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Why Is Communion Withheld from Certain People?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
January 8, 2024 4:30 pm

Why Is Communion Withheld from Certain People?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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January 8, 2024 4:30 pm

Episode 1397 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

 CoreChristianity.com

  1. Should I change churches if the one I attend doesn't offer transportation?   2. Does God love everyone?   3. Does God call everyone to salvation?   4. Are churches required to have elders?   5. Why are certain people held from the Lord's Supper?       Today’s Offer: TOUGH QUESTIONS ANSWERED   Want to partner with us in our work here at Core Christianity? Consider becoming a member of the Inner Core.   View our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone.

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Why is communion withheld from some people? 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. CORE, that's 1-833-843-2673. As we said, questions about the Bible, about your Christian walk, maybe questions about doctrine, theology, something going on at your church, or even prayer requests that you have, feel free to give us a call, 833-THE-CORE. And first up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners.

This is Stephanie. Hello, Pastor Adriel. My question is, when should I leave a church? If there's a lack of transportation to the church, should I join another church and become a member there?

Hey, Stephanie, it sounds like you're having a difficult time getting to church, and so you're wondering, do I find a church where I'm going to be able to get a ride to church? We always encourage people, you know, when it comes to picking a church, you want to pick a true church, a church where the Word of God is faithfully taught, the Gospel is proclaimed, where the ordinances that Jesus gave to the church are being carried out in the way that He said and the manner that He taught, where there's discipline and care for the members. And actually, that third mark of the church, as we sometimes call them, the marks of the church, that has to do with this very question, you know, really caring for members. When we say discipline, we don't just mean church discipline, you know, when somebody's in sin and you go through the process of Matthew chapter 18, but there's that mutual care and concern. Really, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ within the body of Christ, we're always engaging in church discipline through encouraging one another day by day, as it is called today, like the author of the Hebrews says, and so we need that.

You need that. And if you're not getting rides to church for whatever reason, I mean, I think you need to make that known, but if the church knows that and they're still not reaching out to you, not giving you a ride to church, then yeah, I mean, you want to find a place where you're going to be encouraged, where you're going to be able to worship together with the saints to receive the means of grace. And so my hope would be that you could find a church that does faithfully preach the word of God, is serving those ordinances to the body of Christ that we desperately need to receive by faith, and where there is that mutual care. Yeah, I think of what Paul said in Romans chapter 15 verse 1. This goes for all of us, and for churches specifically. We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not just to please ourselves. And it sounds to me, Stephanie, like in this situation, you've not failed in any way. There is a weakness.

Maybe you just can't drive. I'm not sure what it is. But it's the job of the church, the obligation of the body of Christ to bear with that and to come alongside of you. And so let's take a moment right now to pray for our sister Stephanie and just ask that the Lord would direct her steps and that she would indeed get that care and that fellowship that she longs for.

Our Father in Heaven, we come before you right now. Thank you for our sister. Oh Lord, would you hear her prayers, her longing, her desire to be with your people? And Lord, in your providence, she's in a situation right now where she's not able to drive to church on her own, where she needs help. And so, Lord Jesus, one, would you comfort her?

Would you be with her in this situation? And would you direct her steps, Lord, to find a solid church, a faithful church where she's going to be encouraged and invested in and nourished, Lord God, with the truth of your word? Would you bless our sister?

Would you be with her? Would you cause the church that she's a part of, Lord, to see what they need to do in investing in her and pursuing her? And if for whatever reason that doesn't happen, Lord, would you open the doors where there's a solid church where she can continue to grow in her faith?

So please be with our sister and bless her, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. You know, it strikes me, Adriel, this is really a great chance to challenge the church to those listening today. We're part of the body of Christ. We have thousands, tens of thousands of churches all across the country, and in every community there are disabled people, there are blind people, there are elderly shut-ins, people that don't have a way to get to church, and are we going to step up to the plate and provide that?

Yeah. That's why that verse came to mind. This isn't just something that, maybe you should do this. We have an obligation, as the body of Christ, as Paul says there in Romans 15, verse 1, an obligation to bear with our brothers and sisters who are in need. And so God help us.

