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What Book of the Bible Should I Recommend First to Curious Non-Believers?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2024 5:00 pm

What Book of the Bible Should I Recommend First to Curious Non-Believers?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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May 6, 2024 5:00 pm

Episode 1482 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

  1. Why is Adam blamed for the Fall if Eve sinned first? 2. Why did the Elder in Revelation 4:4 ask John who those robed in white are? 3. What book of the Bible should I recommend to a curious non-believer? 4. Is it okay for children to take Communion?     Today’s Offer: 5 Names of God You Should Know   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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What book of the Bible should I recommend first to curious nonbelievers? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Well, 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 with your question at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. In fact, we have a YouTube channel, and you can watch Adriel live right now in the studio and send him your question through YouTube. And of course, you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Richard calling in from Tennessee. Richard, what's your question for Adriel?

Greetings, gentlemen. I have a question that I hope won't get me in the doghouse, but I've never really fully understood the issue of original sin. I know that the Bible tells us in Genesis that Eve sinned first, yet God placed the blame of all of the sinful man on Adam. I've heard people say that Eve was deceived, but Adam knew what he was doing. So does that mean women are not held to the same standards as men when it comes to sin?

Hey, Richard, thank you for that excellent question. And I think part of the issue is, and it seems like specifically the question that you're asking is, why is it that typically in the Bible, in the New Testament, the blame gets placed on Adam? In Romans chapter 5, for example, when Paul is talking about the entrance of sin into the world, he's talking about Adam and all of us being in Adam. Why doesn't he focus on Eve? I mean, wasn't she the one that was initially deceived?

And there's a couple of things here. One, there's the reality of the fact that Adam, as the first man, was called to lead his family, the head of this holy household, and to guard his wife from the serpent. And so he didn't do that. He didn't protect his wife from the serpent there in the garden.

This is a part of his priestly duty there in the garden. And so it wasn't just that Eve got deceived, it was also that Adam didn't take responsibility. And so I think there's a lesson here for us as well. As husbands, as those who are seeking to lead homes, households, we bear a level of responsibility for the spiritual nurture and care of our families that we can't just set aside. And the sad reality is many people have, and so what you're seeing here in particular is God holding Adam responsible as the covenant head of humanity for the entrance of sin into the world. And of course, you know, the good news of the gospel sweeps in because Jesus came as the second Adam. That's why, you know, he's placed side by side there with the first Adam in places like Romans chapter 5 and in 1 Corinthians as well, to do what Adam failed to do, to cast out the serpent, to protect his bride, the church, and that's what Jesus still does today. And so what you're really getting there is an emphasis on the responsibility that the husband has, that Adam had there.

And as I said, that also relates to us as Christian husbands today as well. That's not to say that Eve wasn't also responsible. She certainly was, and she experienced some of that curse that came as a result of sin in her own body as Genesis continues to go on. Genesis talks about the pain in childbirth and so forth. But, you know, just the level of responsibility that was placed on Adam there as the covenant head of humanity and sin entering the world through him because he failed.

He didn't obey the Lord in the charge to protect his wife and to guard the garden from the serpent. Thanks for the question, Richard. I don't think you're in the doghouse, so God bless.

That's a great question, Richard. I appreciate you and appreciate you listening to Core Christianity. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question, and don't worry, we won't put you in the doghouse.

We promise. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. And of course, you can always email us at questions at corechristianity.com. Let's go to Darryl calling in from Missouri. Darryl, what's your question for Adriel? Yes.

Okay. My question is this. I believe this maybe starts somewhere around Revelation 4 and 4. So when John was on the island of Patmos, you know, the Bible revelation says that he was taken up in the spirit. So when John was before the throne, one of the elders asked John, who are these in white robes? But John's response to the elder was, you know who these are.

These are those that come out of the great tribulation. So my question is this. Why would an elder ask John, who were those arrayed in white robe? Wouldn't the elder have already known or was he just asking John just to test him, just to see if he was right down the revelation that God was giving him to put on paper?

Yeah, great question. So here's this apocalyptic vision that John is receiving on the day of the Lord, on the island of Patmos, the day of the Lord being a reference to Sunday. He's carried up in the spirit. By the way, there's all these interesting ties to the idea of worship and heavenly worship in the book of Revelation. That's what's taking place. John on Sunday is carried up into heaven in this visionary form, and he's witnessing the worship in heaven.

