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Can the True Church Be Traced Back to the Apostles?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
January 11, 2024 5:37 pm

Can the True Church Be Traced Back to the Apostles?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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January 11, 2024 5:37 pm

Episode 1400 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

 CoreChristianity.com

  1. Should Christians make New Year's Resolutions?   2. Why were certain books kept out of the King James Bible?   3. Is the Eastern Orthodox church the true descendent of the apostles?   4. Does Matthew 10:35 mean that Jesus isn't the Messiah from Malachi 4?   5. What is expected of believers to keep the Sabbath holy?     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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Can the true church be traced back to the apostles? 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're open to your questions on a wide variety of topics, including theology and Christian doctrine, maybe something happening in your church life, or something you need prayer for, feel free to give us a call. Here's our phone number, 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, including YouTube, where you can watch Adriel right now between 1130 and noon Pacific time, and you can email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Robbie calling in from Tennessee. Robbie, what's your question for Adriel? Adriel, good to be back on the radio. Praise God for y'all.

I love y'all guys. Anyway, what do y'all think about resolutions and goal setting? What do we think about resolutions and goal settings? Bill, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I don't know, I mean, with the new year, if you created any new year's resolutions.

I don't think I have a strong opinion on them one way or another, Robbie. I mean, I would say the new year sort of brings with it this sense of freshness, newness. I think it is a time where a lot of people are asking questions about, you know, things that they want to change in their lives to be more healthy or more spiritual or whatever that might be, and insofar as that works for you, good.

I know that it's oftentimes also one of those things that a lot of people feel really guilty about. It's like, I made these resolutions and they were out the window after a week or two, and so it, I mean, this is an area of Christian liberty. I will say, right, thinking about our own growth and wanting to be healthy and wanting to follow the Lord, it is good for us to, whether it's at the beginning of the year or throughout the year, probably something more to do throughout the year, to ask those kinds of questions. You know, Lord, what does it look like for me to honor you with my life, with my body, with my mind, with my time, and to devote ourselves to that, to grow in that? Remember what the apostle Paul told Timothy, you know, bodily exercise is good.

There's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't profit in the same way that exercise in godliness does, because that exercise in godliness carries with it the promise not only for this life, but also for the life to come, and so train yourselves in godliness, and I think with that, what the apostle Paul was referring to, is just that growth in grace, you know, growing in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and being committed to the word of God, sound doctrine, being committed to prayer. Boy, that's an area where probably each and every one of us can grow consistency and confidence in prayer, and so, Lord, help all of us, and I hope probably for you that if you made any resolutions, that the Lord gives you grace and enables you to carry them out, and so God bless Bill. Any New Year's resolutions for you this year? I have a pet peeve, Adriel. Starting on January 1st, my gym has just become so crowded. It's all the wannabe work-outers. I mean, I've been working out there for years, and it's just like, oh my gosh, I can't even get a machine.

I can't get a free weight. It's like everybody and his sister-in-law is there right now, so. Bill, I thought you only did jumping jacks when you went to the gym. I thought you were the guy who was just sort of in the corner doing the jumping jacks and the stretches, rolling around on a tennis ball. Can you relate? Is it like that at your gym, too? It is, and it doesn't last long, so usually, actually already at my gym, I feel like it's died down, but typically the first few days after the New Year, it's packed, and everybody's got their brand new gym clothes on, and they're ready to rock and roll, and I'm in there as per usual, and I just, it doesn't bug me too much, you know.

If they just would get off the machine when they're on their phone, that's the thing. You just have to look at them, kind of scowl, and maybe flex your muscles. You need to intimidate more, Bill. You're just not intimidating. I'll do the intimidation thing tomorrow, I promise. All right, give it a shot, and we'll see what happens.

All right. Hey, Robbie, thanks so much for your call. We appreciate you listening to Core Christianity. Let's go to Adrian calling in from St. Louis. Adrian, what's your question for Adrian? Well, Pastor Adrian, how are you guys doing today? Doing well. Adrian, how are you, brother?

Doing well, doing well. Got a question. I have a friend, and he was talking to me about these 22 books that's missing out of the Bible. He's saying that they were missing from the King James Version. Once the King James Version was created, they were missing from that. And he also said how they were locked up for 600 years, which totally lost me. And, you know, and, you know, he was just asking me to broaden my mind and just understanding that these 22 books in the Bible are important, and the Americans are not grabbing hope to that. So I just wanted to get some input on that from you.

