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Should I Leave My Church If I Don't Feel Fulfilled on Sundays?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2024 5:00 pm

Should I Leave My Church If I Don't Feel Fulfilled on Sundays?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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May 21, 2024 5:00 pm

Episode 1493 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

  1. What is faith healing, and is it biblical? 2. Is it a sin to remarry after leaving an abusive marriage? 3. Can I leave my church if I don't feel fulfilled during service? 4. What should I do if my denomination begins to ordain homosexual pastors?     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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Should I leave my church if I don't feel fulfilled on Sundays? 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. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

843-2673. Now, you can also post your question on one of our social media sites, including YouTube. In fact, if you go to our YouTube channel right now, you can see what Adriel's up to in the studio. You can see how large his Bible is. It's like the Gutenberg Bible in there. It's really huge.

You can hear him turning the pages. And you can always email us at questions at corechristianity.com. It's not that big, is it? Is your Bible that big?

You know, no, it's pretty normal, I would say. But that would be cool. I mean, wouldn't it be nice if they just got me one of those big, you know, like the golden-looking Bibles with gems on it. And every time you open it, it's like, reeeeek.

Dust flies all over the place. They're not more holy, but it would just be good for the YouTube audience, I think. That's true. We'd know for sure. Every time you're going to Scripture, we'd... Yeah, that's probably why.

Maybe better not to have that. Well, we do get voicemails here at CORE Christianity, and you can call us 24 hours a day and leave your voicemail message. Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Dick. I wanted to ask a question about faith healing. I was raised Byzantine Catholic, became a mainstream, I guess, Christian non-denam, and everywhere in church and everywhere you go, it seems to be a big thing. So could you enlighten me more? Thank you. Bye-bye.

Sure thing. So faith healing. It sounds to me like maybe a lot of the churches you've been checking out after having left the Byzantine Catholic Church are more charismatic churches, and I think where this becomes problematic is when we're focusing on the miraculous. And we have this assumption that the Christian life is supposed to be this sort of mountaintop experience, and we should be experiencing divine healing and prophecy and all of these things, and that's just the ordinary Christian life. In reality, the miracles like healing in the New Testament were signs. They were pointing to a greater reality, and that reality is the forgiveness of our sins in Jesus Christ. One story in the Gospels to illustrate this point really clearly in Mark chapter 2.

I love this story. I'm just going to read this passage, and the point that I want to make is miracles like healing are to help us believe, to recognize that Jesus is the Lord who forgives our sins. Mark chapter 2 verse 1. When he returned to Capernaum, after some days it was reported that he was at home, and many were gathered together, so that there was no room, not even at the door, and he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him.

And when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven. Now, some of the scribes were sitting there questioning in their hearts, why does this man speak like that?

He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God alone? And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier to say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, Rise, take up your bed and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, he said to the paralytic, I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home. And he rose immediately, picked up his bed, and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, We never saw anything like this.

Okay, think about this for just a minute. Here is Jesus performing these miracles, a paralytic comes, everybody's expecting Jesus to heal him right then and there, but he doesn't right away. He doesn't say, Rise, take up your bed and walk. Instead, he says, Son, your sins are forgiven. And of course, the scribes begin to question and to argue, and in their hearts, right, there's this bitterness, they're saying, Who does this guy think that he is? Well, of course, Jesus is God, the one who does have authority to forgive sins. And Jesus says, Look, I'm going to heal this man so that you might know that I have that authority, that authority that you question.

In other words, what was the whole point here? It's not just that Jesus came to heal all of our physical sicknesses. The reason Jesus came is to deal with the problem of our sins.

Now, ultimately, we believe that through his work, through the resurrection of the dead, we are going to be fully and finally restored in mind and in body through the resurrection. But oftentimes, I think churches focus too much on that, that physical healing now, today, and not enough on the word of the gospel that we need to be preaching. And so I think that if churches are really focused on this, and especially if they're saying, Well, if you're really a Christian, you shouldn't experience sickness or pain in your body, it means you don't have enough faith, that sort of a thing. That's called the prosperity gospel, and it's not biblical. Churches need to be focused on preaching the true gospel. That doesn't mean that we can't lay hands on people and pray for them to be healed.

