement that I would give to you. Yeah, there are these divisions, and frankly, these things are going to happen until we're in glory, until the last day when Christ comes to judge. But the reality is, is we are as a church, one, through faith and baptism. And so even though oftentimes we don't live into that great reality, the truth is we have been made one by Christ.
Now we're called to live into that reality. And so it's not that the church is torn asunder. It's that oftentimes we don't live as we're called to live, as the baptized, as that one body of Christ that professes faith in His name. And so God help us individually and as churches to mature in the faith that we might grow up into mature manhood, as the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians chapter 4, grow up into the image of Christ. And that's what the Spirit of God is doing today in churches all over the world.
God bless. Adriel, what would you say about a division that takes place in a church or denomination that is on biblical grounds? Let's say, for example, right now in the United Methodist Church, a huge split going on over homosexuality, gay marriage, gay ordination. These churches are leaving the church. They're dividing from the larger denomination because of that issue.
Would that be a different story? Yeah, sort of like come out of her, my people, you know, the warning that Jesus gives about coming out of Babylon in the book of Revelation. And so we don't want to say, what I don't want to communicate is that there aren't times where we do, on the basis maybe because of the importance of sound doctrine in those cardinal Christian truths or certain sexual ethic issues, you know, where we do have to say, no, this is so far gone, this is rotten at the core that we can't be a part of this. This isn't a true church. And so in situations like that, I think that the right answer isn't, oh, yeah, just agree to disagree and it's okay that we differ on these fundamental things. No, there are doctrines that are indeed worth dividing over, and I think that's actually a healthy thing. But, you know, in solid churches, I mean, you think of the Corinthian Church, for example, planted by the apostles in churches where the doctrine is pure and yet people are wrestling and struggling and exhibiting immaturity. That's where I think we need to extend more charity to one another and continue to grow and mature as believers.
Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We have a few minutes left if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, or you can leave a voicemail for us at 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Tim in Arkansas. Tim, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, Pastor Sanchez, all disciples are Christians, are all Christians necessarily disciples who go to heaven? Hey, great, great question, Tim.
The answer, I would say, is yes. I mean, we're called in Matthew chapter 28 to make disciples. Not to make Christians, I mean, we're called to make disciples, and I would say that those two are one and the same. You see this also in the book of Acts, for example. It's interesting, the way in which Christians are spoken of throughout the book of Acts primarily, a lot of people don't know this, but they're referred to as the brothers, first and foremost. And then additionally, as Christians, they're an Antioch also as disciples.
But as the brothers, this is a family. Now we're all growing in that process of discipleship, or what we sometimes refer to as sanctification. We've been brought into the church through faith and holy baptism, and we're growing. We're maturing more and more in our faith, and you can be a disciple and still struggle within.
We have to be careful that we don't have this sort of two-tiered Christianity. There are some people who are Christians, fleshly carnal Christians, and then you have the more committed Christians, the Navy Seal Christians, they're the disciples, and then you have maybe people beyond that, we'll call them saints, something like that. No, you either are a baptized disciple of Jesus Christ, or you aren't. And all baptized disciples of Jesus Christ are being sanctified, and that's one of the promises that God gives us in His Word. Now we make small beginnings of the righteousness that God calls us to in this life, because we still wrestle with indwelling sin. There's that battle that Paul talked about in places like Galatians 5 or Romans 7.
And so that's real, but the Spirit of God is also at work in our lives, putting to death the sinful deeds of the body, as the Apostle Paul said in Romans 8. And so we are growing by the grace of Christ and through the goodness of God in the Gospel. And so, yeah, I don't think that we should differentiate there, or maybe present this sort of different tiers of Christianity. We've got some Christians, some disciples, and then those who are baptized with the Holy Spirit or something like that. No, all baptized believers are indeed disciples. And that means, if you're listening to me right now, and you're baptized, you believe in Jesus, you are in the school of Christ. You're called to grow in your understanding of who God is and what He calls you to do. Teaching them, Jesus said in Matthew 28, to observe everything that I have commanded.
Are you growing in that way? Are you in a church where you're being taught the Bible, where you're growing together with other believers? That's what God calls you to as a disciple. And so we don't want to dismiss that or minimize it. I totally agree with you about there not being a hierarchy of believers, but I really would like to be one of those Navy Seal Christians.
I think that'd be really cool. Yeah, yeah, I think so too, Bill. I always figured that you were, but I guess not. There's a confession here.
I looked up to you, Bill. Come on. Oh, gosh. Don't you have some Navy Seals, or haven't you had some at your church in the past? Yeah, yeah, they're Navy Seals and they're Christians, and so they're Navy Seal Christians. Oh, that's great. I love it. So that's how you become a Navy Seal Christian.
It's actually very difficult. Okay. This is for Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Leonard in Missouri. Leonard, what's your question for Adriel? Hello? Hey, Leonard, are you there?
Yeah, yeah, I'm here. Yeah, I was reading the Romans this morning, chapter 7, verse 17. I got to 17 because I was listening to a preacher yesterday. He was preaching about, we can walk around, we don't have to sin, we don't want to sin. We can just start the day yesterday and stop sinning. We wake up today and don't sin today and then don't sin tomorrow. And I was reading in this here in Romans this morning, in verse 17, in chapter 7, and it was saying that, it was saying that now that it is no more I that do it, but sin. Well, it's just me.
What's up with that? Now, is it in me or is it not in me, or what is he saying? What was the man saying yesterday?
Okay, so it felt like a couple of things, right? What the pastor was saying pertaining to, now you don't have to sin anymore. So that's one thing. And then additionally, Paul's words in Romans chapter 7, now I take Romans 7 to be referring to a believer, and Paul's highlighting the fact that even as Christians we still have what's called indwelling sin, and we're going to have that until we're in the presence of the Lord, perfected in holiness. We're going to struggle with sin, but we also have this new identity in Jesus Christ, and we're called to present ourselves, and that's Paul's point just earlier in the previous chapter, Romans chapter 6, to God, Leonard, is those who are alive from the dead. And so you have a new identity through your faith in Jesus Christ. Now sin does not have dominion over you like it did before, but that doesn't mean we're not still going to struggle, and that's what Paul's getting at there in Romans chapter 7. The good news is God is never going to allow you to be tempted beyond what you're able, but provides the way of escape, the way of escape so we might follow him, 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 13. God bless. .
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