God help—we struggle with this—God help each and every one of us to consider not just our own needs, but the needs of the people around us. And everywhere in the New Testament you see that reiterated, Philippians chapter 2. I mean, this is how Jesus was, and this is how we're called to be as well.

Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open.

We're waiting to take your call on the Bible or the Christian life. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 833-843-2673. Love to hear from you. Let's go to Carol in Missouri. Carol, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, Pastor. Thank you both for taking my call. Does God love everyone, and does He place a call to everyone?

And if you could give me Bible references, I'd love it. Thank you. And bless your ministry.

It's awesome. Hey, Carol, thank you. Man, such a great question. Does God love everyone? And I'll just give a very simple answer to that question.

The answer is yes. I mean, I think you look at a text like John chapter 3, verse 16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. And of course, Jesus told His disciples right before His ascension, go into all the world and preach the gospel, baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

He gave them that great commission. So the gospel is to be proclaimed to all the world. And that is God giving that general call out to all people, turn to me, come to me, and be saved. And we refer to that as the free offer of the gospel.

It's this promiscuous call that goes out that's true, it's sincere, it's real. And so we have to affirm that according to what the Bible—it's not that God loves the people who love Him the best and then people that don't love Him, you think of even what Paul said in Romans chapter 5, that God demonstrated His love for us and that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. When we were His enemies, when we were fighting against Him, shaking our fists against the Lord, it's there that God exhibited through the cross of Jesus Christ His great love for sinful humanity. Now, does that mean that—does that exhaust, let's say, the question of God's love? No, it doesn't, because the Bible also speaks of a particular love that God has for His covenant people. You think of it like this, in a relationship between a husband and a wife, there's a special love, a particular love there. The husband doesn't love his wife in the exact same way that maybe he loves all other people.

It'd be strange, it'd be wrong for that to be the case. And in the same way, we can talk about this general love that the Bible speaks of, God's love for the world, calling the world to Himself, but we can also speak of that particular love that belongs to the covenant people. As Scripture, again, indicates all over the place. Think of Paul's writing to the Ephesians, for example, and he uses that marriage analogy to discuss the relationship that exists between Christ and the church, and the particular love that husbands should have for their wives, nourishing and cherishing them.

And so you really see both of those in Scripture, and I think it would be wrong to minimize either of those, to say, well, God doesn't really love people, or to say that God doesn't have a special love for His covenant people. Thank you, Carol, for that question, and thank you also for your encouragement. Just a follow-up, Carol asked a second part, she said, does he put a call on everyone's heart as opposed to a special few? I'm curious how you would respond to that.

Thanks, Bill, for not letting me escape that second part. So we do refer to sometimes, you know, this is getting a little more technical, theological, but we do talk about the general call, right, that does go out promiscuously. But sometimes we also talk about that particular call that goes to, you know, we sometimes refer to the elect or to those who are drawn by the Lord.

Jesus said very clearly, no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. This is John chapter 6. And in other places, like Romans chapter 8, for example, you do seem to have this particular call, this special call associated with redemption, where we read, Romans chapter 8, for example, this is sometimes called the golden chain of redemption, by the way. It says, for, this is verse 28, and we know that for those who love God, all things work together for the good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

There's something unique there. For those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed into the image of his Son in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers, and those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. So here, again, sometimes we have the same words used in different ways. A word in the New Testament can have what we call a semantic range, and the context helps us determine the way in which the word is being used. And here it's very clear that that word called is being used in a particular way to refer to this order of salvation as God is drawing people to himself from the very beginning to their glorification. And so there, too, I think you were looking at the text of Scripture, but we would want to say and affirm that the general call and offer of the Gospel goes out to all people, and that's real, that's true. God calling all people to repent, and it's for that reason that we go into all the world and preach the Gospel with confidence, knowing that God is drawing his people to himself. So well said. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Let's go to Gage in Iowa. Gage, what's your question for Adriel?

Hi, Adriel. I've got a question. The current church that I'm attending, they have a setup of a church leadership team instead of an elders board, and I'm just wondering what exactly the New Testament has to say about that. Just to follow up with you, Gage, is the issue that they've just not had time to ordain elders, or is that the setup? There's just no even mechanism? No, that is the setup of certain ministry teams, of discipleship, of outreach, of prayer, of missions, of children's ministry, but our pastor would be the only quote-unquote elder, I guess.

