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What Do I Say to Someone On the Brink of Leaving the Faith?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
March 11, 2024 3:00 pm

What Do I Say to Someone On the Brink of Leaving the Faith?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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March 11, 2024 3:00 pm

Episode 1442 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

  1. How can I witness to my neighbors who practice black magic?
  2. Does Mark 10:40 mean that there is a hierarchy of power in the trinity?
  3. Is fasting an important practice for Christians?
  4. Are there non-sexual forms of unfaithfulness that are grounds for divorce?
  5. What Do I Say to Someone On the Brink of Leaving the Faith?
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What do I say to someone on the brink of leaving the faith? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us at 833-THE-CORE, and if you've got our voicemail system, feel free to leave your message. Again, that's 833-843-2673. Of course, you can always email us anytime. Just send your question to this address, First up today, let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners.

This is Norma. I have a question about Muslims and black magic. I have a new neighbor who I've made friends with, but I'm to the point right now where I don't know how to help her and him both, a 55-year-old couple. Last night, I had a discussion with her, and she's very involved in black magic. She has a lot of fear, a lot of pain, a lot of illness. I don't know how to show her Jesus as a Muslim. She doesn't go to any kind of church service or anything, so I don't know how strong a Muslim she is, but I know she doesn't know Jesus. And I'd like to have a book or some advice on how I can witness to her.

Thank you very much. Norma, may the Lord bless you. I just love that you are, one, having conversations with your neighbor, and two, just eager to and wanting to know how to share Jesus Christ with your neighbor. And it sounds to me like this family isn't particularly strong in their Muslim faith, especially if they're practicing black magic.

It sounds maybe like there's some new age sort of mysticism, spirituality mixed in there, maybe kind of culturally their background is Muslim. But regardless of all of that, as you say, she doesn't know Jesus, and the Lord has placed you in their lives. And so the first thing I think you continue to do is you pray. You pray that the Lord would open their hearts.

You pray that God would grant you wisdom in knowing how you ought to speak and in giving you boldness. I mean, this is something we see even in the book of Acts, the disciples praying for the filling of the Holy Spirit so that they might be bold in speaking the truth. And with conversations with friends who don't know Christ, I think it's so easy for us to kind of beat around the bush, not to address the elephant of the room, the main issue, which gets to the very heart of the Gospel, who is Jesus and what has Jesus done for you? And so what I would encourage you to do is, as you continue to build this relationship, this friendship, seek to get there to what the Gospel is, that Christ came into the world to redeem sinners, to bear our sins in his body on the cross so that we might have eternal life, a relationship with God. And our bodies, I mean, it sounds like this person that you're talking about has some physical ailments as well, physical struggles. And so, I mean, this is where the hope of the resurrection of the dead comes in as well.

Christ came into the world, suffered, died, but then rose again, glorified, to give us the hope of the resurrection as well. And so I just would encourage you to continue to cultivate this relationship and to look for opportunities to share the Gospel with these neighbors, maybe even having them into your home, you know, inviting them over for a meal, talking about what the Lord has done in your life, about the importance of faith, but making sure that they recognize this for them too. It's not just a personal thing for me that's helped me in my life. Jesus calls all people everywhere to turn to him, to repent, and to receive the grace that he has, and that's including your Muslim black magic practicing neighbors. And so I hope that they will turn to the Lord, and may God use you, Norma, and your family, to be a light there in your neighborhood.

I love the suggestion you made. You start with who is Jesus, and who is he to you? And I mean, there's a wide variety of answers to that in today's culture, and certainly if she is a Muslim, she's going to answer that question differently, but then that opens the door for a really robust discussion on the identity of Christ. And maybe, I mean, sometimes simple things too, just like encouraging people to read Scripture. You know how many people have gotten saved just by reading the Bible?

They've said, okay, I'm just gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna give it a shot, right? It might as well. I mean, it's the most read book in the history of humanity. I just am curious about this, and how God works through his word. And so maybe even inviting your neighbors to say, hey, I'm doing a Bible study, or we're gonna read through the Gospel of John, or just giving them a Bible and encouraging them to read it and say, I'd love to discuss this with you. You'd be amazed at how God works through his word.