And he's asked a question. You know, well, who are these? You're referring to Revelation chapter 7 verse 14. I'm going to begin in verse 13. Then one of the elders addressed me saying, who are these? And of course, John had just received a vision of this great multitude that's worshiping God, saying salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb. And, you know, the elder says, who are these clothed in white robes? And from where have they come? I said, sir, you know. And he said to me, these are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.

They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Now, I don't believe that it's that the angel was, or that the elder here was, testing him. You know, like, okay, this is a, you know, let's see how much you really understand, John.

No, I think the question is meant to draw out this answer. He's wanting him to understand what this visionary sequence means, what's taking place here. And of course, those who come out of the great tribulation, you're going to have differences, you know, of opinion with, you know, depending on what an individual's eschatology or view of the end times is. But my view here specifically is that this is a picture of the great multitude of all the redeemed, worshiping God, praising him because of the redemption that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. And the language of great tribulation comes from places like Matthew 24, verse 21, and then even earlier from Daniel chapter 12, verse 1. But it's this picture of all the saints who have been kept by the Lord, by his grace, and now worshiping him in the bliss of heaven. And so I appreciate that question.

You often will have this. I mean, we were just talking about the early chapters of Genesis. Remember when God calls out to Adam and Eve and says, where are you?

It's not that God doesn't know. He's seeking to draw out this answer. And I think that's the same thing that you have here in Revelation chapter 7, where the elder says, okay, who are these? It's not so much of a quiz.

It's drawing out this answer to give us, the reader, understanding. Well, I had an opportunity to go to Adriel's church and hear him preach on Revelation. Oh yeah, I remember. When I was there, you were preaching on some scary stuff, man.

Bad things happening. Well, I hope it was encouraging, too, Bill. I hope I didn't just strike terror into everybody's hearts. And, you know, the church really did shrink in those days, I wonder.

No, it was a good time. There are, you know, what's amazing about the revelation is there are so many scary visions. I mean, you think of these monsters that are the thing of nightmares, you know, beasts coming out of the sea and whatnot, and, you know, all these heads and teeth. And it can be quite scary, but it's this vivid way of portraying idolatry and the evil kingdoms of this world from the perspective of a holy God. And so I think one of the amazing things about the book of Revelation is we, you know, many preachers will avoid it because they're like, I don't know what's going on here. But one, you know, all of those vivid pictures, I think, just are captivating for the church.

It's so important for us to see them, but additionally, it's not meant to terrify us. The book of Revelation is meant to comfort us because it was given to the church, the suffering church, the persecuted church, and the reality is repeated throughout the book of Revelation that Christ is risen from the dead. He's reigning right now, even as the church is experiencing these great trials and tribulations and suffering. There's great hope because Christ has conquered, and he's victorious. And so because he's victorious, we have hope. And so the book of Revelation is really meant to comfort Christians, even those who suffer and experience persecution, to comfort them and to give them hope in the God who is sovereign over the affairs of this world. And of course, we know the end of the story. God's justice will prevail.

That's right. So praise God. What a wonderful, what a wonderful, comforting book in many ways, even though, as you said, there are some, some scary images. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open.

We're ready to take your call. If there's a passage of Scripture, maybe that's confused you, and then you would like some clarification on it, give us a call. Or maybe there's a theological or doctrinal issue that you'd like to ask Adriel about, give us a call right now, 833-THE-CORE. Now we want to mention we have a brand new Core Guide available on our website.

I want to tell you about this. It's called Five Names of God You Should Know. Yeah, this is a great resource that explains why God reveals his name to us and what his names in Scripture mean. Oftentimes, you know, as you're reading through the Bible, you, you, you hear about the names of God, Yahweh, Abba, Immanuel. Well, God, he condescends to us. He reveals himself to us in the revelation of his name, you know, in, in, in some of these things that I just think it's really important for us to understand, and not just to understand, but a really great comfort again, Bill, as we're talking about how the Scriptures comfort us.

Understanding how God has revealed himself enables us to call upon him personally, and that's a really, a really special thing for us as, as believers in the Lord. And so get a hold of this resource again. It's, it's called Five Names of God You Should Know. You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. It's brand new, and it's available to you right now. Again, no cost.

