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What We Miss Trying to "Hear from God"

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
February 5, 2024 4:30 pm

What We Miss Trying to "Hear from God"

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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February 5, 2024 4:30 pm

Episode 1417 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

 CoreChristianity.com

  1. Is there a difference between Sunday service and having weekly fellowship?   2. Is there biblical evidence for a church being congregationally ruled?   3. How do I hear God's voice in my life?   4. Does intentional sin keep a believer from going to heaven?   5. Does God speak through prophets today like in the Old Testament?     Today’s Offer: 7 TRUTHS ABOUT MARITAL SEX   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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How do I hear God's voice in my life? 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. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. Our phone lines are open and you can call us for the next 25 minutes or so. Here's our phone number.

Take a note of that. 833-THECORE or 833-843-2673. Now you can also post your question on one of our social media sites. We're on YouTube and you can watch Adriel right now live in the studio and send him your question through our YouTube channel. And you can always feel free to email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to David calling from New Mexico. David, what's your question for Adriel?

Hi, Adriel. My question to me is related to the church that I go to and the new series that they just started called In The Room. It's a mega church and what's kind of interesting about the new series they're doing is it's related to being in the room with other Christians while church service is going on. And I thought it would be very good because of course it's promoting going to church. However, what I noticed in the series that they started to do is they're basically promoting that whether you come to church or not, it's important to be, I guess, watching church with other people.

So if you're just watching it online, that's okay, just as long as you're with other people. And I was just wondering, can you speak to that idea of church as opposed to like, say, a Bible study group? I would think that there are specific things that are different, of course, about going to church that you don't get in just a room where you're watching church. And so I was wondering if you could speak on that.

Yeah, I'd be happy to. And of course this is something that, I mean, since 2020 I think there were a ton of discussions right about, well, is it legitimate just to watch church online to do the livestream thing? And for many congregations in many parts of the United States, you know, that was like the only option. And so, you know, what do you lose when you're not there with the gathered assembly under the ministry of the word and receiving the ordinances of the sacraments of grace? The first thing I would say is even just the word church, or in the Old Testament that word, it's where we get the word synagogue from, implies this idea of gathering together, of assembling with other people. And not just with anybody, but assembling under a particular structure, under the ministry of the word, to receive the gifts that God has promised to his people in and through that ministry. So the preaching of God's word, the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper, communing together as the people of God, this is something that we do in person together. Now, I totally understand that there are some people who are bedridden or, for whatever reason, are incapable of getting up and getting out of their homes and into the church, and that, you know, livestreaming a service can be edifying and encouraging.

And I'm grateful for that. But for the rest of us, we need to be gathering together under the ministry of the word with other believers, and what we lose is that genuine community and accountability. It's not just this idea that worship or church is this individual experience. I'm going to connect with Jesus on my own. No, we're gathering as a part of the one body, and each of us are members in that body, gifted in different ways, for the common good, and we need to be together, rubbing shoulders, using our gifts for the edification of that body for it to be healthy and to grow in love.

This is what the apostle Paul says in places like 1 Corinthians chapter 12, as well as in Ephesians chapter 4. And so I'm discouraged by the fact that there are many churches out there that are just kind of saying, oh, you know, whether you're here in person or you're watching online, so long as you're, you know, getting the sermon and probably giving to, everything is fine. No, you need to gather with the people of God, if you're able. You need to gather with the people of God to be under the ministry of the word, to receive the sacraments of grace, the Lord's Supper there with the people of God, to use the gifts that God has given you to edify and encourage the people who were there to be held accountable. And so it's a real problem, and probably for a mega church where people already kind of feel disconnected, you know, I can show up or not show up and no one really notices, it might seem like, well, what's the big deal? But that raises other questions about what the church is supposed to be and what kind of community it's supposed to provide for us as the people of God. And so I hope that churches today will really recover a high view of gathering together with the people of God under the ministry of the word and of the importance of what takes place when we come together as a church. And so, David, I appreciate the question. I just, you know, take issue with that idea that it sounds like is being preached there.

Well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. Such an important part of our Christian life is to gather with the body of Christ on a regular basis, as we hear very clearly in the New Testament.

So thank you for that. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, something going on in your church life that you're confused about or concerned about, or maybe you have some doubts about the Christian faith. Hey, we're open to your calls as well. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Jim calling in from Tennessee. Jim, what's your question for Adriel?

