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How Can I Store up Treasures in Heaven?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2024 6:05 pm

How Can I Store up Treasures in Heaven?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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June 7, 2024 6:05 pm

Episode 1506 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

  1. How can I focus better during prayer? 2. Why don't Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses preach the true gospel? 3. How do I store up treasures in Heaven? 4. Am I wrong for wanting images of "white Jesus" removed from my church?     Today’s Offer: How To Keep Your Faith After High School   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 I store up treasures in heaven? 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. We pray that your Friday is going well. And you can post your question on one of our social media sites, including Instagram and YouTube.

You can actually watch us live on either of those right now and send us your question. You can also email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Well, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners.

This is Roseanne from Arkansas. I had a question. I've been a Christian for many years, decades, actually. I'm so grateful. And by the way, thank you so much for your show. I really enjoy listening to your answers.

But my question is this. Lately, I have been so distracted with different thoughts, and I know we all struggle with the discipline of prayer. But I feel like I'm a somewhat maturing Christian.

Why am I battling this so much lately? I feel like every time I sit down to pray, I can focus for just a small amount of time and my mind starts wandering. I am getting older, so I don't know if that has anything to do with it.

I'll be 64 this year. But I am thinking about getting Pastor Adriel's book on prayer. I wonder if you address that in the book. Thank you, and God bless you and your ministry.

Roseanne, thank you so much. I do actually talk about this at some length in the book, and I can totally sympathize with you in that struggle. We close our eyes to pray, and our body thinks it's time to go to sleep. Or we start our prayer, Dear Jesus, and then halfway through the prayer, we're having a conversation with a coworker in our mind or something like that.

So this is a real challenge. I think there's a reason why Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane told the disciples, Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We struggle with this. We get tired, we get distracted, and so it's not something that you've got to beat yourself up about. Again, we recognize that this is something that we just all have to deal with, but there are some strategies you can employ that I think are helpful. One of the things that I found really helpful, at least with regard to not losing my train of thought or getting distracted, is getting a prayer journal. Writing your prayers out, because as you're writing, it's a lot more difficult to start thinking about something else. Writing your prayers can be really helpful. By the way, one of the things that's great about a prayer journal is a lot of the prayers you forget about are still there. You can go back and look at it and see how the Lord answered your prayers.

It's amazing to me. Sometimes I'll look at prayers that I made a long time ago that I didn't even remember, and God didn't forget those prayers. I can see now how he answered those prayers. That's one thing you can do. Another thing you can do is, sometimes we just sit down and we feel like, I don't know what to pray. Using the Lord's Prayer is kind of a rubric.

That can be really helpful. That can help us to focus, whether it's praying the entire Lord's Prayer or just focusing on one petition in particular and unpacking that. That's another thing that I try to do in the book, is help to dive deep in each of the petitions so you know what it is that you're praying and what you're requesting and how God answers those prayers. That's another thing that you can do to grow in this. Don't be discouraged.

Continue to offer your heart to the Lord in prayer. Another thing that I would say is, you're right on when you say the discipline of prayer is something that's not easy, something that we're all trying to grow in, but recognizing that it is just that. It is a discipline. It does require intentionality and effort to come before the Lord. I think a lot of times people think, well, prayer should just be so easy, like breathing.

It should just sort of flow out of us. Sometimes it does, but a lot of times we have to be disciplined and say, okay, I'm going to spend some time in the presence of the Lord coming before him. When I don't know what to pray, I'm going to use the Lord's Prayer or I'm going to read Scripture. Oftentimes, I think reading Scripture is a really helpful way to sort of jumpstart your prayers. As you're looking at the text of Scripture and you're beginning to ask questions or you're moved by something or you're convicted by something, often it leads to prayer. Don't fail to incorporate Bible reading in that time of devotion or time of prayer, because oftentimes God uses that to stir up your own heart. Roseanne, Lord bless you. Thank you for calling us. As you continue to grow in Christ, may the Lord just strengthen your faith and strengthen your prayers as well.

What a wonderful thing. I think she speaks for so many of us who get distracted in prayer. I know it's been a frustration of mine for a long time because I have a pretty active mind when I'm praying. You start thinking about, you're praying about something, and then what I do, Adriel, is then I figure out the solution, my own solution to the problem rather than relying on God in the prayer. Like I said, it's so easy to go from praying about this person that I'm upset with to now I'm having a conversation with that person in my mind and totally owning them in an argument or something like that.

