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Is It Okay to Use Extra-Biblical Practices If they Help Me Focus on God?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
May 8, 2024 5:00 pm

Is It Okay to Use Extra-Biblical Practices If they Help Me Focus on God?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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May 8, 2024 5:00 pm

Episode 1484 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

  1. Is God still honored by an impulsive marriage? 2. Is blessing animals a legitimate church practice? 3. Are Roman Catholics actually Christians? 4. Is it wrong to use extra-biblical practices if they help me focus on God? 5. Is the righteousness of Christ imputed by faith or sanctification?     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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Is it okay to use extra biblical practices if they help me focus on God? 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. Our phone lines are open. We'll be taking calls for the next 25 minutes or so. Here's the number. 1-833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. We're also on YouTube. You can watch Adriel live right now on the YouTube channel and send him your question that way. And of course, you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Timothy calling in from Kansas. Timothy, what's your question for Adriel?

Yes. The question I have for Adriel today is, if two people are believers and they get married and they wasn't sure about the marriage or they rushed into it, and the marriage is consummated after they're married, does God consider that to be the will of God for your life, even though it wasn't at the beginning? Does God still honor and bless a marriage such as that? Timothy, thank you for that question. I don't know if this is a situation that you're in or someone near to you, but I would say that the answer to the question is yes, even if these two individuals, two believers, rushed into this marriage for whatever reason.

I'm not sure what the reason is. But if they're married and they've gone through the ceremony and the legal process and all that, that's something that has happened. It's not that they're rushing into it invalidates or annuls their wedding, those vows that they took. And I would say, in God's providence, in this situation you'd want to view it as, okay, we're married. We didn't know maybe what we were doing entirely as we were going into it, but what we do know is that God is faithful and God is good, and God is for marriage and marriages that are honoring to him.

And so committing to pursuing the Lord and to growing in a godly manner, I think would be the next step, as opposed to saying, well, you know what, I just sort of rushed into this. The Bible warns in the Old Testament and the New Testament, all over the place, about taking rash vows, precisely because God does hold us to our word. This is why Jesus said in Matthew 5, let your yes be yes and your no be no. Be careful when you take vows before the Lord, before others.

This is a serious thing. I think we don't realize the potency of our words, how serious God takes those commitments that we make, and especially this kind of commitment with regard to marriage is so important. It's one of those things that many people enter into rashly and then they just sort of disregard it.

You see this in the culture all over the place. But for our part as Christians, I think we need to set a different example in having a high view of what takes place when two people are married, God uniting the two so that they become one, and then living as one, seeking to honor the Lord and to glorify the Lord. And again, going back to this particular situation where maybe it's two people that entered into marriage rather quickly and didn't fully know each other yet or weren't totally mature yet, I think there's still opportunity to grow together. Under the grace of God, with the strength and the help that God gives, because we do believe that God is for godly Christian marriages, and so I would say seeking the Lord and seeking to grow together in humility and in love would be the right course of action. God bless.

Timothy, thank you for that question. You know, I recall this story about this college student in San Diego who saw this girl working at the college coffee shop, and he said, I've got to marry her. Now you're talking about me, Bill. Whenever we hang out, the first time we had Bill over for dinner, it was a great meal by the way, I barbecued him, and Bill asked, how did you get to know your wife?

And I told him the story. I was in college, and she ran the coffee shop on campus, and even though I didn't even really like coffee at the time, I think most of the people who went didn't like coffee, but they went because of my wife. Before she was my wife, they wanted to talk with her and get to know her, and so I would go and order a white mocha. Have a fake mocha. I thought I was so tough.

Give me a white mocha, please. Yeah. And she fell for it. I don't know what to say. The rest is history. What I can say, thinking about Timothy's question, is we were young, I was still growing, I was still maturing as a man, but man, God uses all of that in God's providence, and it's been such a delight to grow together and to mature together. And of course, marriages, you never fully know what you're getting into because you're growing together with another person who's a sinner just like you are, and yet it's a beautiful thing, such a beautiful thing, and such an opportunity to see God work in your life and through this other person. So it's a wonderful thing, a beautiful thing, and we often miss out on that, I think, when we just say, ah, well, we're having a problem now, or we don't see eye to eye, and so let's just go our separate ways. But no, it's an opportunity to see the grace of God at work in your life and in your marriage. Amen. I've often mentioned that if you go to Galatians and look up the fruit of the Spirit, there's a picture of my wife right there. Oh, yeah.