James talks about this. What's the focus of the ministry? Is it the apostolic word, the preaching of the gospel, or is it something else? Are we treating physical healing and miracles as ultimate, as what we need to focus on? Or are we growing in the apostles' teaching? And so I encourage you to find a church where the word of God is being faithfully taught and where Christ and Him crucified is being placarded before you through the preached word every single Sunday. And it's the glory of God that is the focus. And again, that's not to minimize or discount praying for our temporal needs, praying for physical healing. It's just many churches, when they begin to focus on that, we have this faith healing ministry, and that becomes the subject of the conversation, I think we can start to go astray.

And so I appreciate your question, and thanks for giving us a call. One of the other things I love about that story, about the paralytic, is the great lengths that his friends went to to get him before Jesus. And I often think, will we go through those great lengths to bring our non-believing friends before Jesus? That's a great point, Bill.

Yeah, it really is beautiful, isn't it? There's a lot of interesting things in that text, right? They bring him. Now obviously he had faith, but it doesn't say anything in the text about his faith.

It's the friends that are bringing him. And they too have faith, it seems. We know that Jesus can work in your life, and so we ought to have that same faith for our loved ones who are bent over in sin and desperately in need of the grace of God.

So well said. This is CORE Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open right now at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Michelle, calling in from Missouri. Michelle, what's your question for Adriel?

Hi, thank you for taking my question. I was involved in a marriage for over 30 years, married to a man who professed to be a Christian. He is an alcoholic. It was very verbally and emotionally abusive. At one point he admitted to having what he called a fling with someone, and I chose to forgive him. I left several times, but I kept struggling with the fact that I made a vow before God.

I finally left over two years ago now when he threatened to shoot me. And I'm struggling with being involved in a relationship with anyone else, because I know what the Bible says, and I truly, truly want a life that honors God. But I don't believe that God would have anyone stay in a physically, emotionally, or otherwise abusive relationship.

So would you just like your thoughts on that, please? First, Michelle, I'm so sorry to hear about the abuse that you endured, and I can tell, just listening to you, how you fought for your marriage, and how above everything else you wanted to honor the Lord. And you take that covenant, that vow in marriage seriously, and you should, we all should, especially as Christians. Now, it sounds to me like, based on how he treated you, I mean, you have two things here. You have kind of, I mean, just functional abandonment, threatening you, threatening your life.

Also, it sounds like there was a situation where he cheated on you as well. And so, you know, Jesus does say that there are some things that can and do legitimately dissolve a marriage. It doesn't mean that we have to separate, you know, if there's been adultery or infidelity. But if an individual is acting in that way, you're not bound to them necessarily.

In other words, that can and has legitimately dissolved marriages. Now, obviously, you can't control your husband's behavior, what he's doing, whether or not he wants to love you as Christ loved the church as he's called to, as he was called to. But your question now is, can I, with a clear conscience, enter into another relationship? It doesn't seem to me like you're the guilty party here for having gotten into a situation where you're safe, for separating from your husband. Now, Michelle, are you guys divorced now? Yes, sir, we've been divorced. Well, we've been apart for over two years. The divorce was finally legal last May, June.

May, June. Sorry. Okay.

Yeah. So again, I mean, obviously, it's always a heartbreaking situation, and, you know, our relationships are not supposed to be this way. But I don't think that you should feel guilty, or like, you know, you're not able to enter into a new relationship, a Christian relationship that's honoring to the Lord. I don't think that you're bound to this abusive and unfaithful husband.

I mean, obviously, you guys are divorced now. But it seems to me like, based on his behavior, the things that he was doing according to Scripture, that you did have legitimate grounds for divorce, according to Jesus and according to the Bible. And so, you know, of course, you know, we have a sensitive conscience about these things, and we want to honor the Lord, and it is so devastating when a marriage is sad, when a marriage ends.

It's not supposed to be this way. Jesus highlights that in Matthew 19 in his teaching about divorce. Nevertheless, I do think that, you know, seeking to honor the Lord and to walk with the Lord, you know, that you shouldn't feel like, well, I can't now be with someone and have a God-honoring relationship. So long as they're a Christian, right, so long as they're in the Lord, as Paul tells the Corinthian church, for example, in 1 Corinthians 7, I think that you do have that freedom. I would encourage you, you know, this is where the church is so important.

