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If You Go to a Church That Practices False Rituals, Are You Guilty of Sinning?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
November 8, 2023 11:30 am

If You Go to a Church That Practices False Rituals, Are You Guilty of Sinning?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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November 8, 2023 11:30 am

Episode 1354 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

 CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

 

1. Are the parable of the sower and the teaching of the narrow gate related?   2. Did Christians convert a pagan holiday into Christmas?Should I rebuke my father-in-law for his infidelity or just keep praying?   3. What is the difference between pentecostals and presbyterians?   4. Am I guilty of sin if I go to a church with unscriptural practices?   Today's Offer What Still Divides Us   Request our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone.   Want to partner with us in our work here at Core Christianity? Consider becoming a member of the Inner Core.   Resources

Book -  Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God's Story by Michael Horton

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Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

If you go to a church that practices false rituals, are you guilty of sinning? 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 with your question at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. And of course, you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to John calling in from Arkansas. John, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, it's concerning two verses, and I don't remember the actual verse, but it's concerning the parable of the sower and the seed, and the correlation between that and the road that leads to life is narrow.

If you shall find it, the road that leads to death is wild, and many shall find it. Now you're just curious about how those two texts of scripture relate, or if they are saying the same thing? How they relate to the Christian life and what we need or what we don't need to be doing for the kingdom of God. Okay.

Well, great. And I just love diving into the scriptures right at the beginning of the broadcast. So the two passages are in Matthew's Gospel. In Matthew 7, you have that, you know, narrow is the way. Matthew 7, verse 15.

Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? So every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.

A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire, thus you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name and do many mighty works in your name? And I will declare to them, I never knew you.

Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. And so there's that text there in Matthew, chapter 7. And then in Matthew 13, with the parable of the soils, you have Jesus sharing a parable about how these different soils receive the seed of God's word.

And not all of them bear fruit. And so you have that the correlation between those two texts, Matthew 7 and Matthew 13, with fruit and bearing fruit, but also the problem of not receiving the word of God rightly. And that was the problem with the religious leaders in Jesus's day. And I think that this is something that we also need to be aware of and ask ourselves the question, you know, Jesus said over and over again, be careful how you listen. It's one thing to hear the word of God. It's another thing to truly receive it into your heart.

And that was the problem. There were people in Jesus's day, I'm thinking of the scribes and the Pharisees, who heard God's word. They searched the scriptures.

They knew the scriptures very well. And yet that word had not borne fruit in their lives. They didn't really believe it.

They didn't really receive it into their hearts. And as a result, they were fruitless. And so I think also, you know, it's interesting, there's another another parable, we might say, in the book of Hebrews, in Hebrews, chapter 6, where there's a similar idea where the author of the Hebrews talks about the rain that falls on the land. And what should happen when rain falls on the land?

Well, it should produce a crop. And the author of the Hebrews says, if it doesn't, if it just bears thorns and thistles, well, that land is going to be cursed. And that was what was happening when Jesus came. You know, the rain of the gospel and God's word is falling, and yet these people weren't receiving it. And so the big, I think, you know, the correlation between those two texts and the big takeaway for us is the question we should ask ourselves is, how do I receive the word of God? Am I truly receiving it, clinging to it, laying hold of it by faith, treasuring it up in my heart?

Or is it just sort of in one ear and out the other? Am I not attentive to God's word? And that attentiveness looks like a rejection of the word, or not listening to the Lord, not following Him. It's one thing to hear the word of God. It's another thing to listen to it and to obey God as He speaks to us from heaven. And that's what we're called to, is to follow the Lord, to listen to His word, to receive it into our hearts. And when we don't, it truly is a tragedy. And that's what Jesus goes on to say there in Matthew chapter 7. You know, the one who hears these words and doesn't do them is like a guy who builds his house on sand, and that house falls. And so God help us, brothers and sisters, God help us to not just to read the word and to sit under good preaching. Yes, we need that.

That's a part of it. But to truly hear it, that the Spirit of God would illuminate the word to our hearts, that as we hear God speaking to us in Scripture, we wouldn't close our hearts or harden our hearts, but we would say, Lord, yes, help me to receive this. Help me to understand Your word.