That's right. I like that. What a compliment, man. What a compliment. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Duncan calling all the way from Canada.

Duncan, what's your question for Adriel? Ah, yes. Good afternoon, pastors. Brother Sanchez, what do you make of these services where people's pets, i.e., dogs or cats, are blessed before the congregation? Now, don't get me wrong.

I love dogs, especially lap dogs. Don't laugh. This happens in some churches. In my humble opinion, I think they're putting on a show.

What's your take? Well, look, I think some churches are desperate to try to get people through the door. So it's like, hey, bring Fido and we'll pray a blessing over your dog. Or your iguana.

Yeah, who knows the kinds of animals that are brought forward for maybe even snakes. Duncan, when I think about worship in Scripture, as it's described in places like 1 Corinthians, also in the book of Acts, the focus is on the centrality of the Word and the ordinances that Jesus gave to the church and the people of God being blessed through the right administration of those ordinances, through the proclamation of the Word, the minister standing up and opening up the Scriptures and saying, Thus saith the Lord, this is what we need to experience God's blessing. And I feel like churches try to do all sorts of cute things to get people through the doors or to get people interested, when in reality we're focusing on the wrong stuff.

And it can be a show. And again, like you, that's not saying that there's anything wrong with your pet. The worship service isn't about blessing your dog.

It's about blessing God and worshiping him and the people of God being blessed in that process. And so I think that something like this detracts from the pure worship of God. And again, please don't view me as an animal hater or something like that. I did once, Bill, you're going to laugh at this, I had a neighbor who asked me if I would perform a funeral for her pet rat that died. And she was so serious. I mean, this rat was dear to her. And I was, you know, freshly ordained. I had to check up the rule book for this one because I was like, well, this is not something they teach you in seminary, you know, how to perform a funeral for a rat.

And I didn't. I just, I remember, I mean, this was not in the context of a worship service. She came up to me and I just said, well, let's pray and let's thank God for, and this is, I think, something we can do. Let's thank God for the goodness of his creation, for the joy that we get from things like rats and whatnot. Yeah, I mean, I wasn't praying for Speedy's soul or anything like that, but we were just thanking God for his creation, which I think is appropriate. Now, should we be doing that, you know, commemorating the rats and the dogs in the worship service?

No, I don't think so. I think, again, we need to focus on properly preaching the Bible and the ordinances. And let's give thanks for our pets and bless them by, you know, giving them a healthy diet and so forth outside of the service.

Those are my thoughts. Thank you for that. And Duncan, thank you for your question calling all the way from Canada. Appreciate you. This is CORE Christianity.

Yes, we get a variety of different questions on this program, and we'd love to hear from you. Here's the number. It's 833-THECORE.

That's 833-843-2673. Let's go to Joshua calling from Tennessee. Joshua, what's your question for Adriel? Hey Pastor Adriel, how are you? I'm doing well. How are you doing, Joshua?

I'm good. Look, I love you, brother, and I really appreciate what you do. And this isn't just flattery as part of my question, but when I first started listening to you, I thought, man, this is a man of God. And, you know, he's really telling the truth of the Word and speaking of how it is, and with love, of course, which is, you know, what draws people to Christ.

And so I wasn't sure what to think in that episode not too long ago. And my question is, someone calls you up and assuming they are a church and they're a Catholic, you give them a good answer to their question. And I'm curious why you don't say something like, brother, we love you and Catholicism is a false religion and you need to find a true church where you can grow in Christ.

Hey Joshua, really appreciate that question. And so, yeah, you know, we get calls from all over the place on the broadcast. When I say all over the place, I mean all sorts of different traditions, Christian traditions, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, I mean all sorts of things, which I love about core Christianity. Our focus has always been as a broadcast, how can we focus on the core truths of the Christian faith that so many seem to have forgotten about? And so, you know, sometimes we do get into the weeds.

I guess it just depends on the question. When I say get into the weeds, I mean talk about the differences. We do have a booklet that we've created on the differences between Roman Catholicism and Christianity or the Protestant faith, which we've used as an offer on the broadcast. So a lot of times, especially because we can't get into all the details in a short answer to a question, we'll forward that resource to people who have questions, especially Roman Catholic listeners.

But there are significant differences. Now, what I've said on the broadcast before is I think that you can be Roman Catholic and be saved, because we're saved not necessarily by our perfect understanding of the mechanism of salvation, you know, how I understand it, but we're saved by Jesus. And I believe that there are people who are in the Roman Catholic Church who trust in Jesus Christ. But that's not to minimize, I think, the significant differences that exist between Protestants and Roman Catholics in those areas, especially related to the doctrine of salvation.