What do you think? Well, I think that the Bible that we have is pretty good, actually. It's not missing any books that the canon of scripture is inspired. We have the 66 books of the Holy Bible, and these books in particular were the books that were received by the early church as inspired by the Lord on the basis of a number of different factors, on the basis of the fact that they were universally received. And so this wasn't just a handful of books that were being embraced in one corner of the church, but the whole church was saying that this is what God has inspired for us and for our edification. Also, the books of the New Testament closely associated with an apostle, one of the apostles of our Lord Jesus, or someone near to the apostles. And so there's that antiquity, there's that tie to the apostles, there's that universality.

There's also just the coherence in doctrine. You know, if you come across something that was written much later, and it totally contradicts or doesn't jive with what we have in the inspired word, it's clear this is not the same thing. Just the other day, someone had a question about the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, a document that was written later, and claims to be all of these stories about Jesus in his infancy, or as a young boy, and things that he was doing. But the stories contradict what you actually find in the Bible, in the inspired word of God.

And so we have to be discerning. Now there are, you know, the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox who have other books in their Bible. They'll say, well, these are also inspired for religious instruction. Sometimes they'll refer to them as kind of a secondary canon. But there specifically, I would say throughout the history of the Church, those books were not received on the same level as the 66 books that we have in our canon.

And so there's some debate there. But I would say this is not one of those things that you need to open your mind to, as though there was something you were missing. What we need to grow in is our understanding of the word of God as it's been given to us in the 66 books of the canon. We don't need something new, some new revelation or some new book of the Bible.

And sadly, that's what a lot of people are looking for. Give me something else. Give me some other special revelation. Give me another testament of Jesus Christ.

No, that's actually not what we need. What we need is to grow in a deeper understanding of what God has given us in His word. And so I would encourage you, and I would encourage this individual as well, to continue to dig into the Holy Scriptures in the sound doctrine that's revealed there, and in your relationship with the Lord, and the faith that accords with all godliness. God bless, Adrian.

Good to hear you. You know, I'm struck, Adrian, by the number of people these days that are always, they always seem to be looking for something extra biblical. And, you know, I'm even thinking of the Gnostics in the New Testament. You know, Paul saying, basically, they're looking for some kind of special revelation or some kind of special mystery beyond what's already been provided to them by God.

Yeah, and where people are hungry for that, you know, this secret knowledge, the Gnostic knowledge, you know, give me the insight that nobody else has. Man, praise the Lord that He's revealed Himself so clearly. It's not like we're playing Marco Polo with God, and He's going around, you know, and we're blind, and He's, you know, calling to us from these different places. We've got to go find where the move of the Spirit is. He's promised to meet us through His word, which is clear, perspicuous.

That's the word that's sometimes used to talk about the clarity of Scripture and the revelation of the Gospel. In the bread and the wine, around the table of the Lord's Supper, in baptism, it's as if God is saying to us, here, here's where I'm going to meet you. Here's where I promise to meet you. You don't got to go climb up a mountain or dig into some valley to find My hidden presence.

I'm right here for you. And so, rather than chasing these strange moves of the Spirit in some corner of the world or this other hidden book that's, you know, or idea that's been discovered, maybe just saying, oh Lord, give me understanding. Illuminate my mind to receive Your word and to grow in it.

Well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, we would love to hear from you. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, chances are there will be a point in your life, if it hasn't happened already, where you'll be having a conversation with someone who doesn't believe in Christianity, and that person asks you some tough questions about your faith. Well, we want to help you be ready to respond to those questions.

Yeah, get a hold of this resource that we're offering right now. It's called Tough Questions Answered, and we dig into some of the difficult questions or tough questions that get asked about science, about world religion, about the Bible. Is the Bible just a bunch of myths? Is the Bible just a bunch of random stories?

What's the difference between the Old and the New Testaments? Some helpful information in this resource, and so go over to corechristianity.com and get a hold of Tough Questions Answered. Such a great resource. We've been going through it ourselves here at the Core, and we've found many answers that are regularly asked by atheists or agnostics or just people who are skeptical about the claims of Christianity, and it's called Tough Questions Answered. You can find that at corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers.

Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core, and here's one that came in from one of our listeners named David. My question is in regard into the Protestant faith versus the Eastern Orthodox faith, and one question they present to me, which I don't really have an answer for, is they make this claim that they're the one true church that was founded by the apostles and by Jesus, and they can trace their lineage all the way back to the apostles and Jesus, and therefore they're the only one true church, and they say that basically Protestants can't make the same claim, so therefore they are the only one true church, and if you're outside of that church you're not part of Christ's body or the church. Do you know how I can refute that question, give me a better understanding where we are still part of the church even though we aren't part of the ancient Eastern Orthodox Church?

Thank you so much. Excellent question and appreciate it. I mean, you know, they're not the only ones who make that claim. You also have the Roman Catholic Church making a very similar claim. In fact, going as far as Peter, you know, was the first pope, and that you have that promise that's given to him that, you know, the church is going to be built on the rock that is Peter, and so, you know, Roman Catholics will make that same claim, Eastern Orthodox will make that claim. It's the idea of apostolic succession, that there is this ministry that's handed down through the laying on of hands, you know, all the way back from the apostles and on, you know, into the future, into the current ministry that those churches have or at least claim to have. So, one, I think that it's important for us to recognize the importance of apostolicity, that is, the fact that we are tied to the apostles.

Now, the question is how? Is it through this succession of ministry in the laying on of hands, or is it in particular through the message of the gospel that they proclaimed? We would want to say that we're the successors of the apostles insofar as we proclaim the same gospel that they preached. It isn't this magical thing that they had, it was the message that was above all, that message of the gospel.

That really, ultimately, I think, is the rock upon which the church is built, because the church is built, sustained by and even created by the proclamation of the gospel, the word of God. Consider what the apostle Paul said to the Galatian church in Galatians chapter 1 verse 6. He's concerned for this church in Galatia because they're beginning to drift away from the gospel.

They're beginning to listen to these agitators who had come along and had begun to teach other doctrines, in particular saying that if a person wanted to be justified, he needed to adhere to the law of Moses together with all of its ceremonies listed in the Old Testament. He says, I'm astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. Not that there is another one, but that there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. Now listen to what Paul says, but even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one that you received, let him be accursed.

In other words, the focus is not on my ministry as an apostle. Paul says, look, even if I, as an apostle, come to you with a gospel different than the one that was delivered to me by the Lord Jesus Christ that I've preached to you, hey, and not just me, but if an angel from heaven were to descend, an angelic messenger heralding some other gospel other than the one that you've received, let him be anathema, accursed. It's the apostolic message, the apostolic gospel that puts us in succession with the apostles. Now, of course, those churches would also want to lay claim to that message in particular, and this is where a lot of the debate takes place, you know, between the differences between, you know, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, the Reformation. But what I would say is, and that's what I would highlight, you know, as you're having these conversations, it's the message of the apostles that we want to lay hold of and continue to proclaim, because it's not this apostolic ministry, per se, that counts above all else. Whether we, the apostles, or an angel from heaven should preach to you another gospel, it's that gospel, that purity of the gospel. And so that being central, I think that's what we lay claim to, and that's what we're called to guard.

It's that good deposit which is protected by the church and guarded by the church and always under attack by Satan and the world. And so I appreciate, again, your question. It's not that apostolicity isn't important. It's, okay, how does that pan out throughout the history of the church? And the focus, I think, needs to be on the preaching of the apostles. Thanks, David, for your question.

Great explanation. Thanks 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 call us 24 hours a day at 833-THE-CORE and leave us your message. Again, that's 833-843-2673. Let's go to Bill in Southern Illinois.

Bill, what's your question for Adriel? Yeah, I had a guy send me a text basically using two scriptures, one Old Testament, one New Testament, saying Jesus can't be the Messiah. The first one's from Malachi 4 verses 5 and 6, which basically says, see, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. He will, and here's the most important thing, turn the hearts of the parents to the children, the hearts of the children to the parents. And then he goes down to Matthew 1035, and here's what Jesus said, for I have turned a man against his father, a daughter against his mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and so on and so on. And he was saying, this doesn't sound like Jesus fulfilled this prophecy, so Jesus can't be the Messiah. I know my thoughts in answering, but I'd like to hear yours.

