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Why Are So Many Churches Divided by Race?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
January 15, 2024 4:30 pm

Why Are So Many Churches Divided by Race?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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January 15, 2024 4:30 pm

Episode 1402 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

 CoreChristianity.com

  1. How can I explain to my friend that we cannot lose our salvation? [1:51]   2. What is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? [6:09]   3. How significant is racial diversity in the church? [10:24]   4. How do I avoid church burnout? [18:06]     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 are so many churches in America still divided by race? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question at 833-THE-CORE. 843-2673. Of course, you can always email us your question as well. Here's our email address.

It's questionsatcorechristianity.com. Well, today is the day we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And Adriel, as we get started, I thought I would share a quote from Dr. King that I really love. He said this, the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. I think that that's totally true. It's interesting, especially in our day today, I feel like there's so much division along party lines and whatnot that it's hard for people to stand up for what is true and good, especially if there's somebody in your own camp that's doing something that's wrong. We almost don't want to address that specifically because we can't ever be wrong. It's certainly the case that in those times of controversy and conflict, that's where we really require courage. We need courage today.

So much we can learn from the writings, the speeches of Dr. King. Well, if you have a question for us, we'd love to hear from you. Our phone line's open for the next 25 minutes or so at 833-THE-CORE.

Let's go to Rene calling in from Arkansas. Rene, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yes, I just wonder what his opinion is on the fact if someone is totally sold out to the Lord, loves the Lord, no problems there, following very closely.

Since, how would you say it? Okay, the person I was talking to said that person can actually walk away from God because God gives us free will and God will not force you to stay there. Well, I don't understand that. I mean, never say never, but personally, I can't believe myself that I would ever get turned from God. But they're very assured that, oh yes, and so where's your hope and what part would that play in me having works to save myself? I could brag at the end on the other side, basically, you know, oh, I did this and I did that and I stayed saved.

So what is his opinion on that? Yeah, you raise a lot of good questions, Rene. Where is our hope, our confidence for eternal life? Is it rooted in what we do in, you know, me keeping myself saved, if you will? Or is it rooted in the work of Jesus Christ, what He has done and the fact that He is going to keep me?

I think that's a really important question. And of course, I think it needs to be rooted in Christ alone. As believers, we can struggle. You know, we don't want to have this false confidence or an overconfidence to think of the disciples of our Lord Jesus when Jesus talked about going to the cross and what did they say? They will never betray you. We're not going to betray you. And yet each one of them turned away in that hour of need, out of fear.

And so while I think that the true children of God can struggle with sin and even have periods where, man, that was a pretty dark season of my life, ultimately, I believe that God keeps them and causes them to persevere, that He preserves His children. Jesus said in John chapter 10, my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. In other words, they stick with me. They know my voice. They follow me.

I give them eternal life and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand. And I do think we need to be careful because you mentioned, you know, you painted the picture of an individual who seems really on fire for the Lord and devoted and boy, that person couldn't fall away. But I think we do know people who have exhibited a real passion for the things of God. You know, maybe they served in church. Maybe they were even pastors at one time and then totally turn away, some even abandoning the faith. And so I think that that causes a lot of people to wonder, well, did they lose their salvation? Were they truly saved to begin with?

How do we make sense of this? My take is that, again, those who are truly saved, born again, that they follow the Lord, that they don't perish, that they persevere and are preserved by the grace of God and that those who abandon the faith, as John says in 1 John chapter 2, demonstrate that they were not of us, that they, even though they might have had, you know, religious experiences and so on and so forth. I mean, you think of the religious leaders, for example, in the Gospels. Boy, they knew the Bible pretty well and they had all sorts of rituals, but they didn't have Christ and they didn't trust in Christ. And so it's not enough to just be religious. It's truly laying hold of Jesus by faith. And when we do, I think we have the promise of it.

We do have the promise of eternal life and we have the promise also that He's going to keep us and cause us to persevere. Thank you for your question. Thanks so much. We appreciate your call, René. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can email us anytime at questions at corechristianity.com. And we have a voicemail system. You can call us 24 hours a day and leave your question on our voicemail at 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Arden, who's calling in from Wisconsin. Arden, what's your question for Adriel? Yes.