Okay. So there's nothing wrong with having ministry teams and groups helping to spearhead the missions committee or a finance committee or whatever. Our church does that. But in the New Testament, it's very clear that the church, the local churches, were governed by a plurality of elders, male elders who were called and qualified for the work of shepherding and overseeing the Church of God, and so that's the biblical model. And I think that's the model that all churches should strive to have. It was serious for the early church.

In fact, writing to Titus, the apostle Paul said in Titus chapter 1 verse 5, This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order and appoint elders in every town as I directed you. If anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife and his children are believers or faithful and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer as God's steward must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught so that he may be able to give instruction and sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. Now, how does that ordinarily work?

How does that typically work? Well, there's a sense of internal call that individuals in the church, that men in the church will have. It's what Paul talked about with Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 3. If anyone desires the office of an overseer, he desires a good thing.

This is a good desire, a noble desire. And then the church affirms that call by saying, yes, this person is indeed qualified on the basis of the things that are outlined in places like 1 Timothy 3 and Titus chapter 1. But I would say, insofar as we want our churches to strive to be biblical and to follow the example of Scripture, and here certainly, Paul said, look, I left you in Crete so that you would do this very thing, so that you would appoint elders in every town as I directed you. I mean, this is apostolic instruction. This is something that we should strive after as well.

And so I think it's fair to have conversations. I have no idea why the church is structured, your church is structured the way that it is, but I think it's fair to raise the question. If in the New Testament we see these clear exhortations to ordain elders and the churches were governed by a plurality of elders to care for the flock and were called as Christians in the local church to submit to our elders, how can we do any of that if we don't have elders and if we don't have a mechanism or a structure that allows us to have elders?

And so I think that that's a serious thing. And at the end of the day, it's about the care of the flock of God, truly, wanting to have these structures. Sometimes people think the structure in the church is so, you know, we've just got to be led by the Spirit, but the purpose, the reason you had this in the New Testament was for the care of the body of Christ that we want to take seriously. And so I think looking at Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 and having that conversation would be a good idea. Thanks, Gage.

Good counsel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Just a programming note, we're going to be recording a second episode of Core Christianity after our live program ends here in just a few minutes. So if you weren't able to get through with your question, you can still call us for the next 35 minutes or so at 833-THE-CORE. That's 833-843-2673.

You can also feel free to leave a voicemail at that number anytime. Now, here at Core Christianity, we do receive calls from people on a regular basis who say, I'm kind of stuck in answering a question that a person I know, an atheist or agnostic, came to me and said, Well, I don't believe in your Christian faith because of X, and I didn't really know how to respond to it. And so we've created a resource that we think will equip you to have those conversations. Yeah, the resource is called Tough Questions Answered, and it's full of a lot of great answers to tough questions that people bring against the Christian faith. Skeptics, answers related to the relationship between science and the Bible. What about world religions like Buddhism, Islam? What about the New Age movement? Also, just Scripture.

Can the Bible be trusted? Get ahold of this resource over at corechristianity.com. Again, it's called Tough Questions Answered. We think you'll find this really helpful, especially if you're having an ongoing conversation with someone maybe in your life who does not believe in the Christian faith and is constantly peppering you with questions. Now you have a way to answer those questions.

So again, it's called Tough Questions Answered. You can find it at corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Well, I mentioned we do receive voicemails here at the Core, and Adriel, last week, you answered a question about the Lord's Supper on this program. And since then, we've received several different calls from listeners, some whom support what you said, some who disagree with your position.

So I thought I'd play you a voicemail we received from a listener named Cheryl and give you an opportunity to clarify your stance on that issue. I'm calling because you said we shouldn't be able to do communion unless we're part of a church. Well, the Bible tells us that a church is not a building.

It is the people. So what he's saying is false, as far as I'm concerned. If you are a born-again believer, you should be able to take the communion. Not that it's necessary to be saved, by the way, nor is baptism, because the minute we believe, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit. It really upsets me when people get the wrong doctrine, because it's a free gift from God, and we become the body of Christ.