You have people who hopefully are walking alongside of you, and I hope that you had people that were walking alongside of you back when you were going through all of this, in situations where you do have an abusive husband making threats and doing these kinds of things. I mean, this is where the church does need to step in and exercise church discipline. And when an individual fails to repent to say, okay, well, you're excommunicated from the church, we're treating you as a non-believer because of how you're treating your spouse.

I mean, Paul, you know, what does Paul tell Timothy? If a man doesn't care for his own, for his own household, he's denied the faith and he's worse than an unbeliever. And certainly, you know, if a husband is threatening to harm his spouse and doing all of these things, what he's doing is he's not caring for his own.

He's abusing, he's harming them. It's a heinous sin in the sight of God. And so I just pray that the Lord continues to grant you healing, Michelle, that you do have a solid church that is encouraging you and walking alongside of you. And I think that you can pursue a relationship, a marriage with a Christian man that's honoring to the Lord. And so may God be with you, may God grant you continued wisdom. Of course, you know, I'm on the outside, so my advice would be, you know, also speak to your pastor and the people who know you very well and have these conversations with them.

I think that's key. But just based on the little information that you've given me, trying to apply some passages of scripture here and hope that they're encouraging to you. God bless you, Michelle. Michelle, thanks so much for your call. We'll be praying for you and we feel for you in that whole situation. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Our phone lines are open. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can call us at 833-THE-CORE. By the way, I want to mention a great resource that we have available on our website. It's all about the names of God. Yeah, get a hold of this resource, diving into some of the different names that you find in scripture, how God reveals himself as our Father, as the God who is with us, Emmanuel. So important for us as we think about who God is to allow him to introduce himself, you know, not to create God in our own image or to imagine him however we want to imagine him, but to say, okay, Lord, you come to me, you reveal yourself to me through your holy and inspired word.

And that's precisely what God does with some of these names that we find in scripture. And again, the resource is called Five Names of God You Should Know, and it's free. You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. By the way, I want to mention that Core Christianity is a listener supported ministry. We don't get money from a big church or denomination. We don't play commercials on this program.

There's no radio station that's underwriting our program. We depend on people just like you to make regular gifts to stay on the air. So if you believe in what we do here at Core Christianity, we would encourage you to make a gift at corechristianity.com. Well, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners.

This is Rosie. My question is, I'm sitting here debating on whether to go to my church today or not. When I go, I don't feel the Holy Spirit there.

I don't feel fulfilled. And it's pretty much a traditional seven-day Adventist church, but it's not growing, and I'm conflicted. So if anybody can help me sort it out because I have to fellowship. I know that's scripture. But I don't feel the Holy Spirit when I go.

Help me to resolve this if you can. Thank you. Well, Rosie, thank you for giving us a call with your question.

A couple of things. First and foremost, what I want to say to you is true churches are churches that preach the Word of God faithfully, that administer the ordinances that Jesus gave to us in accordance with the Word of God, where there's fellowship and discipline, a concern for the body, for the members, for their spiritual well-being, for their growth and grace. This is the marks of true churches. And in true churches, we know where the Word of God is faithfully preached, we're not always going to feel, quote-unquote, the Holy Spirit, right? God promises to meet us through His Word and Spirit by means of the preaching of the gospel, by means of those ordinances.

And so we ought to go, I think, to church with that confidence, with that hope. God, it's not so much about my feelings, whether or not I'm connecting with a particular song at a given moment or whatnot, but you have promised to meet with me in the bread and the wine, in the preaching of your Word. Now, if those things aren't happening, if the Word of God is not being faithfully proclaimed, well, then there's a problem. And if the Word of God is not being preached because the Spirit works with the Word, then I think, yeah, you do need to find another church. Now, I don't know about this particular congregation that you're in.

I know that I would have some differences, theological differences, with traditions like the Seventh-day Adventist tradition, especially with regard to how they understand the Sabbath and the way in which we observe the Sabbath today, and probably some other things as well. Nevertheless, what I would say and what I want to encourage all of our listeners with is, look, sometimes we tie the presence of God too much to our feelings. You know, how did I feel during the worship at that church, the songs that were sung? That's not to minimize our feelings or to say that they're irrelevant. No, I think we ought to, as we're drawing near to the Lord. There is an experience of, you know, man, I'm worshiping this God who's been so good to me.