Good afternoon. First of all, my question is, would defining, blaspheming the Holy Spirit, would that be, this is what I was told 30 years ago, that blaspheming the Holy Spirit is to call the Holy Spirit a liar. And the gentleman who brought me to the Lord was an enforcer for a house of prostitution who got sentenced to a maximum security prison.

In prison, the Lord came into his cell and the works that my brother in Christ did over the next 25 years was mind boggling. So he said that Moses, David, Jeremiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, none of those people wrote the Bible. The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible.

He just used those people to do it. And in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit said that Christ Yeshua, the one and only true son of the one and only true God, died on the cross for all our sins. And to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to call the Holy Spirit, Ruach HaKodesh, a liar, saying, Oh no, Jesus wasn't who he said he was and he didn't die for my sins. That is blaspheming the Holy Spirit and that is, Jesus said, I cannot die for that sin.

Wow. Thank you for that question. Certainly the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit described in the Gospels has to do with sinning against the Holy Spirit. In particular there, it's attributing the works of Jesus Christ, the healings that he was doing by the power of the Holy Spirit to the evil one, Satan.

The Pharisees were saying he's doing these things by Beelzebul, the lord of the demons. And so Jesus gives them the stern warning there. He rebukes them because they're so lost, their hearts are so hard, that they can't see the work of God right there in front of them. And so there's this spiritual blindness. A lot of times people think, well, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is this one sin that you commit. But there, in that context, it's this spiritual blindness, this hardening of the heart that has happened over a long period of time as these religious leaders saw the works of Christ firsthand. The power of the Gospel, the work of the Holy Spirit, and yet continually hardened their heart against it, closing their eyes, their heart, their ears to the Gospel of grace. And if a person does that and never turns to Christ and has faith, well, they're lost.

There is no hope. They've sinned against the Lord. They've sinned against the Holy Spirit.

Now, we don't know if an individual has crossed that line. We know there are a lot of people who hardened their hearts against God who are brought to faith. You think of Saul of Tarsus persecuting the church of God, dragging men, women, and children to prison. And yet the Spirit of God worked in his life so mightily. Christ came to him in the book of Acts, it's described, and knocked him off of his horse and opened his eyes to see the truth. And so that's what we pray happens for all of the people around us who seem to be hardening their hearts, that the Lord would open their eyes and draw them to himself. And so I appreciate, again, your question, and we do get a lot of questions about the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Hopefully that helps to clarify. In terms of just finding that in the scriptures, go to Matthew chapter 12. That's where you have Jesus' discussion with the Pharisees there about the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. God bless. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Today we want to tell you about a great resource. We have a free resource that will answer a lot of the questions that you or someone you know may have about the Christian faith. Yeah, the resource is called Tough Questions Answered by Doug Powell, and it's a wonderful short booklet that answers some really difficult but common questions that people have about God and the Bible. It's one of the things we try to do every day on this broadcast.

There's just another way of doing that. The beginning of the book talks about science. Chapter 1, science. Does science make religion unnecessary? Why should I believe something I can't see? Doesn't science disprove the Bible's account of creation and so on and so forth?

It's not just science but world religions, the Bible, morality. It really covers a lot in a short space. And so hope that you get a hold of this resource. Again, as Bill said, it's free, and it's called Tough Questions Answered. Love to get this in your hands. We think it'll help you in some conversations that you might have with friends or family who are not believers, and they ask some of those tough questions to you, and you can say, oh, I've got the answer to that.

So again, it's called Tough Questions Answered. You can find that for free by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Well, let's go to an email that came in from one of our listeners. Michael in Cleveland, Ohio, asks this, and this is really appropriate for MLK Day. He says, I attend a church that has a congregation of mostly white people. One of our church's efforts is to have a multi-ethnic congregation. Why does it seem my church is fixated on that? Michael, this is a question that a lot of people have, and coming to it from different perspectives, there are some people who are saying, well, the church is not and has not fixated on this issue enough. Why is it that Sunday mornings are still so segregated, if you will? And then there are others who just say, man, all this talk about race and racial reconciliation, why are we so fixated on this?