Help me to grow in it. God, cause Your word to grow in my heart, that seed of Your word to grow in my heart and produce fruit that is pleasing to You. That's what God calls us to. That's what God desires, John. And so God help us in that. God bless you in that too, and appreciate you giving us a call. John, thanks so much for your call and for digging into God's word. We appreciate that when our listeners really make the effort to read the word on a regular basis and then apply it to their lives.

You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can leave us a voicemail anytime if you get our voicemail system. We'd love to get your name. Let's go to Kim calling in from Oklahoma. Kim, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, I saw a post that said, how are Christians okay celebrating Christmas and Halloween, which are both originated from a pagan holiday?

Now, I don't celebrate Halloween, but I do want to know, because I've heard from other people stating that they think Christmas is originally a pagan holiday. So I just want to know how to answer these people. Mm hmm. Great. Well, I know we have a resource, Bill, don't we, on Christmas in particular.

I don't remember the name of it, but Kim, maybe we can find that and send it to you. But the whole point of the resource was just highlighting the fact that Christmas is not a pagan celebration or holiday. Now, I mean, we can treat it in that way. I mean, if it's all about money and consumerism and the sort of, you know, that filthy lucre we might say, right?

Well, then there's a problem. That's paganism. But early on, Christians did celebrate the nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ, his birth, his incarnation. Now, there's nothing in scripture that prescribes a celebration of Christmas or, you know, the only holy day we have as Christians, we might say, is Sunday, the Lord's Day, where we gather together for worship. Does that mean that it's bad or wrong to celebrate these other great events in redemptive history?

I don't think so. I think that it's good, according to God's word, to continually remember the things that God has done for us and celebrate them. But if we take those things and we twist them, and it just becomes about the sort of consumerism or commercialism or whatever it is, well, then there's a problem there. We don't want to get swept away with that materialism that is so prevalent everywhere in our world.

It could be an opportunity. I see it as an opportunity for the Church to get to talk about the significance of God sending his only begotten Son into the world for our redemption. There are a few mysteries in scripture that are as beautiful as the mystery of the incarnation, God the Son assuming human flesh so that he might redeem us, save us, so that he might heal our broken humanity.

It really is quite beautiful. And by the way, my producer has just sent us a message. That resource I was talking about, it's a CoreChristianity guide. You can get it at corechristianity.com slash guides. Five reasons Christmas is not a pagan holiday. And so, Kim, I recommend you look that up, because that'll get more into some of the details and the history.

And I appreciate you reaching out to us. God bless. Never want to idolize Rudolph the Red-Nosed Ranger. That is dangerous and... That's not my temptation, Bill. It's all the delicious Christmas foods.

It's like saying no after the second or third place. Then that's when the cookies come out and everything else. There's real temptation around Christmas time, isn't there? Be on guard, brothers and sisters. This is CoreChristianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We do receive voicemails here at the core. You can leave us one anytime. We'd love to get your question.

Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Eric. I married my wife 10 years ago, and her father and her mother are still married. But there was infidelity in the past that we know about.

And I can speculate that it's still going on today. I know that he lies all the time about big things, small things. And this lying is so bad. The family has just basically accepted it as normal. But now his son has also just had an affair.

And I'm just getting tired of seeing the lies just go on unchecked. Some of the other family knows it, but they just say, just pray about it. I just want to know what your guys' thoughts are. Should you just pray about it?

Or my thought is there needs to be action at some point, some kind of intervention. Thank you. Hey, Eric. God bless you. Thank you for that question. Tough situation to be in, I know, as a son-in-law.

When is it appropriate to speak? One of the other questions I would have here is, is he a professing Christian? I think that informs how you approach this. Obviously, as a believer, you would be approaching him not just as family, as his son-in-law, but also as a brother, as a member of the body of Christ. And when we see professing believers, people who claim Christ living in ways that are contrary to the Word of God, whether that's, you know, they just don't go to church anymore, or there's a pattern of habitual lying like you've talked about, there does need to be, I think, a loving confrontation where we say, hey, what gives? There's a real contradiction between what you claim and how you're living.

And that's hard, right? You know, nobody wants to be the person to bring that up, but that really is showing love to another person. And if you've ever had a Christian come to you and confront you on something, and you're convicted, and you say, oh, man, you realize, man, I'm so thankful for that person.