Well, that's an interesting argument, and actually one that I've not heard before, but what is interesting is in the very next chapter of Matthew, I mean, Jesus picks up this this discussion in particular with regard to John the Baptist's role, and as they went away, this is Matthew chapter 11 verse 7, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John. What did you go out into the wilderness to see, a reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see, a man dressed in soft clothing?

Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in king's houses. What then did you go out to see, a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, behold, I send my messenger before your face who will prepare your way before you. Truly, I say to you, among those born of women, there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist, yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come, and he who has ears to hear, let him hear. Now, in what sense is he Elijah who was to come? It's not that this is Elijah reincarnated.

In fact, when John the Baptist is asked by the religious leaders who he is, he says that's not who he is, right? That he's not Elijah. What's being talked about here is this idea that he comes in the spirit and power of Elijah, and he dressed like Elijah. You look at the text in 1 Kings, for example, or 2 Kings chapter 1 verse 8. John the Baptist is dressed like Elijah out there in the wilderness, calling people to repentance. 2 Kings chapter 1 verse 8, you compare that with what we read in Matthew chapter 3 verse 4 earlier in Matthew's Gospel. So, I mean, Jesus himself answers this question, at least in terms of his relationship to Elijah. And actually, in Luke's Gospel, in Luke chapter 1 verse 17, it's that very passage that's quoted in or from Malachi chapter 4, Luke chapter 1 verse 17. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, so again, this is not Elijah reincarnated, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just to make ready for the Lord of people prepared. And so, it's not that that wasn't fulfilled or that, you know, looking at this other text in Matthew chapter 10, that there's this crazy contradiction there.

I think there are two different things that are happening. There is this great restoration that is brought about through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the disobedient to the wisdom of the just to make ready for the Lord of people prepared. And yet, at the same time, we also know that when Jesus came, it was a great cause for division. There were many who rejected him.

There were many who were turned against each other. And so, both things happened, and both things really were true. And so to look at, you know, to look at those two passages and say, well, Jesus can't be the Messiah for those reasons. It's not like the New Testament is not aware of those passages. Those are the very texts that are being quoted in the New Testament and in the Gospels to reiterate the fact that Jesus is the Messiah. Bill, thanks for your question, and Lord bless. And I was thinking about the fact that that still happens today when you have a Muslim or even a Jew who turns to the Messiah, turns to Jesus Christ.

Oftentimes, they are disowned by their own family. Yeah, it is. It is. There is still that familial tension, which I think many of us, you know, in turning to Christ, have experienced. And so you do see that just practically. And I don't think that there's any, you know, substantive contradiction. I thought you were going to say, you know, that Muslims are oftentimes trying to highlight those kinds of contradictions in the Bible, because people will. They'll say, well, look at, and they'll point to two different verses kind of taken out of context. And that really is the key with a lot of these quote-unquote Bible contradictions, is are you understanding that passage in its context and what's being communicated there?

Or are you just sort of giving it a surface-level reading and then trying to compare it to another text that you're giving a surface-level reading to and then saying, oh, see, these things don't seem to match up to me. Now, often all we have to do is just a little bit of digging and some contextual background there to realize, hey, we're talking about two different things here. And that's really important. So it's an encouragement for each of us to dig deeper into the Word. Well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez.

We do get emails here at the Core, and here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Mark. He says, What is expected of believers to keep the Sabbath holy? That's a great question.

Well, look, I'll say a couple of things. At the heart of the Sabbath command in the Old Testament was worship and rest. I think it comes from that word to cease from work.

But it wasn't just being idle. It was also engaging in the worship of the true and the living God. And I know that there's a debate about, okay, well, is Sunday the Christian Sabbath, or do we refer to that as the Lord's Day and the Sabbath doesn't really, you know, have the similar or same exact kind of application for us as believers today? But what I will say is, for us as believers, we are called to worship the Lord with the people of God and to rest in Christ. And setting apart a day for that is key, is central, I think, in line with what the Bible teaches. And so in a society that is so overwhelmed with busyness and work and exhaustion, heeding this command, it's a gift given to you by God, the Sabbath for man, for your good. God bless.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-11 21:26:35 / 2024-01-11 21:36:46 / 10

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