It's a download. You can find it at corechristianity.com. Look for Five Names of God. Well, we do receive voicemails here at Core Christianity, and you can call us 24 hours a day and leave your question. When you do, tell us where you're calling from. Make sure to include your name and just, you know, leave your question there. We try to go through our voicemails a couple times a week and review those.

Here's one that came in from Ivan calling from the California Bay Area. Hey pastor, what book of the Bible do you recommend when skeptics or seekers express interest in Christianity? I usually say the Gospel of John, but now I'm wondering if there are quote-unquote better options. What about Mark, since it's the shortest gospel? I've also heard some say Luke, since most people will recognize the Christmas story.

I guess there's an element of case-by-case basis depending on where the skeptic is coming from, their temperament, what moves them, and so on. Do you have any go-to parts of the Bible you found non-believers tend to respond best to? Thanks.

Ivan, thanks for that question. I appreciate, right, if we're being sensitive to an individual or having conversations with you, you might find that, yeah, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna encourage you to read the book of Psalms. It's funny, that was the first book I ever read as someone interested in the Bible. I think, you know, around the time of my conversion, I'm starting to read scripture. The first book I read through the entire book of Psalms. At the time, I didn't even know how to read the Bible. I wasn't reading chapters. I would just read three pages a day. So every day I'd read three pages of the Bible, and it didn't matter, you know, okay, that page ended in the middle of a chapter. But I remember God using that in my life in a profound way. It was, I think, you know, being taught how to pray, how to speak to God, how to pray, how to speak to God, because that's all what, you know, the book of Psalms is all about that.

But now I do, you know, somebody's, if somebody's curious, and it's just sort of like, hey, where do I start? I typically do say the Gospel of John, and I'll tell you why. John is written almost with this apologetic bent. In other words, it's written to convince you that Jesus is the Son of God. It's like a gospel tract, the ultimate, the, you know, initial gospel tract. And John says in John chapter 20, verse 30, now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.

And so it's almost written to the skeptic, to the one who's wondering. This is why John gives a series of signs proving who Jesus is throughout the Gospel. You have these seven signs, you have these I Am statements, you have, you know, story after story emphasizing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, so that you, the reader, might believe, and that believing you would have life in His name. And so generally I point to the Gospel of John, but again, this is where you want to pray, and, you know, as you get to know an individual more, you might, you might realize, okay, you know what, actually, maybe, maybe the Book of Romans would be a great place for them to start, or maybe a different gospel. As you said, the Gospel of Mark, it's a little bit shorter, and so pray about it. But generally speaking, I encourage the Gospel of John. And of course we have to remember it's the Holy Spirit that draws people to God, and we can, you know, do our best to, you know, recommend things, to use our apologetic skills, but it's God that does that work that draws us to Him. Absolutely, and that's why we have to, that's why we have to pray and just say, God, illuminate your word for this individual as they're reading it. And I'm struck by, Bill, I've heard so many conversion stories where people just say, you know what, I just started reading the Bible. In fact, one of the greatest conversion stories out there, St. Augustine, in his book, The Confessions, you know, he's going through this sort of spiritual crisis. He's talking about, you know, how he came to faith, and he just heard the voice of a child saying, pick up and read, pick up and read, somewhere in the distance. And so he opened up the Bible and started reading, and the Word of God pierced his heart, and he became one of the greatest theologians in the Western Church. It's just the power of the Word of God when people will just pick it up and read it.

Amen. Pick it up and read it today. Read it every day and recommend it to those friends of yours who don't know Jesus as personal as their Savior and have not trusted Him as Lord. By all means, as Adriel said, the Gospel of John, a great place to start. 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. Our number is 833-THE-CORE. That's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Keisha in Oklahoma. Keisha, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Bill and Pastor Sanchez.

I did have a question. Is it considered tithing only when you give to the church, or if you're giving to a different cause, can that be considered tithing? And any scripture to back that up?

Hey, great question. Well, in scripture—so a couple of things. One, there was this tithe that was given in the Old Testament where people would bring, you know, a tithe to the temple. It was for the good of the Levitical priesthood and for its sustenance. And there's a question, there's a debate about, well, is that tithe still binding today under the new covenant?

Of course, we don't have the ceremonial law in the temple as we did back then. I think as believers in Jesus Christ, we ought to grow in generosity and in giving to the work of the Lord, specifically in the context of the local church. And early on in the scriptures, it's clear that one of the things that churches would do is take collections.