Is that even really a problem anymore? And so, look, I don't know your church specifically. I don't know where your church is located. I think that a lack of diversity in a church can be a sign of a real spiritual problem. Now, specifically, I think our churches ought to reflect the neighborhoods where they are as much as possible. We can't expect a church that's in an area that's 95% white to be 50% African American.

That wouldn't make any sense. And so I think sometimes churches can talk about this and say, well, we need to do this, and we need to have these initiatives. And they're sort of pursuing diversity for the sake of diversity as an end in and of itself. And I think that can be an issue, but we also need to realize that the gospel of Jesus Christ creates communities, the church, where ordinarily the people who are there gathered together may not have very much in common because we're not drawn together as blacks or whites or young or old.

We're drawn together as sinners in need of the gospel. And when the gospel is platformed the way it should be, when Christ is magnified the way scripture calls us to magnify him, we should have diverse churches. There's different kinds of diversity, right?

I mean, it's not just ethnic diversity. There are other kinds of diversity, and I think the church should have all of them as much as is possible, reflecting the community where you are. Jesus said in the gospel of John, when I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself. And there in that context, I think it's John chapter 12, when Jesus said that he was talking about being lifted up on the cross. And the all men there in the context of the gospel of John refers to the Gentile world, not just Jews, not just the people that were focused on at that time in particular, right?

Like growing the kingdom and so forth. Jesus is saying, look, I'm busting the doors open and I'm drawing the nations to myself through my sacrificial death and resurrection from the dead. The gospel is for the nations. This is one of the great blessings and benefits of the new covenant. And so if you have a church in an area that is very diverse, but that church doesn't reflect any of the diversity in their area, then I think it's fair to ask questions like, okay, what is it that's attracting people to our church? Is it the gospel? Because if the gospel is the main thing, and that gospel is for everyone, and it draws in sinners of all different shapes, sizes, and colors, right?

Like if that's the case, well, why isn't that happening? Is it that we're platforming Jesus like we should be? Or are we platforming something else, our own affinities? You know, we're a church that's mostly about just us and the way we think and what we like.

So I think it's fair to ask these questions. And again, to seek to reflect where you are as a church as much as is possible and to pray for that. Ultimately, it's the Spirit of God that builds a church through the proclamation of the gospel.

So we should long to see this. We should long to see people coming together who ordinarily wouldn't necessarily be together, maybe culturally are very different. But what draws them is the grace of the gospel. And that is a beautiful thing. And not only is it a beautiful thing, it's a testimony to the world. To see the power of the gospel at work in our communities and in our churches in a world that's so divided over so many different things. To see the gospel bring together people is a testament to its power. Let me just say one more thing because I love this example.

You think about Jesus's early disciples that he calls to himself. You have tax collectors and zealots. The zealots hated the Roman government. They're known for acts of violence against the Roman government.

Tax collectors were viewed as traitors working for the Roman government. Here are two types of people that ordinarily would never be in the same room. If you had a friend who was a tax collector and a friend who was a zealot, you would invite them both to your birthday party because it would probably ruin the party.

The fight would break out. And yet Jesus says to these people, follow me. And around the table of Jesus Christ, they find unity and community and grace and forgiveness. Think of how people must have thought of Jesus with his early followers. These are people that ordinarily would never be together and yet somehow there's something about Jesus that brings them together. And boy, wouldn't it be wonderful if people, the world could say that about our churches as well.

It could happen. It does happen through the grace of the Holy Spirit and the power of the gospel. Amen.

So well said. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Just a reminder that we are a listener supported ministry. We're not receiving funds from a church or a denomination.

We don't play commercials here. We're not supported by a particular radio station. We're an independent ministry and we count on people just like you to help us pursue our mission of sharing the gospel and equipping believers and answering the questions of non-believers. And if you believe in what we're doing, if you'd like to make a gift, you can easily do that by going to CoreChristianity.com, clicking on the donate link. And you can also learn more about becoming an ongoing supporter by joining what we call our inner core. Well, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners.

