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How Can Christians Pray "in the Spirit"?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
March 13, 2024 3:00 pm

How Can Christians Pray "in the Spirit"?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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March 13, 2024 3:00 pm

Episode 1444 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

  1. Should we accept Bible translations that use modern slang?   2. What is the "perfect law of liberty"?   3. Does 1 Corinthians 15:28 mean that Jesus is inferior to the Father?   4. How can Christians "pray in the Spirit"?     Today’s Offer: The King Is Crowned: 10 Ways Jesus's Ascension Matters For You   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 can Christians pray in the Spirit? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, it's Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now, and here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-26. If you got our voicemail, feel free to leave us your question there. You can always email us as well at

First up today, let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners named Edwin. And I take it as blasphemous, the disregard by which whoever is writing this Bible is interpreting the Word of God. And my wife and I are really just struggling about how to handle this, because obviously, you know, from my understanding, the current interpretations of Scripture that we have, all these different translations really go to the core, and they're translating the original text.

But now you have what seems to be a language translation. But my heart's troubled, and I just wanted to ask your clarity and get your wisdom on it. I value what you do on the show. My wife and I are big fans, so thank you.

Edwin, thanks for reaching out to us. And, you know, I have a few thoughts. I've heard of this Gen Z problem. In fact, I just looked it up right now.

Number one bestseller, it says, by Broseph Smith. I mean, it's a joke, right? It says the unofficial chat GPT translation for Gen Z. And so, you know, I think people can have a good laugh with that. I mean, obviously, this is not meant to be, I hope it's not meant to be a serious translation of the Bible. But it raises sort of other questions, right, about how we should handle the Word of God for one, and the approach that we have, especially on the Lord's Day in church on Sunday, to communicating the truth of God's Word. And one of my great concerns, and it sounds to me like this is also a concern that you share, is there is such a low view in our society today of God's Word, of the means of grace, you know, preaching, baptism, the Lord's Supper. And I feel like part of the reason there is such a low view is because church leaders, pastors, have not taken these things seriously. And when the church becomes a production, a show, and pastors become gurus, self-help gurus, or maybe comedians, you know, that's, man, he's so charismatic, such a great speaker, has great stories, you know, when that's what it becomes. And there's a lot behind that, there's sort of the consumerism that helped to fuel many churches and how they approached the question of reaching outsiders and reaching the lost. There's a lot of that, but the result has been, I think, to not handle the Word of God with care, and a real lack in many churches of reverence and awe when it comes to worship. We're commanded in Scripture to worship God with reverence and awe. This is what the author of the Hebrews says in Hebrews chapter 12.

We worship, we're called to worship with reverence and awe because our God is a consuming fire. Are people getting that in their churches? Are they understanding, recognizing, seeing, hearing the voice of the Lord, seeing, you know, this truth communicated clearly?

And so, I mean, it actually grieves me when I hear of situations like this. Now, look, I get it, you know, sometimes a pastor's giving an illustration or something like that, or saying something, you know, makes a joke, that just can't be the focus, that shouldn't be the focus. The focus of, you know, the preaching is always to make clear the Word of God, to convict of sin, to preach ultimately Jesus Christ into the hearts of people. We should be going to church thinking, not thinking, I wonder what joke my pastor's going to tell today, but what does God have to say to me? Because God has promised to speak through His Word. And man, I bet if we recovered that, if we recovered that worship with reverence and awe, if we recovered this sense of we are gathering together with the people of God to hear from the living God because He has something to say to us, I think if we communicated that clearly, better as leaders in the church, more people would come to church, frankly. But when we turn it into this joke, or this time for, you know, light things, you know, things that aren't matters of everlasting importance, then it's just, well, you know, I can get that stuff everywhere else.