Yes, sir. I just want to know if there's any biblical evidence for congregationally ruled churches, like pastor-led congregationally ruled or elder-led congregationally ruled. Is there any strong biblical evidence for that? Well, you're asking me to defend a view that isn't my own, but I'm happy to say, look, when it comes to church government, how the church should be structured and ruled, one, this isn't one of those issues where somebody's a Congregationalist or a Presbyterian or believes in Episcopal church government. That strikes at the vitals of Christianity, but it is very important, and oftentimes what congregational brothers will do is they'll point to a number of passages where it seems like the whole church is involved in making an important decision, say, with regard to church discipline.

For example, in Matthew 18 or in 1 Corinthians 5, where Paul is talking to the Corinthian church and he's encouraging them to cast out that brother who had been sinning. Here, specifically, it's important to think about how we define that word church. Sometimes, you know, in the New Testament, the word church is used to refer to the entire body of believers, the universal church. Sometimes it's used to refer to the church as represented by officers. You think of the Jerusalem Council in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, or excuse me, in Acts chapter 15, where it talks about the whole church coming together to decide on important matters. There, specifically, the church is referring to the officers, the leaders in the church, who were caring for particular congregations.

Sometimes it is referring to every single member, so we have to think about the context there. It seems to me, in particular, that elders are charged with preaching, teaching, but also governing, ministering to the flock, caring for the flock. That's why I embrace what's known as presbyterianism. That word comes from the Greek word presbuteros.

It just means elder led. It's not a very exciting name for a church, you know, the presbyterian church per se, but it highlights the fact that the churches are ruled by or governed by a plurality of elders. Like Paul talks about in places like 1 Timothy 3 and Titus chapter 1, you also see this throughout the book of Acts. So what I'll say to you, Jim, is yeah, there are passages that people will go to, and this is one of the things that's debated or discussed among Christians, and I encourage you to dig into the scriptures, to search the scriptures as you think about this issue for yourself. Thanks for giving us a call. Great response. Thank you for that, Adriel, and thanks, Jim, for listening to Core Christianity.

Love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, doctrine, theology, we are open to your questions. 833-THE-CORE, that's 1-833-843-2673. We'll be taking calls for the next 15 minutes or so, so now's the time to call. We have an excellent resource coming up just in time for Valentine's Day.

Yeah, Bill, so you're right. It is just in time for Valentine's Day. The resource is called Seven Truths About Marital Sex, and so in this resource we talk about how intimacy with a marriage should be something that's honoring to the Lord, not just selfish, you know, why it's integral to marital happiness, and how every couple has relational ups and downs. You know, think of a fallen world, the fallen world that we live in, in which every marriage involves two sinful human beings, often broken, with broken histories as well, and these kinds of issues will come up in any relationship, and in particular in Christian marriages. And so we seek to provide you with a helpful resource here to encourage you in your own marriage, and we do hope that you'll get a hold of this resource in particular, especially right in time for Valentine's Day. You can find this by going to corechristianity.com, and once again it's called Seven Truths About Marital Sex.

There's no charge for that. And check out some of our other resources when you go to our website, like our core guides and our core questions and our excellent Bible studies. You can find all of those at corechristianity.com. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core, and you can call us 24 hours a day and leave your voicemail question for Adriel. We do our best to go through those on a regular basis, and here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Logan. I was just calling because for around a decade now I've been trying to hear what the Lord has for me and what I'm supposed to do in my life, and it seems like I have all these ambitions, and no matter how many messages I listen to, I can always justify to myself that I'm supposed to be doing something, or then I think I'm supposed to be doing another thing. I have dedication time with the Lord, and I wait in silence and I never hear from Him.

I just need to know if I'm doing something wrong. Thank you. Logan, thanks for that question. I appreciate your passion, your ambition. Of course, with individuals, when we get really excited about one thing or another, it's easy to jump from one thing to the next thing to the next thing, and never to actually complete or finish any task.

I guess not knowing you and not knowing what the last 10 years have been like for you and the different focuses or endeavors that you've had, I guess I'd want a little bit more information. I will say with regard to ambition that we were warned in Scripture about selfish ambition time and time again. One big question I think is important is, what is the drive behind these things that I'm pursuing in my life? Paul in Philippians 2 says, don't do anything from selfish ambition. But it sounds to me like your desire is to serve the Lord and to honor the Lord, and you want God's guidance as far as that's concerned. We can sit around and wait for a still, small voice.

Lord, what should I do in this situation? But what I would encourage is not just sitting down and waiting, but opening up the Word of God and prayerfully listening and saying, God, you guide me. God has revealed in His Word His will for our lives.