This is from Craig. I am a Christian and my wife is Christian and we've been involved in churches for the last 20, 30 years and we kind of ended up getting burned out on it where we ended up having to step down. And I'm wanting to get back in the church and get plugged in again. And I just really want to get back and my wife is totally against it. So what am I supposed to do to either change her mind? Do I go by myself?

If you could just shed some light on this, I'd really appreciate it. Thank you. Well Craig, man, I am just so sorry to hear about the fact that you guys got burned out and then felt like, man, we just can't even be in church right now. And so for a period of a few years, you guys have been away and now you're beginning to feel that call back to the body of Christ, which I think is good. I think that's the Spirit of God working in you, but I understand that there is a lot of pain and a lot of hurt and there's a lot of burnout in the church and churches today.

And so I hope, and I want to pray for this for you and for your wife, that there is healing and that you both come to the place where you're ready to get plugged back in. The church is not something that's optional for us as Christians. Christ himself is the one who calls us to worship him. He's the one who said, I'm going to build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her. The church isn't man's idea, it was God's idea. It's the bride of Jesus Christ, and yet many people can have really difficult experiences in churches that make them feel like I just can't anymore. And so I understand that and pray that the Lord would bring healing and that would get you guys both in a place to where you're back and ready to receive.

Let me say something. Many people think about church in this way, and they've been taught this, that church isn't so much about what you get, what you receive. It's about what you can give. What ministry are you doing? How are you serving? Are you plugged into this Bible study, into this community group, and volunteering for the nursery here?

And I get it. I'm a pastor of a church. We need volunteers. We want people to be plugged in. And so there can be this sense of like, man, I gotta do and do and do. It's a sort of Martha mentality in the Gospels where you're serving and you're doing and you're doing and you grow frustrated and tired. And then you get to a point where you're just empty and wondering, you know, where am I?

What's going on right now? We miss the fact that church is actually not first and foremost about what we do and what we can give. First and foremost, we gather together to receive, to receive the nourishment, the grace, the mercy, the forgiveness, the love that we desperately need and that God offers to us every day but in a special way every Lord's Day when we gather together with his people where the table is set.

We partake together of communion, the body and blood of Jesus by faith where we hear the preaching of the word and hear those promises of the Gospel that we need to cling to so desperately. And so I think there needs to be a shift in our minds. It's not first and foremost about what I do. If that's all it is, then in time I'm going to grow tired and burnt out. But if it's first and foremost, look, we go eager to receive, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, knowing that we need the help of God's Spirit. It sounds to me like you're realizing that right now, Craig. Like it's been a long time and you're longing for that.

Go to receive that and encourage your wife to come and receive that with you. Not to feel the obligation to make sure that you sign up for that or the other ministry right away. No, it sounds to me like you need a season of sitting at the feet of Jesus.

And actually that's what we all need. And it's not just a season, it's what we're called to at all times. Sitting at Jesus' feet and receiving from him, that's hard for us. Again, I gave the example of Martha in the Gospels. Remember she got frustrated with her sister Mary.

Why? What was Mary doing? She was sitting at the feet of Jesus, receiving his teaching, his word, resting there before him while Martha was serving and busying herself with the preparations for the meal and all of that. And she's thinking, doesn't Jesus see that I'm doing all of these things?

And she's growing more and more frustrated and resentful toward her sister. And what does Jesus say to Martha? He says, Martha, Martha, come sit at my feet. Your sister Mary has made the right choice.

Join her. Come sit at my feet. And Craig, Jesus invites you and your wife to come and sit at his feet, to receive his grace, to receive his word, to be encouraged.

And if you're listening right now, maybe you're feeling burnt out, tired, exhausted. Jesus invites you to come and sit at his feet, to receive his grace, to be nourished by his Gospel. That's what we need more than anything else. The words of Christ penetrating into our hearts, embracing that grace. God bless. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-15 21:26:02 / 2024-01-15 21:35:29 / 9

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