I can get that stuff from the entertainment industry. And so, now you asked, how do I approach this? It sounds like you have family that goes to this church. I think just a conversation, right? Like, I think being able to say, man, you know, was that really what the whole sermon was about, or is this what the church is about? Now, maybe, I don't know, was it a small clip, you know, and not really representative of that church and the types of sermons that are preached? Maybe this was just kind of, you know, one minute in a 45-minute sermon that was a strong exposition of Scripture, I don't know. But I think asking questions, and going back to the Word, and talking about the wonder and glory of the fact that God has chosen to communicate to us through His Word, and how that needs to be guarded and cherished by the people of God, and especially by the leaders in the church. We have, as pastors, a holy and a high calling, and that's why James says in James 3, verses 1 and following, don't let many of you become teachers, because we're going to receive a stricter judgment. And so your pastor, when he steps into the pulpit, should always have a sense of the wonder and even the terror that accompanies, I think, the preaching of the Holy Word of God. We're standing as ambassadors of Jesus Christ and representatives of God. And I don't take that lightly, and I don't think any pastor should take that lightly, and we should communicate, not in a way that doesn't mean it has to be dry and, you know, doom and gloom, but we have such treasures to communicate in the Word of God, and there's such a weightiness to them. Let's get that across for the glory of God.

And so I think communicating that weight to your family is a good thing. And you always want to keep that consuming fire in mind, as you mentioned from Hebrews, because you wouldn't want to be that pastor that, you know, God decides, okay, your time's up. No, sort of like the Nadab and Abihu thing, right? Like in Leviticus chapter 10, they offered strange fire to the Lord. And God, yeah, I mean, we're judged, and God takes His worship seriously, and we should as well. And again, that doesn't mean, like I've said, that it's just, worship is full of joy, but full of joy because it's communicating these truths that are, you know, eternally precious, and the joy comes from the truth. Of the Word that's being communicated, and the comfort that we receive in the midst of our trials and tribulations. And so we don't want to treat that lightly. We have so much to give, so much meat to feed the people of God with.

It's not worth just, you know, sticking with the cotton candy, right? It's, no, get into the Word and communicate it faithfully. Great counsel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. You can always email us if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Our email address is questions at

Here's an email from one of our listeners named Raymond. He says, a friend and I were recently talking about the perfect law of liberty as noted in the book of James. I wondered if this is referring to the Ten Commandments or not. If not, what is it referring to? Thanks for taking the time to answer this question on your show.

My wife and I really enjoy and appreciate your podcasts. Excellent. Yeah. So I think there are a couple of things to emphasize. Sometimes you have that language of the law of liberty or the law of Christ or the law of the Spirit in James, also in the Apostle Paul. And we need to understand that for the believer, if you are in Christ, your relationship to the law has changed. And what I mean by that is outside of Christ, the law was over you to condemn you. And all of us are condemned by the law of God because all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And so the law has these different functions. And one of its functions is to highlight our sin as sort of like a mirror.

You look into the mirror and you can see all of your impurities, all of your imperfections. That's what the law does. It confronts us with the fact that we haven't kept it. And as a result of that confrontation, it drives us to Jesus. Now in Jesus, when we trusted in Jesus, we died to the law. This is what Paul makes very clear in places like Romans chapter 6 and 7.

I encourage you to look at Romans 6 and 7. So we died to the law through the body of Jesus Christ because when we were united to Jesus, the condemnation that he bore in our place exhausted, extinguished the condemnation that was over us. So now we're dead to the law, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. That doesn't mean we set aside the law.

No, we follow that perfect law of liberty, ultimately summarized, as Jesus makes clear, in the call to love God and to love our neighbor. Matthew chapter 22 makes this clear. And you also have that language in the Pauline Epistles, but I think that's also what's being referred to there in James, that law of liberty, the freedom that we have in the Spirit. Now we walk, as Paul says in Galatians 5, according to the Spirit.