And so that's another, I think that's another great thing to do. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We do receive emails here at the Core, and you can send us one with your question at questions at

Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Carolyn. She says, my question is about Mark 10, verse 40, where Jesus says, but to sit on my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared. This makes me think that the Trinity has somewhat of a hierarchy of authority, or at least of knowledge. And when dwelling among men, Jesus states in Matthew 24, he does not have the knowledge of the day or the hour of the end of the age. Again, that leads me to think there is a hierarchy of knowledge in the Trinity.

Can you explain this? Okay, so it sounds like you're reasoning, you know, from these texts to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and coming to conclusions that I think are not entirely correct. So when we think about those passages where it talks about Jesus not knowing the day or hour of his coming, Matthew 24, for example, or even here, you know, this is not mine to give, but my father's, right, this place. Which, by the way, it's interesting, because what are they, you know, let us sit on your right hand and on your left when you're enthroned. And who's on Jesus's right hand and left when he's erected upon the cross?

It was those two thieves that are crucified with him. So there's kind of this irony behind the question when you consider the Gospels altogether. But when it comes to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, one God, three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, there is one will in the Trinity.

There's perfection in power, equal in glory. And so when we think about, you know, some of those distinctions like with regard to knowledge or hierarchy in particular, where we have to be careful is that we're not suggesting or teaching that there is this sort of essential subordination of subordination. And what I mean by that is that the Son, Jesus, is somehow less than the Father. And then maybe by extension, the Holy Spirit is, you know, somewhere there too, a little bit less than, no, that's really problematic. This is what the ancient heretics known as the Arians were teaching, the followers of Arius, who said essentially that Jesus was divine. He was of a similar substance to the Father, but he was not of the same substance.

Consubstantial was the word that was used and is used in the Nicene Creed. And so there's a real issue there. And you are seeing, I think, people sort of make this error today where they're trying to argue for, you know, particular relational roles today from the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. And it's just sort of a misapplication of the Bible and of theology proper.

And so we understand many of those statements in the Gospel as relating to Christ having come in his humiliation as the eternal Son of God who assumed humanity and in that sense came and submitted himself to the will of the Father. So appreciate the question, appreciate the email and getting into some technical theological discussion there, but hopefully that's helpful. God bless. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Stacy calling in from Austin, Texas. Stacy, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Pastor Adriel.

Thanks for taking my call. Every year when the season of Lent comes around, I always hear discussions on fasting, but I haven't heard much pastoral input on it. So can you tell me if you think it's an important practice for believers and if it is, how should one practice it?

Great question. I'm going to the text, I think, that you need to go to here, and it's in Jesus's Sermon on the Mount with regard to fasting. And Jesus here says in Matthew chapter 6 verse 16, when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others.

Truly I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others, but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus emphasizes this sort of heart and piety towards God. Don't do Christian things, you know, pious things, godly things, to please others, to try to prove something before others.

Don't go and, you know, get a little bit of ash on your forehead so that you can walk around and people see you and think, oh wow, what a pious person, you know. Jesus says, well, you've received your reward. You're doing it not for the praise of your Father but for the praise of others. And here it seems to me very clear that Jesus is suggesting that there is something special, unique, important about fasting, but done properly, done the right way. And throughout scripture, what I would say to you, sisters, that fasting is oftentimes done when the people of God are setting aside their earthly cares in order to focus on the Lord for a particular need. Oftentimes in the Old Testament, right, it might have been famine or war or some imminent danger and the people of God say, okay, we need to focus on the Lord. We're going to set aside our food and our drink and we're going to call upon the name of the Lord. And so I think there are instances where individuals or even churches today in light of current events or in light of maybe something in your own life where you say, you know, Lord, I need to focus on you and pray and I'm going to not eat breakfast or lunch or dinner, whatever it is, or abstain from certain types of food so that I can direct my attention towards you to pray.

And that's a good thing. I think that's a healthy habit. That's a healthy practice. It doesn't have to be something where it's like, well, I fast, you know, you think of the Pharisees. We fast on these days and we just sort of, regardless of what's going on, that's what we do, this sort of rote practice. Again, for the praise of others, Jesus says, don't do it like that. But when you fast, do it before your Father in heaven who sees you and hears your prayers.

