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Why Did Jesus Teach in Confusing Parables?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2024 4:30 pm

Why Did Jesus Teach in Confusing Parables?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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February 21, 2024 4:30 pm

Episode 1429 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

 CoreChristianity.com

  1. How can I be sure of God's will for using my gifts?   2. How can I keep my conscience blameless before God?   3. On the cross, did Jesus mean that the thief would be in heaven that day?   4. Why did Jesus teach in parables?     Today’s Offer: Why Would Anyone Get Married?   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 did Jesus teach in confusing parables? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. If you've got our voicemail system, feel free to leave a voicemail there, and we'd love to hear from you. You can also email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Liana, who's calling in from Oklahoma. Liana, thanks for staying on hold.

What's your question for Adriel? Well, I'm so happy. I just have regained my faith and my spirituality after I lost my son three years ago. And I've been getting very involved with the scripture and finding out who Jesus Christ truly is.

Now, I've learned what my talents are, so I use my talents every day that God gave me. I'm a drug and alcohol counselor, so I try to help other people with their addiction and try to find their faith through our Lord, our Savior. But lately, I've been given a bite that there is something else that He wants me to do now that I am regaining my faith. And it's, how do I trust that?

Like, how do I trust what He wants me to do? Liana, may the Lord Jesus Christ bless you and be with you and continue to grant you comfort and grace. Wow, I'm so just grateful to hear your desire to serve the Lord and you want clarity about, okay, what does that look like and what should I be doing? I think you're doing the right things, sister, in using the gifts that the Lord has given you to encourage others. And in light of the very difficult things that you've experienced in your life, offering all of that, offering all of the pain, the suffering, the difficulty up to the Lord Jesus and saying, God, comfort me and help me by enabling me to use the lessons that you've taught me to comfort others and to come along others who are in need and who are suffering. And the Lord Jesus will do that.

He will answer that prayer. I think of what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 3, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. And so the Lord might use you, and maybe this is what I'm saying, be open to this, the Lord might use you and your experience and how he's matured you and strengthened you and comforted you even in those very difficult times. He might use you to be an encouragement and a strength and a comfort to others who are suffering.

And so be open to that. Of course, you know, God reveals to us in his word what he calls us to, how he calls us to live. The law of God is fulfilled, Jesus said, in that we love God with all of our hearts and that we love our neighbor as ourselves. And insofar as you seek to love the Lord and to love others, to serve the body of Christ, to use the gift or gifts that God has given to you for the building up of that body, know that you are indeed in the will of God, that what you're doing and what you're pursuing is pleasing to the Lord. And that God is honored by that desire, by that heart desire that you have.

It's not always the case that we get to do all that's in our hearts, but even the desire. I think of, you know, when David wanted to build the temple for the Lord, and God said, okay, you're not going to be the one who's going to build it, but just the fact that that desire was in your heart, that was pleasing to me. And I believe that your heart desire is pleasing to the Lord too, and he will guide you as you continue to grow deeper in the word. Again, I love that you're studying the scriptures and getting back into the word. I hope that you are in a good church.

That is something that is God's will for you. Liana has to be in a solid church where the word of God is faithfully taught and where you can use these gifts that we're talking about, but resting in that reality that God is going to guide you and that through his word, he's going to give you more and more clarity as you seek him and as you seek to honor him. And so God bless you, sister, in your service to the church. God continue to comfort you and be with you, and thank you for giving us a call. I'm just struck by Liana's call and what she's doing now and what she's maybe feeling God drawing her toward. And one initial thought I had, Adriel, is here she has this background as a drug and alcohol counselor, and now she's experienced that terrible grief of losing her son. And I was thinking, you know, even just in the short term, what about leading a grief share group at a church? Because here's somebody who completely understands the counseling process and at the same time has been through that. Boy, she could just offer such comfort and hope to people who have been in similar situations.

Yeah, I think that's wise. And again, this is where it's like, well, see where the Lord guides and where the Lord leads. And my prayer is that that comfort, and it sounds like that is happening, like there's been a season of healing, but that continues to be there, that comfort, and that she's also being encouraged by the body of Christ and cared for, because that's also so important. That's what we need in the midst of suffering is the body to wrap their arms around us and be there in the time of need. And so God bless you again, sister, and we'll continue. We'll keep you in our prayers here as a team. Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, you can leave us a voicemail anytime, 24 hours a day at this number, 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also send us an email at questions at corechristianity.com. Let's go to Jared calling in from Texas. Jared, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, so my question is concerning the conscience. I know in Scripture it talks over and over again about keeping a pure and blameless conscience that he, Paul in Acts 24, 16, always wanted to maintain a blameless conscience both before God and before men. I currently struggle with, I guess you could say, a weak conscience where it will feel compunctions of just violating God's Word or being idolatrous and holding inordinate affection of God's gifts over him.

Though I know that, you know, in God's Word it says nothing's to be rejected if it's received with thanksgiving and that these things are clean, it's not anything substantial. In Titus 1-15 it says, to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. How can one move forward knowing Romans 14-23, that violating conscience is a sin, but that they are not to be led by their feelings?