And so there is, I think, a relationship, right? The Ten Commandments are a summary of that moral law that binds all of humanity, that's written on the hearts of mankind. But we're not under the Ten Commandments as the Israelites were in the same way, you know, under that covenant of Moses. No, that's not where we are. We're born again, saved through the New Covenant, and we have a new relationship to the law through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And so that's, I think, what James is getting at when he speaks of the law of liberty, this call to follow the Lord, to obey the Lord and his commandments as those who have been redeemed, as those who have been saved. God bless. Great explanation. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question, you can always leave us a voicemail anytime, 24 hours a day at 833-THECORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Rachel calling in from Missouri.

Rachel, what's your question for Adriel? Hi. I'm in agreement that there's no hierarchy in the Trinity and that they're all equal, but I was reading through 1 Corinthians 15, and it just sounds like after everything is made subject to Jesus, then Jesus is made subject to God the Father. So I was hoping you could explain that and clarify it for me. Okay. So 1 Corinthians 15. Let's just read some of the text.

We have time. And of course the context here, Rachel, as I'm sure you know, is Paul defending the doctrine of the resurrection. That's the real key here, because there was some bad teaching in Corinth at this time related to the doctrine of the resurrection. There were some people that were saying that there was no resurrection, and so the Apostle Paul is challenging that belief. And focusing on the fact that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, and if Christ is risen from the dead, we too will rise.

And so this is the argument that he's making. He says in verse 20, But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive, but each in his own order. Christ the firstfruits, then it is coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.

He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death, for God has put all things in subjection under his feet. But when it says all things are put in subjection, it is plain that he is accepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, and again that is Jesus, then the son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

Okay, we can stop there. And so it sounds to me like the question is, in light of this, in light of the fact that it talks about Jesus being in subjection to the Father, how do we understand the doctrine of the Trinity? Because in the doctrine of the Trinity, we don't believe that there is an essential hierarchy of order in the sense of the Son is less than the Father, or not consubstantial, co-equal with the Father when it comes to power and glory.

Even when we think about the will in the context of the doctrine of the Trinity, one will within the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, three distinct persons, but one in essence and undivided. And typically when we talk about the subjection of the Son to the Father, we're referring to what took place in the context of the incarnation of the eternal Son of God and his assuming the role of a servant in the history of redemption, as the Apostle Paul talks about in Philippians chapter 2. And I think that is also the context of this discussion that the Apostle Paul is having here in 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

He's talking about the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ in the history of redemption. Certainly, you know, that work of putting all his enemies under his feet, the last enemy to be destroyed is death, all things being put in subjection to the Father. Christ himself, as the Son, being subject to the Father there as well, but are we talking here about a, I mean the big word is ontologically, are we talking about subjection with regard to his very being as the second person of the Holy Trinity in a way that would make him subordinate? No, I think still we're talking about Christ's redemptive role as the incarnate Son, the Word who assumed flesh for us, having conquered all of his enemies, his enemies being subject to him, and still, just as he was in his earthly ministry, praying to the Father, subject to the Father, that being the reality there as well. So the danger here, and it seems to me like you were picking up on this, is there are some in the Church today who want to argue for a kind of eternal subordination of the Son. And the concern there is it sounds, that sounds very much like what the ancient Arians were talking about, this idea that the Son, he's divine, but he's not of the same substance. There's a stronger distinction, difference that they're drawing there between the Father and the Son in a way that is not faithful to the orthodox understanding of the Trinity that's been articulated throughout the history of the Church. And so I think understanding that text, 1 Corinthians chapter 15, in the context of the economy, we say, of redemption and the incarnation of the Son and his redemptive work is how we avoid that kind of error.

Thanks for your question. Great discussion, thanks for that, Israel. Getting kind of deep, but it's good, and boy, we need to talk more about the doctrine of the Trinity. I think that's one of the reasons why you have people saying strange things and stuff that just doesn't fit, I think, the orthodox formulations given throughout the history of the Church, because we just don't have these conversations enough. Or they're using the doctrine of the Trinity to argue for something else.

It might be roles in marriage. I've seen this, where people are trying to extrapolate from the doctrine of the Trinity, and it's just not really helpful when we try to do that. So it's important that we have these discussions, and it's important that we talk about the Trinity in a way that's biblical, but also in a way that recognizes all the discussions that have come before us and the faithful work of many men and theologians throughout the history of the Church who have wrestled through these questions as well.

Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez. By the way, we were talking about the resurrection and what Paul said to the Corinthians, and the fact that Jesus was resurrected, then spent time with his disciples, and then ascended into heaven is really vital to the Christian faith. And we've created a resource that we'd like to offer you today that really focuses on Jesus' ascension into heaven. Yes, this is one of those resources that we are excited about, because not a lot of people talk about the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, and so this free download is going to help you dig into the importance of the doctrine of the ascension as it relates to the whole of Christ's redemptive work. And so especially thinking about Easter and moving towards that, I think this would be a wonderful resource. Again, it's called The King is Crowned, 10 Ways Jesus' Ascension Matters for You. You can find that by going to forward slash offers.

Just look for The King is Crowned. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life doctrine or theology, you can leave us a voicemail anytime, seven days a week for 24 hours a day at 833-THECORE. Here's a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners named Corey. My question is, how do we pray in the Spirit? Corey, great question.

I love that simple question. Well, there are a couple of ways, I think, when you look at the New Testament, and that call to or that phrase of praying in the Spirit, I think it's used different ways in the New Testament, to be honest. So in places like 1 Corinthians 14, there Paul is having a discussion about the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy within the Church. And when he talks about praying in the Spirit there, in 1 Corinthians 14, verse 15, for example, there in particular he's talking about praying in an unknown language.

I mean, this was a miraculous gift. Every person who's praying in the Spirit there is speaking in tongues, and so these are languages that they had not learned, and they're declaring the mighty works of God. They're praising God in this unlearned language, and that's what he's referring to as praying or singing in the Spirit there in 1 Corinthians 14. So there are places where you have this language of praying in the Spirit, namely Ephesians 6, verse 18, then Jude, verse 20, but in Ephesians 6, verse 18, Paul says, Praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication, to that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Now, I don't think that Paul is referring there in particular to the gift of tongues. I think this is just an exhortation that goes to every believer. And the reason for that is Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 12 that not every believer had the gift of tongues, and so this was not one of those gifts that just, well, every Christian speaks in tongues, that kind of a thing. No, he says in 1 Corinthians 12, especially at the end there, he asks this rhetorical question, you know, do all speak in tongues? Do all prophesy?

And the answer is no. Not everyone has been gifted in the same way. That's how the Church functions in a manner that's healthy. We don't all have the exact same gift.

If we did, it would be a disaster. We're gifted in unique ways and in different ways, diverse ways, for the edification of the whole. We all have a different part to play. But here in Ephesians 6, verse 18, and then also in Jude 20, where it says, but you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit, I think in those passages he's talking about specifically praying in accordance with the will of God, guided by the Holy Spirit in the language that you know, in a way that you understand. You know, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14 that the person who's praying in the Spirit doesn't understand what they're saying. In the Spirit, they speak mysteries.

That's why he says you need to have an interpreter. But here in Ephesians 6 and in Jude, verse 20, I think that's an encouragement for all of us as Christians to pray, not in the flesh, not for the carnal things that may be contrary to the Word of God, that we desire to fulfill our own passions. He says, you know, some of you ask but you don't receive because you ask that you might spend it on your own sinful passions. Let's not let that guide our prayers. Let's be led by the Spirit, praying in the Spirit. And just practically speaking, I would say that at the heart of that is praying in accordance with Scripture. Scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is God's revelation to us, His revealed will. And so when we're praying in accordance with the Word of God, one, we have the confidence that God hears our prayers and will answer them.

John says that in 1 John. We pray anything according to His will, He hears us, and we know that we have those requests. But we just have the confidence that we're praying in the will of the Lord.

And I think that's at the heart of what it means to pray in the Spirit. And so thank you, God bless, and let's pray in the Spirit. 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 / 2024-03-13 22:00:48 / 2024-03-13 22:10:23 / 10

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