And this is where we have, I think, some of the biggest differences, because in the Roman Catholic Church, the way that Roman Catholic Church understands the doctrine of justification is very different from how we as Protestants understand the doctrine of justification. I was just having a conversation with someone visiting our church this morning about this. In the Roman Catholic Church, it is the idea that you're justified at your baptism, infused with the grace of God, and then enabled to cooperate with God's grace so that more and more you merit your final salvation.

You earn, in one sense. They say, well, it's a gift, but you also kind of earn it, that final salvation before God, whereas we don't talk like that typically as Protestants. We talk about being justified freely by the grace of God, not on the basis of anything inside of us. And so I do get into that, and I've exchanged Joshua emails and back and forth discussions with callers and listeners who have asked, because we do want to point people in the right direction, and where you go to church really does matter.

You want to be plugged into a church that is faithfully teaching the Word of God, faithfully teaching the Bible, and I don't think that the Roman Catholic Church is doing that to the extent that it should. I don't think it does that as I would say we do in more Protestant circles, where we understand, I think, more in line with the Scriptures, how salvation works. But all that being said, I still think that an individual desperate for the grace of God who recognizes that they're a sinner and cries out to Jesus, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner, that Jesus can save that person. And I think of myself, you know, when I first came to Christ, I didn't understand fully how it all worked.

I mean, I thought that I was the one that basically figured it all out. I remember thinking, and I'm so glad I stumbled upon salvation and, you know, look at how great this is and I figured this out, you know, I'm so glad that I did. When in reality it was the work of the Holy Spirit, and yet I think that my lack of understanding at that time, lack of understanding the fullness of how God saves his people, didn't keep God from being at work in my life and his grace from coming upon me.

And so I would just, you know, that's where I think I make a little bit of a distinction. But it is important, I think, for people that are going to churches that aren't preaching the pure gospel or are, you know, maybe covering the truth of God, his word, with ceremonies and rituals that aren't biblical. It is important for us to say, hey, you need to get into a church that's not doing that.

And certainly, we've said it before, and I could say it again, when we think about the Roman Catholic Church, there are a lot of extra biblical rituals and traditions and a way of understanding salvation and the sacraments and so forth that I think are out of line with what the Bible teaches. And so, yeah, I'm not sure if that's what you were looking for, but I appreciate, one, your encouragement, and two, my hope is for all of our listeners, wherever they're coming from, that they would search the Scriptures and that they would grow in their relationship with Christ through a deeper understanding of the Word of God. That's what we hope to provide you and everyone else, and to do so, as you mentioned, in a manner that's charitable, full of love, but also full of conviction, which we have. So we want to hold those two things together, that charity and that conviction.

Amen. By the way, the resource that just was mentioned a few minutes ago is called What Still Divides Us. That talks about the differences between Protestant and Catholic theology, and really, if you have a friend or relative who's Catholic, this would be a great resource for you to get.

It's free. You can find it at corechristianity.com. I also want to mention a wonderful new book that's out. It's by this great author. You may have never heard of him before, but man, it's a bestseller on Amazon right now, and his name is Adriel Sanchez. Oh, Bill!

Well, thanks for mentioning that. Yeah, well, I did just recently write a book on prayer, hoping to encourage you in your prayer life. The book is called Praying with Jesus, and it's an introduction to prayer, but more specifically to the Lord's Prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. And I dive into each of those petitions there in the Lord's Prayer to give you a deeper understanding. So I would love for you to check out that book. We're also offering another resource today on the broadcast, which is called Five Names of God You Should Know.

When we're thinking about prayer, at the heart of prayer and praying as we should is understanding who God is. And so this resource in particular, Five Names of God You Should Know, highlights some of the names of God in the Bible so that you can have a more personal, intimate understanding of who God is as he's revealed himself in scripture that will enable you to pray. It's a great resource.

It's absolutely free. You can get your digital download copy by going to corechristianity.com. Look for Five Names of God You Should Know. Well, we do receive voicemails here at CORE Christianity, and our number, you can call us 24 hours a day and leave your voicemail question at 833-THE-CORE. Now, last week, we received an email from a listener who was concerned about a friend who'd become a Christian years ago, but is now practicing forms of Native American spirituality and taking Reiki classes.