And so that's what I'll say. I think looking at that text, you also have the passage in the prophet Isaiah in the book of Isaiah where the Lord talks about true fasting, the fast that please the Lord in contrast to, you know, again, just sort of going through the motions. And he says there at the heart of it is obedience before the Lord. I'm seeking to follow his word. I'm thinking of Isaiah chapter 58. So that's another passage you might want to look at as you think about fasting.

Isaiah 58 and then Matthew chapter 6. God bless. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. You can leave us a voicemail anytime with your question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, or theology. Here's our phone number.

It's 833-THE-CORE. And we try to go through those voicemails once each day, so please feel free to call us anytime. Let's go to Daniel calling in from Illinois. Daniel, what's your question for Adriel? I am a born-again Christ follower. In regard to Matthew 532, some Bibles state the only justification for divorce is fornication or sexual unfaithfulness, while others just say unfaithfulness in general, whatever that may mean. What is your opinion, please?

Thank you. So here, Matthew chapter 5 verses 31 and 32, which, by the way, Jesus is quoting from a part of Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy chapter 24 verses 1 and following, where you have basically this instruction on divorce. And that was a big question, especially that the religious leaders had and people in the Old Testament.

What does it mean for someone to be unfaithful in order to be able to receive a certificate of divorce? Let me just go to that text in particular first before I answer your question, because I do think that Jesus is homing in on and attacking a false interpretation of unfaithfulness that was being put forward by the religious leaders in his day. Deuteronomy chapter 24 verse 1, when a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and if she goes and becomes another man's wife, and then Moses there continues with essentially this situation that he paints the picture for. But here, that language of indecency, that's where, you know, you had a lot of debate among the rabbis. And in Jesus's day, essentially there were two views. One was the more liberal view, we might say, which said, oh, you know, that could be just about anything, you know, if you don't like how your wife cooked a meal.

I mean, it sounds outrageous, but it really was that outrageous. I mean, just sort of like you can get divorced for just about any reason. And then there was a more conservative view, which tended towards, you know, well, no, there needs to be some kind of infidelity.

But even there, there was debate about what exactly was going on. And as a result in Jesus's day, there was a very low view of the marriage covenant, of the marriage relationship. And you had people that were just sort of breaking off their marriages for no reason, which by the way, we're seeing a lot of today, aren't we? We think about marriage and how it's viewed in our culture and tragically in the church as well in many places.

We need to listen to the words of our Lord Jesus, I think very much so today, just as they needed to hear them in his day as he was delivering this sermon. And Jesus makes it very clear, you can't just get divorced for any reason. He talks about there are certain things that do and can dissolve a marriage. Doesn't mean that you have to get a divorce in circumstances like these, but, you know, where there's infidelity or adultery is what we're talking about here, sexual immorality, yet that can dissolve a marriage.

And Jesus speaks about that there. Another thing that I think we get from places like 1 Corinthians chapter 7 is if someone just abandons the marriage and is unwilling to engage in the marriage and they're, you know, they're pursued, but this person wants nothing to do with the marriage over time, right? I think that that can dissolve the marriage as well, this abandonment. And so I think that there are a couple of things that, according to scripture, are legitimate, you know, reasons to get a divorce, where you'd get a divorce and you'd be free to marry someone else if you weren't the offending party. And, you know, certainly there in Matthew chapter 5, adultery is one of them. But for sure, one of the big issues today, and I think this is what Jesus is getting at, is that low view of marriage, which says you just get a divorce for any reason. God forbid and help us as Christians, as married believers, to set a good example for the world around us and to love one another as Christ calls us to. Amen, some really good words there.

Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. You know, after Jesus was resurrected and spent time with his disciples, he ascended into heaven in their presence, and his ascension actually represents something vital to the Christian faith. And we've created a wonderful resource on that that we'd like to offer you today.

That's right. We have a wonderful new resource, a core guide on the ascension called The King is Crowned. As we approach Easter, it's important to consider Christ's ascension and its significance for our faith. When we think about the rest that we have as Christians, the peace, the assurance that our prayers are heard, and that the everlasting life with God that he's promised to us is secured, this is a part of Christ sitting at the right hand of God the Father.