It's like, wait, Lord, no, this is not what was supposed to happen. There's that weakness that we all bring to the table. It does highlight, we're so dependent upon the Lord, even when it comes to offering up our prayers. I think it was Charles Spurgeon who said, even our best offerings, even our best prayers need to be sprinkled with the atoning blood of Jesus. I have to pray to God to forgive my prayers, Spurgeon said. Why?

Because we are so easily distracted. We do come faithlessly at times. And so, again, don't beat yourself up about that, but recognize it and humble yourself before the Lord and offer even that to Him as a prayer. Say, God, I don't even want to pray like I should.

Help! That's a legitimate prayer. And, frankly, it's a prayer that I've prayed in my life.

Yeah, me too. Well said. 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. Maybe there is a passage of scripture that's always been tough for you to really understand.

Well, Adriel can dig into that with you and help you understand exactly what it means in its context. Also, if there's something going on in your church that's maybe in your church life that is either confusing to you or concerning to you in some way, I'd be glad to talk to you about that. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. Our phone lines will be open for the next 15 minutes or so.

833-THE-CORE or 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Jim from Nebraska. Jim, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, thank you for my call. My question is, why don't your Catholics, your Mormons, and your JWs preach the gospel, true gospel?

Thank you. Hey, Jim, thank you for calling us. Now, I would not put, even though I have serious disagreements with Roman Catholicism, I would not categorize Roman Catholics personally, together with JWs and Mormons. You know, the JWs and Mormons, part of the reason they don't preach the true gospel is because they don't believe in the true God. They reject the proper understanding of the Trinity. You know, the JWs reject the deity of Christ. They think that Jesus is the first created being.

And so he's in the category of creature, not creator. And so we're not even talking about the same God anymore. JWs, Mormons, they're outside of the bounds of the Christian faith. And listen, if you're listening to the broadcast right now and you're a JWs or a Mormon, we've had people, I mean, last time I said this, I think we got a call or two or an email, people saying, you know, how could you say that?

I am a Christian, just like you're a Christian. Well, I would just appeal to you and say, we might use similar language, and the Mormons especially do this. You know, they'll talk about grace, they'll talk about Heavenly Father, they'll talk about the gospel.

But a lot of it is equivocation. In other words, they define those things very different from how the church, how the Christian church has defined those things for a long time. So it's highly deceptive, because they sort of woo people in and say, oh, you know, we're Christians just like everybody else, or, you know, we believe in the gospel. But the question is, how do you define that? And when you begin to unpack some of those things, you quickly realize, oh, we're talking about two different things here, we're talking about two different religions.

And that's where there are some serious, serious problems. I would appeal to my Mormon friends, Jehovah's Witness friends, to turn to the scriptures, and not as they've been interpreted by those organizations, but as they've been interpreted by the church historically, to understand the gospel. And, you know, I just have a heart for, I've had several Mormon friends over the years that I want to see experience the true grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we can say all sorts of nice things about, you know, Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses or any religious group for that matter. We can say, oh man, such nice people, family values. But the real question is, do they get the gospel right? And Jim, they don't. Now, with regard to Roman Catholics, the big difference there is, you know, they confess the creed, they believe in the Trinity, they believe in the deity of Christ.

And so, man, that's something to celebrate, that we're on the same page there. There are differences between Catholics and Protestants, certainly on the question of the gospel, and in particular on the nature of justification. That's why there was this big old Protestant Reformation. And, you know, Paul, in the book of Galatians, he's warning the Christians in Galatia because they had begun to drift away from the gospel. Other people were coming and preaching a different gospel by adding to it, by adding, you know, you've got to obey the law of Moses.

Here's some other things you need to do if you really want to be justified. And so any system of religion, any religious system that adds to the good news of the gospel, our works, in order to be justified before a holy God, corrupts the pure gospel. And I think that's where the Protestant Reformers were saying about the Roman Catholic Church, okay, you guys are mingling works here in a way that we're not comfortable with and in a way that we don't think the Bible teaches. And so that's where there's the big debate there.

And if you're more curious about that, we have that resource. Bill, don't we, you know... What still divides us? What still divides us? Yeah, what's the difference?