Emotions are involved in that. But the presence of God is tied not so much to our feelings, but to his Word and promise. And so, is the Word of God being preached? Are his promises being exhibited in baptism in the Lord's Supper?

That's what we want to sink our teeth into. And so we want to go to church with the confidence that God is in fact meeting us. We're not always going to feel him per se, but that he's there as he's promised according to his Word. And I am laying hold of that Word, clinging to that Word, sinking my teeth into that Word in the Lord's Supper. And so that's, I think, the encouragement, because I think if we're going primarily off of how I feel, you know, am I having an experience, a feeling of God? Two things happen. One, now churches are focused on, well, how can we help to manufacture that feeling? And so they're less focused on actually preaching the Word and administering the ordinances or the sacraments, and more focused on interested in, okay, how can we produce this emotional experience for people to have?

And that just becomes a vicious cycle. But two, we really become devastated when it's like, I don't have that feeling. God doesn't feel close to me anymore.

Maybe he's left me. And so we want to be careful that we don't, again, root our experience of God's presence, you know, in our feelings, because our feelings come and go, but his Word is sure and steadfast. That's what we need to cling to. God bless you, and God give you wisdom in determining, okay, do I stay here? Is the Word of God being preached, and this is more of a personal thing? Or maybe I need to go somewhere where the Word is more faithfully proclaimed, and where I can sink my teeth into it, as it were.

Good counsel. Thanks for that, Adriel. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Terry calling in from Oklahoma.

Terry, what's your question for Adriel? Good afternoon. Thank you for taking my call. Recently, the Methodist Church allowed homosexuals to be in the pulpit, and that's caused a lot of problems, especially here in the Bible Belt. My family and I were Methodists. I left, and I go to a Baptist Church now, but it's a really difficult topic for us here in Oklahoma. If you could give us some wisdom, we'd appreciate it. Thank you.

Hey, Terry, thank you for that question. Just, you know, to answer your question from the outside, I mean, I think that this is heartbreaking. It's devastating. It's one of the ways that broader culture and the sexual ethic of the world is entering into churches and undermining, I think, the clear teaching of the Bible. And so when you have church leaders' denominations embracing it, I think what that's a sign of is apostasy, is turning away from the truth of God's Word and what He's revealed, and again, going the way of the world.

Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Terry, it's interesting because Jesus speaks to the various churches that were there in Asia Minor, and all of those churches faced different challenges, different struggles as they sought to be faithful to God. Some of them were being tempted to be insular and not reach out to their neighbors, not exhibit the love of God to the people around them, so they were this sort of holy huddle of believers. Others, their temptation was to allow the idolatry and paganism of the world to creep into the church.

Others, it was the sexual immorality of the world that was so rampant there in the Greco-Roman world that had begun to influence the church so that you had leaders that were engaging in sexual immorality. And I think that's what we're seeing today, and it's important for churches to be faithful to the Word of God and to God. That doesn't mean that we don't love homosexuals, that we don't seek to reach them with the gospel and call them to repentance and faith in Jesus. The good news of the gospel is for them, just as much as it is for any sinner, if they'll turn to Jesus and receive His grace.

But to say, well, we're just going to embrace this, so much so that we're going to platform individuals as preachers and teachers who are gay and lesbian and celebrate this. To do that, that's apostasy. You're no longer holding to the authority of Scripture, and so it breaks my heart. And I think Christians, people who are seeking to be faithful to God, who are in churches that are going this way, need to find new churches, sadly. Pray for those churches. Pray that they would turn back to the truth, that they would have a sense of conviction over sin.

You know, it was the false prophets in Israel in the Old Testament who were saying to the Israelites, peace, peace, where there was no peace. God isn't going to judge your sin. It's fine. You can live however you want.

You can do whatever you want. God loves you and accepts you just the way you are. They justified people's sin. The Gospel justifies sinners by giving them grace and repentance. God bless Terry. 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 / 2024-05-21 19:51:55 / 2024-05-21 20:01:36 / 10

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