It's what he's holding on to for us there in heaven. So without the ascension, Jesus's death on the cross would kind of be meaningless. I mean, the ascension of our Lord Jesus is a part of his redemptive work, that one redemptive work that he's accomplished from his birth, the incarnation, all the way to his ascending into heaven, being seated at the right hand of the Father. And so in order to help you prepare your heart for Easter, we want you to head over to forward slash offers to get your free digital copy of The King is Crowned. Love to have you get that, as Adriel said, to start going through it before Easter, making your Easter even more meaningful this year. The King is Crowned, 10 ways Jesus ascension matters for you. You can find that at

Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core, and here's one that came in from Christina. What do you say to someone who was raised Christian, but now they are questioning everything? They're questioning their faith, they're questioning if God is real, they're questioning just everything about the Bible. How do you say for them? Okay. Well, Christina, I guess the first thing I want to do is I want to pray for you. It sounds like you're having some difficult conversations right now, and I want to pray for you. I want to pray for this individual who's going through this season of questioning. And for everybody listening right now, maybe you're listening right now and you're going through a season of questioning too, I want to pray for you. So let's take a moment to pray. Our Father in heaven, we come before you right now and ask Lord Jesus for your mercy to be poured out upon Christina and upon her friend that she's speaking with, and upon all those, Lord, who have questions and are wrestling with hurt, with pain, with disillusionment. I pray for them in particular that sin and Satan would not blind them, but that you would give them clarity of mind, vision, Lord, that you would grant them understanding in accordance with your word and a sense of your spirit in their lives, drawing them to you. And so, Lord, would you be with them and would you also equip Christina and others, Lord, to have answers that are faithful to your word, to the questions that are raised, that they would be encouraged and that through even their questioning their faith would be strengthened.

Lord, be with our sister and be with all those for whom we're praying now, in Jesus' name. Amen. So the first thing I would say is, one, we don't want to just shut down all questions. I think there are different kinds of questions, right? I mean, there are instances where, and we've all experienced this, someone comes and they have questions, but they're not they have questions, but they're not really looking for answers. Their questions are more of a statement, if you will.

And in those situations, I think we pray for a soft heart. I think maybe we can even say, are you really looking for answers or are you just sort of making a choice, a decision, and you're not interested in the truth per se, or maybe you've already concluded that you think you know what the truth is until you're rejecting Christianity. But I think we have to gauge this. I think that requires wisdom and certainly relationship and conversations. But the first thing is, okay, what kinds of questions are they?

Are they hostile questions or are they honest questions? With honest questions, I think we have to do the hard work, Christina, of helping and coming alongside and not just giving the sort of facile answers that I think sometimes we can do as Christians. Just say, oh, you know, God is going to figure it all out.

He makes all things work together. Or especially in the context of suffering, I think sometimes we can just speak too quickly and not, you know, give justice to the gravity of the situation and the difficulty that's faced. And so I think you pray for humility and you ask God for wisdom in getting answers to those questions. By the way, we have a resource here at Core Christianity called Tough Questions Answered, which might be helpful to you depending on the kinds of questions that are being asked. But I think walking alongside of this individual, encouraging them still to be able to answer questions, asking them still to be a part of Christian community, to come and hear the preaching of God's Word, to continue to read Scripture. The Bible says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. To do the work of asking honest questions and saying, Lord, you have to correct my steps. And I think as you do that, as you encourage this friend, and as you pray for this friend, and as you seek to, you know, have answers, that that's how God works. And I pray that he does work in this situation.

So, Bill, always really heartbreaking to hear about people leaving. And sometimes I think it's just because, you know, they've had questions, but they haven't gotten good answers. Yeah, which really behooves all of us to be prepared for the answers. I mean, Peter says that very clearly in the New Testament. We should be prepared when those questions come to have a response.

That's right. And that's what we want to do here on this broadcast. We pray that you're blessed and that God give you answers for those needing. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, go to 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 / 2024-03-11 21:47:42 / 2024-03-11 21:57:19 / 10

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