I forget. What still divides us? Which does unpack some of those differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics. And so maybe consider getting a hold of that resource. You know, yeah, we want to say we love our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. And if you want to get that resource, we think it will be really helpful to understand what Adriel is talking about, those significant differences between Protestants and Catholics that are still very vital and viable in the church today. So check that out.

It's called What Still Divides Us. You can find that at CoreChristianity.com. Well, we're taking your calls here at the Core.

If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we would love to hear from you. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. It's graduation season. So many high schoolers graduating. Maybe this week you've got a high schooler in your home or maybe your grandson or granddaughter is graduating. And just in time for graduation, we've prepared a wonderful resource that we think will help equip your young person as they head out either into college or the working world or the military to keep their faith.

That's right. It's called How to Keep Your Faith After High School. Here are the chapter titles, part one, or the sections of the book. Get the Gospel Right, part two, Belong in a True Church.

We get that question on the broadcast from time to time. Well, how do I know what church to pick or what is a true church? Part three, Know What You Believe and Why, and part four, Cling to the Goodness of God.

A great resource for you or for your friend or child or grandchild graduating from high school. We're moving on from there to continue to grow in their understanding of the Christian faith. So get ahold of How to Keep Your Faith After High School. You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core.

You can call us 24 hours a day and leave your question for Adriel. Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Darren. My question is about rewards. I'm just kind of stumped about Jesus says, store up treasures in heaven.

I thought entering heaven was going to be this greatest thing ever. So what is it about rewards and treasures and how do we store those up? I know it's not by works that were saved. Well, if there's rewards, is it based on my works here, by volunteering and church attendance? What are those treasures?

How do I get those? How do I store those up in heaven? That's my question.

Thank you. I love this question, and it brings us right to Matthew chapter 6 verse 19 and what follows. And I'm going to read it, but here, thinking about Jesus giving us investment advice, that's what he's doing here. He's saying, here's how to invest. And there are a lot of people, even a lot of people who have a lot of earthly possessions, who are making poor investment decisions according to Jesus. We're not talking mutual funds either.

Yeah, I don't even know what that is. So, Matthew chapter 6 verse 19, our Lord Jesus said, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there, your heart will be also.

Now, I'm going to keep reading because this is a section here dealing with money and possessions. Verse 22, he says, The eye is the lamp of the body, so if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.

If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness? Verse 24, No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. So again, we're talking about how to lay up treasures in heaven, and Jesus is saying that's where you want to invest. And in particular, the context here, he's talking about how we use the resources that God has given to us. In verse 22, it's really interesting, the eye is the lamp of the body, so if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.

But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. That's probably alluding to Deuteronomy 15, verse 9, where it talks about having a stingy eye towards your brother who's in need, not willing to give to the one who is poor and needy, your brother. And of course, you see this again and again in the Gospels, through Jesus' teaching, you see this in James' epistle as well.

Let's not love just in how we talk, but in word and in deed. If somebody comes in among you who is in need and you say, Ah, go in peace, be warmed, be filled, but you don't give that person what they need. Well, that's not what God calls you to.

That's not true love. And so investing in heaven looks like investing in those things that God calls us to invest in, where the return is not always immediate or even here on earth. You know, Jesus oftentimes talks about giving to those who cannot pay you back.

And your Father in heaven, he says, will reward you. Proverbs is this great proverb that says, He who lends to the poor, or he who gives to the poor lends to the Lord, and God will repay. And so a part of it here is, I think, for those who are in need, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, and when we do that, even recognize that they can't pay me back, I'm not doing this to put on a show, Jesus says you're investing in God's kingdom. And I also think we're investing in the kingdom of God when we support the advancement of the gospel through the work of the local church, through the work of missionaries, giving a tithe or an offering to the church, supporting the work of the gospel. That's investing in the kingdom of God. And so God help all of us, as God blesses us with whatever it is that He's ordained for us to have, to use those resources that the Lord has given to us, not just to build our own kingdom, to store up treasures here on earth, but to invest in His kingdom.

And what a wonderful thing that is. He'll appreciate your question, brother, and in some way, you know, we don't know what all that's going to look like when we enter into heaven. You know, he said, well, how's that going to be?

I don't know. But Jesus is very clear that God is going to reward us for those things. And so I can say it's going to be awesome.

It's going to be awesome. Appreciate the question. God bless you, and God help all of us. Lord, help us to lay up treasures in heaven. Amen. Darren, thanks so much for your call, for your voicemail.