Not a building, the body. That's all. Thank you. Cheryl, I love your zeal, and God bless you for that zeal, and God bless you for that feeling that you have.

Let me just say I share that feeling. It really upsets me, too, when you hear things or you see things that are taking place in the church that run contrary to what the Word of God teaches. And while I agree with some of the things you said—you talked about the fact that salvation is a free gift, that the moment we believe we're sealed with the Holy Spirit—let me just say amen to both of those things. I mean, this is what Paul very clearly says in the book of Ephesians chapter 1. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit when we heard the Gospel and believed it.

And so that's wonderful. But let me provide a gentle pushback and say one of the big issues that we're seeing in the church today is a minimizing of the things that Jesus commanded, the things that he called us to. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are these signs and seals of his Gospel grace, and when we approach the Lord's Table in particular, we do so with faith, hope, love, reverence, and awe. I mean, Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 said, look, when you come to the Lord's Table, make sure you're examining yourself.

Don't just come sort of willing. This isn't just a common meal that we're participating in. This is communion with the very body and blood of Jesus Christ. That's what Paul said in the previous chapter, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10. This bread that we break, this cup that we partake of, this is a koinonia, communion with the body and blood of Jesus Christ. And what grieves me, Cheryl, is there are so many churches that don't take that seriously, that just view baptism and the Lord's Supper as these sort of empty signs.

And over time, what ends up happening is they get sort of pushed to the side. What really matters is your personal feelings in relationship with God. Same thing with, you know, you mentioned the church is not a building, it's a people.

And I've said this before, you know, you're right, but it's also a place. When we gather together as the people of God, the word church in the New Testament, ekklesia, refers to an assembly, a gathering. And so we do come together to break bread, to hear the preaching of the Word of God.

And another thing that I fear is that, you know, people who take this view or, you know, it's a sort of mantra that you're hearing again and again in Christian circles. You know, you don't go to church, you are the church. Well, when people hear that enough, eventually they just stop going to church because they don't think it's valuable anymore, or it's not the main thing. And that's not to say that, you know, just going to church on Sunday and living however you want is the main thing.

No, it's not. But it's a part of what God calls us to. It's a part of obeying the Word of God and following after Jesus. And that, Cheryl, I think is what's being minimized today. And that's one of the reasons why you have so much biblical illiteracy, is people aren't sitting under the preaching, the faithful preaching of the Word of God. And so I hope that you can hear me out at least, and again, you know, I sympathize with that zeal and that concern for sound doctrine. But we need to make sure that we're not minimizing or pushing aside the very gifts that God has given to us in His Son, Jesus. These promises of the Gospel in baptism and the Lord's Supper, but that we're receiving them with grateful hearts, together with all the believers around the table of the Lord, and, you know, having heard the faithful preaching of the Word of God. And I hope that you have that. I hope, Cheryl, that you have a church where you're being encouraged and nourished and gathering together with the people. You're right, the building, right?

That's not the main thing. It's the gathering together, coming together around God's Word and those ordinances that Jesus gave to us. And I hope that you do do that, and I hope that for all of our listeners. So well said. This is Quora Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Tim in Arkansas.

Tim, we've just got about a minute left. What's your question for Adriel? Adriel, the heart is naturally evil above all things.

Who can know it? Is that the condition of the heart after conversion, or just before conversion? Let me be very quick, because we only have a minute, but I'm going to give you two passages. So, one, the one that you quoted, Jeremiah 17, 9, the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick.

Who can understand it? Beginning of the chapter, you know, we read, the sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, with a point of diamond. It is engraved on the tablet of their heart and on the horns of their altars. Now, in Jeremiah, you also have the promise of the new covenant, and if you flip ahead to Jeremiah chapter 31, verse 31, this is what it says. Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. After those days, declares the Lord, I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The Christian, right, we always have indwelling sin, but the one who is born again has been given a new heart, and the law of God has been written on your heart. There's a great contrast there between Jeremiah 17 and Jeremiah 31. Check it out. God bless. 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 / 2024-01-08 19:00:58 / 2024-01-08 19:11:16 / 10

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