And Terry from St. Louis heard Adriel's response to that question on the air and called us with this follow up. Regarding the topic of compatibility with spiritual, like Native American beliefs and Christian beliefs, I grew up as a Lutheran, and I always thought praying with a rosary was a bunch of baloney. But now I think that almost anything that helps us focus our brains on cognizant thinking is okay. For example, I tell elderly people who are under my care, and very often cannot fall asleep because of worry, that first, okay, it's time to give our cares to God and focus on him. I tell them, don't count sheep, just try to say the Lord's Prayer, and you'll fall asleep before you ask for daily bread.

So now I think if rosary beads or yoga, meditation, help your concentration that that may be a good thing, and where is the harm? Thank you for answering my question. Goodbye. Hey, Terry, thank you for that question.

God bless you and the work that you're doing, caring for the elderly as well. So a couple of things. One, you know, there are certain things that we can do that, you know, here it sounds like you're thinking about prayer as a means to help someone concentrate or even to get some rest and fall asleep. And while I think many of us can say, yeah, a lot of times when I try to pray, that's what happens.

I close my eyes and they begin to get heavy, and before I know it, you know, I'm halfway through the Lord's Prayer, but I'm sleeping or I'm thinking about something totally different. What I would say, at least as far as prayer is concerned, is Jesus, you know, he makes this really interesting statement in Matthew chapter 6 in his Sermon on the Mount. He says, when you pray, don't be like the Gentiles.

You know, they think that they're going to be heard because of their many words and they're just sort of babbling. They're going through the motions, they're repeating a mantra, and they're sort of treating prayer as this magic formula to get something, a sense of spirituality. But they're not really approaching God in faith. And so we don't want to turn prayer into this mindless exercise that just helps me fall asleep. That's not what prayer is.

Prayer is communion with God through his Son Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We don't pray on, we ought not to pray on autopilot, you know, where we're just sort of mindlessly going through the motions of prayer. And I think that's a temptation that we all have.

We have to watch out for that. And so, you know, I do think, right, are there certain practices that an individual can go through to help them relax and to help them fall asleep? Yeah, I don't think that there's anything wrong with that in particular. I don't know that that's what we want to, you know, how we want to treat prayer, think of prayer as one of those things where we just sort of, you know, well, let's just repeat these words until we fall asleep, sort of like counting sheep. That's not what prayer is. And then additionally, you know, you mentioned, well, with regard to things like praying the rosary or maybe these other kinds of spiritual beliefs. I mean, there we also want to think about, well, who should we be praying to or beseeching when we approach God? Do we need to go to the saints in order to get to God, saints like the Virgin Mary? Or can we go directly to the Father through Jesus the Son? And so that's where I would probably object to that as well, because I think that in Scripture, you know, when we think about prayer, we're called to go directly to God through the mediation of Jesus Christ, our great high priest. I don't need to go to the Father through some other saint. That's not to denigrate them, those believers who have gone before us who are, you know, a part of or make up the Church triumphant in heaven around the throne of God.

Together we're worshiping the same God, the same Lord, but we approach that God, the Father, through Jesus, the eternal Son of God, who made perfect satisfaction for our sins and opened the doors of heaven so that we could have direct access in prayer to the Father. And so appreciate your question, and again, appreciate the work that you're doing, and God bless you as you do it, as you seek to be a comfort to others. And I think, you know, when they're wrestling with worry, as you said, pointing them to the comfort that we have in God and to truly praying the Lord's Prayer and approaching God and saying, Our Father, you're our Father, all powerful in heaven, may your name be glorified. I think that's wonderful, and so God bless you as you do that, and thank you for your call.

Great thoughts. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Here's an email that came in from one of our listeners named Doug. He says, Is the righteousness of Christ imputed by faith, or is it imputed through sanctification? Hey Doug, excellent question.

I'm getting deep here at the end, but I love it. The righteousness of Christ, meaning the perfect life that he lived, is credited to us on the basis of faith. That's what we mean by imputed.

Think of somebody, you know, crediting your bank account with something that wasn't there. Well, we're given the righteousness of Jesus solely on the basis of faith in his name. The Spirit of God blesses us in that. And you said, well, does that happen through faith or through sanctification? Sanctification is that process of inward renewal where day by day we're being made more and more into the image of Jesus.

It's not how we receive the righteousness of Christ per se, but it's how we're made more and more like Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives progressively day by day, as I said. And so God help each of us in that and praise the Lord. 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 20:24:40 / 2024-05-08 20:34:51 / 10

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