Take collections for the work of the ministry, take collections for the needs of those who were suffering, for the poor, for those who were struggling, and the church would distribute those funds. We ought to, as believers in Jesus Christ, as those who have received so much from the Lord, give with joy. Do you remember what Paul said in 2 Corinthians chapter 9 verse 6? The point is this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver, and God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

What a promise we have there. I've said it before, I've heard it said so many times, I know it just didn't originate with me at all, but you can never outgive the Lord. We give as those who have received so much, primarily the grace of God and the forgiveness of our sins. Now your question is, well, is it okay to give to other things? Can I give my tithe to some other effort?

Here's what I would want to say. First and foremost, Jesus says we want to invest in the kingdom of God. That kingdom advances through the proclamation of the gospel, the proper administration of the ordinances that Jesus gave to the church, baptism in the Lord's Supper, so there's a sense in which it's very church-centered, the work of the church, the proclamation of the gospel, and so if we're just giving to things that aren't gospel-related, I think we want to sort of refocus our energies. We want to think strategically about investing in those things that are focused on the advancement of the kingdom of God, and so that's why I would say, hey, if you're going to give a tithe, and I think a tithe is a great thing to do, give to your local church where you're sitting under the ministry of the word and you're hearing the gospel preached and you're being encouraged with other believers, and it doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with giving to other things as well.

You can give above and beyond that. You can give to other missionaries outside of the local church and other mercy ministry efforts that are happening at home and abroad, and so I think as we cultivate that heart of generosity and we find more opportunities to give and to share what the Lord has blessed us with, but my encouragement would just be focus on investing in those things that are centered on the kingdom of God through the proclamation of the gospel, and if you have a real objection to, well, I just don't want to give to my church for one reason or another, I think you need to ask, well, why is that? Is it that the church is not focused on the proclamation of the gospel? What gives me hesitancy? What is it that concerns me about this? And maybe that calls for a conversation with some of the folks in the church, I mean the leadership of the church, with your pastor and thinking through some of these things, but that's what I would say, and so God bless. Kesha, thank you for reaching out with that question. Thanks, Kesha. Appreciate you listening to Core Christianity.

Let's go to Ann calling in from Missouri. Ann, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, hi, thank you guys for taking my question. This is sort of a twofold question and you have answered it on one other series that you did about children taking communion. They just waltz up and they take communion and it's explained that this is to be an example for them as they get older or whatever, that is supposed to be an example to let them do it. And there's one, there's a gay person in the church and I'm asking, is that hindering our growth in any way that we do things like that?

Now I just want to, it sounds like there's two things here. So you have little children taking communion and then you also said there's a gay person in the church. You mean like someone who's living a homosexual lifestyle and they're also part of the church member, the church taking communion?

Yes, but not openly, but it's known and it's overlooked. Okay. Well, thank you for that question.

A couple of things. Only those who have been baptized and made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ ought to be taking the Lord's supper. And I think this is the case on the basis of 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul says in verse 27, whoever therefore eats of the bread or drinks of the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself then and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. Now children, I think, can make a profession of faith.

It doesn't have to be super theological. I think there is such a thing as a childlike faith where even kids understand the gospel, but I don't think that they should just be welcomed to the table if they've never made a profession of faith and certainly not if they've never been baptized. And so this is an area for discipleship. And if we're not discipling our kids and having these conversations with them, teaching them about the gospel and about the significance of what we're doing, then certainly we are being hindered in our spiritual growth and in their spiritual growth at least because it's just sort of treated willy-nilly as opposed to seeing it as an opportunity to catechize and to have conversations about the gospel and the significance of these holy ordinances that Jesus has given to us. The other part of that question with regard to the individual who's gay and in the church and just participating as though everything were fine reminds me of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 5 where he talks about a person who's living in sin and everybody just overlooks it.

And he says, look, don't you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? The gospel is for sinners of every kind but not so that they continue to live in sin but so that they repent and turn from it and don't continue to walk in their sinful lifestyle, whatever it is. And so a church that's unwilling to confront sin, yeah, that would be a serious hindrance to the growth of the church and the spiritual growth of individuals.

And in fact, if a church isn't willing to confront sin for whatever reason, then I would have serious questions about the ministry there because at the heart of preaching the gospel faithfully is talking about what Christ came to save us from, which is our sins. God bless you. 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 / 2024-05-08 02:58:02 / 2024-05-08 03:08:22 / 10

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