Now, a lot of times we're looking for something specific. God has hidden will. I think so long as you're growing in wisdom and pursuing the Lord Jesus Christ and doing those things that you know God calls you to do, being a part of a solid church, continuing to seek the Lord daily to ask for Him to direct your steps, seeking to obey Him in His Word. So long as you're doing those things with all humility, prayerfully walking in the Spirit, God is going to guide and direct your steps. But in those situations, I think you have desires and longings. You say, oh man, there's something I really want to do. Then the question is just practically, Lord, did you open the door for this, or do you have other plans for me?

And I think that's how we go about it. It's exercising wisdom as we grow in our understanding of Scripture, seeking to be submitted to the Word of God, which takes first and foremost knowing the Word of God, and so I would encourage you in that. And then also surrounding yourself with godly counselors, men and women, brothers and sisters in your local church, a pastor, elders who are going to be able to walk alongside of you when you think about these decisions and encourage you and say, oh brother, you're really gifted in these areas. We think this is maybe something that God is calling you to or an area where God is really going to work in your life. So don't discount how God will use other people in helping you and guiding you to his intended plan for your life. Logan, may the Lord bless you and give you clarity as you continue to seek him.

Great advice about getting feedback from the local body from your church. You know, I felt maybe God was calling me to be a gourmet chef, and then I made some stuff for the church potluck, and they said, no, probably not. It's very, yeah, Bill, that's why I've never actually asked you to cook anything when we've come together, because, you know, I've heard that story and I just would rather not.

Fortunately, nobody died of the food poisoning, that one. Hey, let's go back to the phones. We have a call coming in from Adrian in St. Louis. Adrian, what's your question for Adrian? Adrian, how are you guys doing today? Doing great, Adrian, how you doing?

I'm good. Question, you've been on my mind for a while, but when you become saved and you're sealed by the Holy Spirit, and I know that sometimes, well, every day we sin and thought, word, and deed. But what happens if you live in sin, your intentional sin? I'm not supposed to give this, but you continue to live in those sins, knowing that, you know, that's not right. And I'll just think about what scripture says, you know, when we commit these sins, you know, we cannot enter into heaven. So can you break that down for me?

It kind of confused me. This is an excellent question, brother, because, you know, this is where a lot of people get tripped up, is they think, okay, I'm saved, I'm born again. But then what does God do with the sin I commit after I've believed and been baptized?

And so here's what I would say to you. One, the sins that you commit after the fact aren't going to cause you to lose your justification. It's not like you go from being a child of God to now being no longer a child of God, and then you get back into God's good graces as sort of this back and forth thing. And a lot of people struggle with that because they think, oh man, I've sinned. Do I have to get born again again? Do I need, you know, to get a second justification or something like that?

And I would say that the answer is no. What happens when we sin as believers, as those who have been regenerated, born of the Holy Spirit, is we grieve the Spirit of God. We have a sense of conviction over our sin, and the Lord, because he loves us, will discipline us so that we won't be condemned with the world. This is what we read in the book of Hebrews, what we see in 1 Corinthians, where Paul in chapter 11 talks about how some of the Corinthians were even getting sick and dying because they were failing to judge their sins. God was disciplining them.

And so that's not to minimize, brother. There are some people, I think, who are just self-deceived. They say, I'm born again, I was saved, I said a prayer at a concert or something like that, and then they want nothing to do with the Lord. They live in sin. And I think there I would say to that person, you know, what Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, for example, don't be deceived. The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. You might say, I'm a Christian and I have a personal relationship with God and I believe in Jesus, and yet by your life you deny him and you show, you demonstrate that you actually don't know who Jesus is, you've not experienced his grace in your life.

I do think that there are some people who are self-deceived. I also think that there can be believers, genuine believers, who fall into a grievous and terrible pattern of sin. And they grow in it for a time and they feel the weight of its consequences in the sense of a distance from the Lord. Again, that's part of the discipline of the Lord, God's heavy hand upon you.

I think David talks about that in places like Psalm 51. But that's the Lord in his fatherly goodness, working in our lives still. And maybe, you know, I want to speak to the person right now, maybe, you know, you are truly a Christian, but you know you've been living in ways that are displeasing to your father.

And, you know, you tell yourself, oh, things are going to be fine, I'll get better, I got this under control, but then you continue to go back to this pattern of behavior. I would encourage you, confess your sin to the Lord, get accountability, get help, walk in the light, you feel the weight of it, you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. That's God's love for you.