Mm-hmm. Well, Jared, great question and I love that text. I opened up to that text in Acts 24 when you mentioned it, just that desire of the Apostle Paul, striving with everything to have a clear conscience, not to let there be any stone unturned, as it were, or anything where he knew, you know, my life here is out of accord with what God calls me to. And I don't think that that meant that the Apostle Paul didn't have evil thoughts or evil inclinations.

We all do. I think there specifically he's talking about, right, there's not this hidden rebellion in his life where he's got this dualistic sort of form of living, where on the outside he's the Apostle Paul and looks really good and holy, but he's doing all these things over here somewhere else where people don't see. That are clearly contrary to God's word. It certainly also didn't mean that he was sinless because he's the first one to confess the fact that he still sins. And of course, John says, if anyone says that they're without sin, they're a liar, right? So it's not having a clear conscience doesn't mean being sinless. It doesn't mean not having struggles with thoughts or, you know, thoughts of blasphemy, those kinds of things, temptation to idolize things. It's what we do with those thoughts. It's bringing those before the Lord and confessing them.

And it is a battle. I mean, there really is a battle there, but I think it's recognizing that there's a distinction between those thoughts, which can come upon us, which we can experience as believers in Jesus Christ, and giving into those thoughts and engaging in sin. And I think we can still have a clear conscience even though we're assaulted by indwelling sin and by evil thoughts. We confess those to the Lord. But with regard to, again, this question of conscience, my mind goes to what the author of the Hebrews said in Hebrews 9, verses 11 and following, specifically with regard to the cleansing of our conscience. I think when it comes to having a pure conscience before the Lord, the grace of the gospel is so important. Let me just read Romans 9, 11 and following. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God? The purification of our conscience. Notice the argument that the author of the Hebrews is making here.

It's an argument from lesser to greater. Look, if the blood and bulls of goats and the sprinkling of ashes and so forth, if that right there was used as obviously a type of the redemptive work of Christ for the cleansing of defiled persons, how much more will the blood of the eternal Son of God, who offered himself up through the eternal spirit, cleanse your conscience, our conscience from dead works? To serve the living God. And so it's that cleansing that comes from, not how perfect we are, because again, we're going to struggle with indwelling sin, but it's being washed by the blood of Jesus. And when we do sin, like, I mean, John says this too, right? If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He says, I'm writing these things to you so that you don't sin. But if anyone does sin, let me tell you something.

We have an advocate with the Father. Let's confess our sins. And so, as we're doing that, as we're turning to the Lord, confessing our sins, I believe, like this is what the Apostle Paul is getting at, that we can, that you can have a clear conscience, not because you're perfect, not because you don't have those thoughts, but because the blood of the eternal Son of God has washed you clean and because you're looking to him. God bless, Jared.

Great thoughts. Thank you so much for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Scott calling in from Missouri. Scott, what's your question for Adriel?

Yes. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is on the cross, and he says to the thief, today you will be with me in paradise. But someone had mentioned that if the Greek doesn't use punctuation, that some translations put the punctuation in the wrong spot. He's saying, today, comma, you will be with me in paradise. He's saying, I tell you today, comma, you will be with me in paradise. So not wondering whether it's him saying, you're going to see me in paradise right now at the end of the day, or you will eventually see me in paradise.

That's a good question. So the difference there would be, is Jesus saying that the thief on the cross that day was going to be in paradise? Or is he saying, today I'm telling you that eventually you will be with me in paradise? And I assume that those who would maybe want to make that argument are those who say, well, there's kind of a soul sleep going on, or in other words, when you die, you don't immediately go to paradise or go to heaven, but you're waiting for a period of time, maybe until the final judgment. Is that what was being suggested, Scott, just to go back to you and to maybe get some clarity on the why behind that point was being made? Yeah, that's exactly the point that they were trying to make, and it's not one that I agree with, but I was wondering what your thoughts are, especially with the punctuation.

Yeah, I think that that's off with regard to the punctuation. I think what Jesus is saying there is that the thief on the cross was going to be in paradise that day with him, and this idea of being in the presence of the Lord immediately upon our death, that's not just something that we prove from the end of Luke's Gospel. There are many passages that demonstrate that what we call the intermediate state, that is the state in between our death and the final resurrection, the in-between time, that during that time, the souls of believers are immediately brought into the presence of the Lord and perfected in holiness. Their bodies go down into the ground, waiting for the time of the resurrection, but we are in the presence of the Lord right away. I mean, when Paul in Philippians 1 was talking about his death, he's writing to the Philippians and he's saying, look, I don't know if I'm going to continue and live and help you along in your faith or if I'm going to depart and be with Jesus, which is far better.

My desire is to depart and be with the Lord. That's far better than anything else, and elsewhere in the New Testament, places like Hebrews chapter 12, we get a picture of what's happening in heaven, and in heaven you have the souls of the righteous made perfect around the throne of God, worshiping the Lord, glorifying the Lord. And so you have the church militant, that is the church on earth.