We appreciate hearing from you. This is CORE Christianity. Let's go to Teresa is on the line from Indiana.

Teresa, what's your question for Adriel? Well, I haven't been wanting to go to church lately. I haven't been in church in about two months, and I've been very active part of my bereavement ministry at church.

And one of the reasons I haven't been there is because something's been bothering me for a couple of years. And what's been bothering me is that they asked for suggestions from the congregation about what can change in the church climate. And my biggest thing is when they put up the information on the overhead screen for worship and on the church bulletin, they always have to print a picture of Jesus on there.

And of course, he's always usually blonde hair and blue-eyed. Now, they say that they want to be inclusive as far as any ethnicity coming to Jesus, and I tell them that that's counterproductive because when people look at that, they say, well, you know, that's not for me because they're saying that I have to believe in what this person looks like. And nobody's ever seen Jesus, so I suggest it to my pastor that they can just use a silhouette of a person. You don't need to put an actual photograph on there or of what you think Jesus may look like because I think that that pushes a lot of people away from Christianity. And I just kind of wonder, am I off base with that or am I just being superficial because it's really been weighing heavily on my heart.

Teresa, let me just say, God bless you, sister. I don't think that you're off base at all for a couple of reasons. One, I don't think we should be printing pictures of Jesus in our bulletins. I mean, Jesus is God, the Lord, and no one has ever seen, you know, a picture of Jesus.

So, you know, I just don't think that it's helpful. And not only do I think that it's not helpful, I think that it goes against the second commandment, not to make images of God. And so I know that this is a debate in the church. You know, the earliest Christians, Teresa, they didn't make images of Jesus or of God. They didn't have those kinds of things in worship because they said our God is in the heavens.

He does what he pleases. All these other pagans around us, yeah, they've got their images of their gods that they carry around, but our God is in the heavens. We can't see him, but we love him, and we worship him, and we're commanded not to make images like everybody else. And so now, again, I know that not everybody agrees with that, but I think we've got to go to the Scriptures and say, well, what do the Scriptures say? But I also think that another problem is it does create these other issues where it's like, okay, well, is that Jesus?

Is that what he looked like? We know he was a true human, but is that who he's for only? And so it does raise these other issues. What I will say to you is, ma'am, I recognize that this is obviously hurtful or bothersome to you, and especially if you want the church to continue to grow, and you want it to be a place where everybody feels welcome and you feel like, man, this isn't helping with that, I think that you're making a valid point. But I also think, and here's where I want to encourage you, sister, I also think that each of us does need to be in church, worshiping with the people of God. Now, it may be that for one reason or another, the church that you've been in, that's just not the right place for you. You want to be somewhere where the Word of God is taken seriously, where they do care about being a welcoming community, not where you're bending over backwards to, you know, well, we're making the worship service all about people and not about God. No, the focus needs to be God and on right worship. But we all, as followers of Jesus, need to be committed to local churches. So I think you do have reason to be frustrated about this, and I think you have biblical reason to be frustrated about this, and yet don't let that turn into bitterness, and don't let it keep you from worship and church. Now, maybe that means you need to have more conversations with the leadership there to determine, okay, is this the right place for me and for my family? And if not, then finding a good church, a solid church, where the focus is on the gospel and rightly preaching the Word of God, and they're not doing things like printing images of Jesus and, you know, the bulletin or whatever. But just, you know, I see it happen all too often where, you know, something like this happens and people feel pushed out of the church, and then they never get back in.

They never re-engage. I want you to engage. I want you to continue to grow in your relationship with the Lord. I think that you do have, you know, valid reasons to be concerned and frustrated, but press into your local church, and if it doesn't work out there, don't abandon the church altogether. Continue to worship the Lord because he calls us to worship him, and he calls us to grow together with other believers, and that's one of the things that, if you listen to the broadcast, I know you've heard us emphasize this. You know, none of us are supposed to be doing the Christian thing in isolation on our own.

A relationship with Jesus is personal, but it isn't private. We need that accountability. We need that encouragement. We need to be under the ministry of the Word week in and week out, hearing the promises of the Gospel, fellowshipping with other people, using our gifts for the edification of the body, and I don't want you to lose that, sister. May God bless you. May God comfort you. May Jesus encourage you in your love for him. Thanks. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-07 21:36:37 / 2024-06-07 21:47:01 / 10

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