That's his goodness. You know, he doesn't cast us off as his children, he doesn't forsake us. Again, Hebrews 13, he will never leave us or forsake us, but that's not an excuse for just living however we want. And of course, Paul says as much in Romans chapter 6, you know, should we continue in sin that grace may abound?

No way! How can we think like that? How can we, who have been justified, who have died and risen with Christ in baptism by faith, how could we continue living in this way? Present yourself to God as one who is alive from the dead, and your members, the members of your body as instruments for righteousness, for service to God.

And so, you know, when I'm having this conversation, Adrian, with people, it just depends on where a person is coming from. If I think that there's this sort of false sense of assurance, you know, oh, I said a prayer years ago, I'm good, don't go to church, don't care about God, I would press them and say, brother, you need to actually embrace the gospel. If it's a Christian who's struggling with sin and they're living under the weight of sin, I wouldn't call them to question that they belong to the Lord. I would say, live in light of the reality of what Christ has done for you, and confess your sins to the Lord, and know that when you do, He's faithful and just to cleanse you and to forgive you of all unrighteousness. God bless. I'm so glad you talked about the relationship between God's love and discipline, you know, that verse in Hebrews 12, that He disciplines everyone He loves, everybody He accepts as a child.

So what, accept sufferings, His punishment, His discipline in our lives, and not always easy, but something we're called to do, right? Amen, yeah. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Cindy in Nebraska. Cindy, what's your question for Adriel? Hi there. My question is this, I'm familiar with the prophets and the Bible, but my question is, do we have prophets among us today? Great question, Cindy. Now, if you're asking, do we have prophets like Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Isaiah around today, people who were called specifically by the Lord, anointed to this particular office, and said, Thus saith the Lord?

I think that the answer is no, for a couple of reasons. One, those prophets that we read about in the Old Testament were annexed to the theocracy, meaning they played a specific role for the theocracy, the kingdom of Israel. In particular, they were calling the kings and the nation to be faithful to the terms of God's covenant. I mean, God raised up the prophets for the sake of calling Israel back in particular, as this political body, as this nation, to be faithful to God's covenant. Sometimes, you know, theologians will refer to them as covenant prosecutors prosecuting the terms of God's covenant. Well, Israel as a nation in that in that regard isn't isn't around today.

It was a sort of a type of the church. And God can use individuals today to speak forth the truth of God's word. So in that sense, you know, telling forth the truth of the word of God, I think there's this sort of prophetic function that exists in the church still. But in terms of foretelling and looking forward to the coming of Messiah, we live on the other end of that.

Jesus has already come. We're looking back to his great redemptive work. He is the ultimate prophet. And that's why I think the author to the Hebrews could say in Hebrews chapter one, verse one, Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets. But in these last days he has spoken to us by his son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. In other words, Jesus is the ultimate prophet and priest and king.

And the church today looks to him first and foremost. And so we don't we don't have prophets like Isaiah and Ezekiel and Jeremiah walking around the church today. And I would caution you, if somebody at your church says, well, I have the gift of I'm a prophet and this is what the Lord says for you.

That would concern me. Now, there's another question that people will oftentimes raise about the nature and role of New Testament prophecy, because in places like the Book of Acts and in First Corinthians 12 through 14, it talks about prophets in the church. And there's a debate about, well, was that a was that a gift that was to be ordinarily given in the life of the church? Was that something specific that was happening during the time of the New Testament, you know, or shortly after the death of the apostles to help jumpstart the advancement of the gospel in the ancient world? And there specifically, I guess what I would just say is it seems like when you look at places like First Timothy three and Titus chapter one, the real focus is on this ordinary ministry that's going to continue in the church with elders and pastors and teachers. And what we really need today, I say, you know, for the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ today, is a recovery of the faithful preaching of the Word of God. We don't need new revelation per se, new prophets to come along and say, you know, here's something new for you. How much error have we witnessed throughout church history when that happens?

You think of Mormonism, you think of Islam. What we need as the people of God is to go back to the teaching of the apostles and prophets themselves found in Holy Scripture. Boy, God has spoken so much, and yet oftentimes we're looking for something else. And so God help us and illuminate his word to us, the prophetic word, which is given for our edification, for our upbuilding, for our growth in grace.

And as we look to that, as we focus on that, we do well. Thank you, Cindy, for your question. God bless. God bless.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-09 12:51:53 / 2024-02-09 13:01:53 / 10

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