You really loved me in that moment and so it's an opportunity for you to really love him as a believer. But even if he's not a Christian, if he doesn't profess faith in Christ, I do think it's still appropriate to say, hey, this is not okay. This behavior is destructive. And part of it is you wanting to take care of your family, your wife, and protect her from that kind of behavior. I think also of what Paul said in 1 Timothy 5, just encouragement in terms of how you approach this, because I know when tensions are high and there's anger, there's frustration, it's easy to get wrapped up into that. And you don't want this to be an outburst. You don't want to act out of frustration or anger.

You really want to act out of a place of concern for your family and for this individual and love. And so Paul in 1 Timothy 5 verse 1 says, do not rebuke an older man, but encourage him as you would a father. Young men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters in all purity. And so there's this humility that you want to have in addressing this. And especially I think with this dynamic, I've seen it over and over again, it's especially difficult to address our parents, even our in-laws.

They're the ones who ought to be given the instruction and so forth. But sometimes in situations like this where there has been a pattern of abuse or lying or behavior that's destructive, praying about it is good, so don't stop doing that. But I agree with you that that loving confrontation, bringing it up, addressing it, is important. So may God give you wisdom. And I would say don't just do it.

I would say wait until you know you're doing it out of that heart of love and deep concern before you do it so that it doesn't just blow up. But you really want to communicate that deep love and concern and interest in your father-in-law's well-being. And so may God bless you and help you, Eric. And let's just take a moment to pray for our brother in this family situation. Our Lord in heaven, we come before you right now.

We lift Eric and his family up to you and pray for his father-in-law. God, would you be at work in his life? Would you convict him of the lies, of the deception? And would you draw him to yourself? And would you use our brother and his family to speak the truth in love? Would you give him again wisdom, Lord, to know when and how to do so?

And God, would you bring healing in these relationships, true restoration? We look to you. We ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. Thanks for that, Adriel.

Good counsel in a very difficult situation. You're listening to CORE Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We do receive questions via email here at the CORE, and you can email us anytime with your question.

Here's our email address. It's questions at corechristianity.com. Here's one from Dimitri, and he says, can you tell me the difference between Pentecostals and Presbyterians?

Dimitri, I like that short and sweet question. There are some really significant differences between Pentecostals and Presbyterians. I think that probably the main one, the biggest difference is Pentecostals know how to dance and Presbyterians don't.

That's maybe one of the most obvious differences. But in terms of theological differences, there are some significant differences. Pentecostals are, I think for many of us, you know, when we think of Pentecostal, we're thinking of when that name comes from Acts chapter 2, the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fell upon the church and they were speaking in tongues and prophesying, and there was this great revival that took place there in Acts chapter 2.

I mean, really, really wonderful stuff. Pentecostal gets its name from that because of the emphasis on the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, like speaking in tongues and words of knowledge, prophecy. So that's going to be a big difference between Pentecostals and Presbyterians.

Presbyterians typically focus on what are known as the ordinary means of grace. So it's not that God can't work in miraculous ways, it's just that ordinarily in the life of the church, what we're committed to is the Word, the ordinances of grace that Jesus gave to us. It's not to diminish God's mighty and miraculous works throughout the world.

It's just to say that, look, this is how God ordinarily works. And the sad thing is, and this is something that I'm convicted by, I believe, too many people today minimize not the miraculous, but the ordinary. We set aside Bible study, we set aside membership in the local church, we set aside growing together with other believers.

That's not exciting, right? Give me the exciting lightning strike Christianity, that sort of a thing. I think we really need to recover a high view of the fact that the Holy Spirit is working through Bible preaching, through getting up and reading your Bible in the morning, through your conversation with your Christian friend, just like we were talking about earlier, where you're applying God's Word to them and encouraging them, or confronting sin in their lives.

This is ordinarily how we grow as Christians, and when we're looking for some sort of mountaintop miraculous experience 24-7, we're expecting God to speak to us from heaven all the time. There's a tendency, I think, to minimize—there can be a tendency to minimize—the ordinary means of God's grace in our lives. And so I just touched on a couple of the differences, and I was joking, obviously, about the dance thing, because I know that there are Presbyterians out there that can dance, and Pentecostals who probably don't know how to.