We're part of that church right now, but we're one also with the church triumphant, the church that is in heaven, the church that is gathered around the throne of God, where our loved ones who have departed in Christ are presently perfected in holiness, worshiping Jesus and in his presence. And so that view, the view that when we die, we don't go into the presence of God immediately, but instead we're just kind of asleep, I think that's a misunderstanding of the use of the word sleep to refer to death at times in the New Testament. You know, Paul, for example, in 1 Corinthians, he refers to death as sleep for the believer. But there the focus is not like, you know, his sense or him believing that we're going to be unconscious the moment we died until the resurrection or something like that, because he's very clear that he knows, you know, for me to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I'm going to see face to face when we're in the presence of the Lord. So what's being highlighted there when the New Testament uses the language of sleep is the fact that for us, death is not ultimate or final in any sense. In fact, it's a coming to life, even greater life as we enter into the presence of the Lord. And so that text in Luke's Gospel at the end of Luke's Gospel, together with all of these other passages, indicate very clearly that we're conscious, we're in the presence of God in heaven, we're worshiping the Lord together with those who are in Christ, together with the angels, and it's a glorious reality. And so what a wonderful thing that we have to look forward to in Christ and even beyond that, the hope of the resurrection of the dead and the restoration of all things.

God bless, Scott. Thanks for reaching out. Thanks for pointing out those great promises that are ahead for every believer. Appreciate that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

We'd love to hear from you. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, doctrine, theology, you can email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Here's an interesting thought. If you think about marriage in 2024, it really seems like our culture now views marriage completely differently than God views it. And we've created an excellent resource for you on that very topic. The resource is called Why Would Anyone Get Married? And it's, again, one of these short booklets that we produce here that you could go through in an afternoon or maybe a couple of days.

If you wanted to go through it more slowly, you could do that. What a great resource also to go through with your spouse or if you're planning on being married soon and you want more of the sort of biblical rationale for basis for marriage. What is marriage? What is legitimate and holy sexual relationship?

That's chapter two, purpose number one. So it's really talking about the purposes behind marriage. Get a hold of this resource over at corechristianity.com.

Again, it's called Why Would Anyone Get Married? And you can find it at corechristianity.com forward slash offers. While you're at our website, browse around, look at some of our other great resources, many of which are free and our great core Bible studies. If you are a Sunday school class teacher or a small group leader, we know you'd find those helpful as well. Again, it's corechristianity.com.

Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core. And here's one that came in from one of our listeners named John. So I have a question concerning Mark chapter four, verse 11, where it is said that the parables of Jesus were given to basically keep those who are outside or those who are the non-elect to keep them ignorant of the truth of the gospel so that they won't return. My question has to do with the doctrine of total depravity. Now, I believe that no one can in and of themselves choose God and therefore be saved. So then why is Jesus specifically by the will of his father speaking this way to intentionally keep people out of the kingdom if they are already going to do that by nature? I just want to get some circumspect counsel on this, please.

Thank you so much. Hey, John, I'll do my best. Thank you for that great question. I think that there are two ditches to reckon here. The one is to read these parables, and this is how a lot of people read them. Jesus is giving these kind of cool object lessons to really help people understand. But that sort of runs up against what we find there in Mark chapter four, in Matthew 13, where Jesus talks about the purpose of the parables there. You mentioned verse 11, he said to them, "'To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.'" Now the other ditch to reckon, so it's not that the parables are just like these simple stories to help people understand these object lessons. The other ditch to reckon would be, you know, here Jesus is being intentionally cryptic so that outsiders, right, he's just trying to push people away from the kingdom, that sort of a thing.

It's not that either. Actually, what you have here and what you find with the parables throughout scripture is a kind of judgment or indictment brought against, specifically, the covenant people who had rejected the word and the law of God. In fact, just the language right before this in Mark chapter four in verse nine, he said, "'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.'"

Now that language right there is this sort of parabolic formula that signifies judgment. It's actually taken from the prophets in the Old Testament. That's why Mark's gospel quotes from Isaiah chapter six, verses nine and 10. You can also see this language in Ezekiel, in Ezekiel chapter three, verse 27. Listen to what the Lord says when he's calling Ezekiel.

This prophet is a watchman for Israel, calling Ezekiel to be faithful in that calling, in that office of testifying to Israel about her sin so that she repents. And this is what the Lord says. This is the Lord, Ezekiel 3.27, "'He who will hear, let him hear, and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house.'" In other words, that language, "'He who has ears to hear, let him hear,'" sort of cues us into what's happening here.

This is an indictment. This is the threat of judgment. God is saying to his rebellious people, you need to hear me. You need to listen.

And so that's what's happening here. And in particular, those who were on the outside were the religious leaders. I mean, that's the great irony, the religious leaders who didn't recognize that Jesus was the Messiah. And so we need to hear and listen to the voice of Jesus. God bless. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, go to corechristianity.com forward slash radio, or you can call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, let us know how we can be praying for you. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-22 14:27:07 / 2024-02-22 14:36:26 / 9

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