I'm one of the ones who can't dance. But those are some of the differences. I do believe we can be charitable to one another, and so long as we're affirming the core truths of the Christian faith—the doctrine of the deity of Christ, the Holy Trinity, salvation by grace alone through faith alone—that we're saying, look, we're believers, but there are significant differences. And so it's important to think about those things.

Good word. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life.

You can leave us a voicemail anytime at 833-THE-CORE. I also want to tell you about a great resource that we have available here. We do have both Protestants and Catholics who listen to this program, and sometimes within the same family, we have a Protestant member and a Catholic member, and they can get into some interesting disagreements.

And so we've prepared a resource just for you. Yeah, the resource is called What Still Divides Us? The Differences Between Protestants and Roman Catholics, and it'll just get into the main differences—some of the main differences—related to the doctrine of salvation. How are we saved? Also, what we were just talking about in terms of experiencing God's voice in our life. How does God speak to us?

That's the second chapter. Is it the church government who runs the church? Is it the Pope in Rome or someone else?

Maybe Jesus? So get a hold of this resource. It's yours over at corechristianity.com forward slash radio, and I think it'll really bless you.

Once again, it's called What Still Divides Us? You can find that and many other great resources on our website corechristianity.com. Well, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners.

This is Ray. There is scripture that mentions that those who follow ministers who preach things that are not of the gospel are just as guilty as those who are preaching it. What about those who go to churches where they preach the gospel but they have ceremonial acts and things like that that are not scriptural or that are actually taught against in the Bible?

And I was wondering if that is also along the same lines where if you go to a church that has a lot of things in it that are not scriptural, does that make you guilty just like those who are following ministers who preach things that are against the gospel itself? Thank you very much. God bless. Okay. Appreciate that question.

So I think me having some categories here could be helpful. We do believe that there are true churches and that there are false churches. Now, true churches are characterized by three things we might say. One, the pure preaching of the gospel, the faithful Bible teaching. Two, worship in line with how Jesus said we ought to worship him, right? Those ordinances that Christ instituted for the church to be observed until he comes again, baptism and the Lord's Supper. Three, you think of discipline, care for the church, a concern about sin, growing together in Christ and in his word. Those are the marks of the true church of Jesus Christ so that if a church doesn't have the gospel, if they're preaching you're saved by how you dress or how many good works you have or whatever it is, whatever false gospel they've come up with, that's not a church.

They might have great songs. They might have a church building. You know, the pastor might wear a beautiful priestly garment or whatever. But if the word is not there, then it's not a church because the word of God is what gives birth to the church, we might say, what creates the church. And so you have true and false churches. But among the true churches, I would say that there is no perfect church. So there are some churches that are faithfully teaching the word of God, but not in every respect. There are areas where there still needs to be growth. There are maybe doctrinal issues that don't strike at the vitals of the gospel, so they haven't lost the gospel. But there are other things there that are not so helpful. And so when you see that kind of thing, and of course, every church wants to believe and hopefully is convinced that what they're doing is in line with scripture, and so it's not like churches are saying, we have the gospel mostly right, but we're doing all these other things that we know are just not right.

No, that's not it. But if you do see things that are out of line with scripture, I think it's fair to have those conversations with the leadership of your church. I don't know that you should view it as like, man, they're sinning and I'm sinning too, per se.

I think it's an opportunity for growth. But if you're somewhere where the marks of the true church aren't present, where the gospel isn't being faithfully taught, and where Jesus is not being worshiped and baptism in the Lord's Supper are not being administered the way scripture talks about, well, then I think that's where you have to say, okay, am I supporting a ministry that is taking people's eyes off of Christ and his gospel? And that's where you have to say, okay, well, if the job of the church is the Great Commission, that's what I want to support.

I want to support churches that are centered on the Word growing in Christ and sending people out into the field, the mission field to preach the gospel. And so may God give you wisdom. And I do pray that you are in a true church, a good church, where you're growing in your faith. God bless. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, go to corechristianity.com forward slash radio, or you can call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, let us know how we can be praying for you. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-08 12:36:34 / 2023-11-08 12:46:19 / 10

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