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Can Departed Saints Pray for Us Who Are Still Alive?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
June 3, 2020 1:00 am

Can Departed Saints Pray for Us Who Are Still Alive?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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June 3, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 458 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

Key questions answered in today's show:

1. Can we be filled the Holy Spirit by asking to be filled with him? How do I receive the Holy Spirit like on Pentecost? 

2. I have often heard people say after the death of a loved one, "I really miss my dad, but I know that he is now looking out for me." They often point to rainbows, white feathers, or other "signs" of evidence of their loved one's continuing presence in their lives. As a pastor, I have struggled with how to respond to this idea. I know that for them it is sentimentally comforting and helpful, but I also know that it is a false comfort. A believer who dies is in the presence of God, not floating about over us. And a non-believer has his attention quite occupied in other ways. Even though I have taught about our hope in Christ and the reality for a believer that being absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, members of my own congregation would say things like this. Any thoughts on what one can say to popular but misguided thoughts about death? 

3. Do Satanists and witches blaspheme the Holy Spirit? Is that true? Can anyone be forgiven?

4. Thanks for your radio program. What you’re doing is important because I don’t see that most believers have a basic knowledge of what the Bible teaches.  I listen to you while I work in my engineering office. Here is my question:  can the believers who have already gone to heaven pray for us still on earth?

Resources

The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption by Dennis Johnson

Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification by Sinclair B. Ferguson

Request our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone.

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Can the believers who already gone to heaven. Pray for those of us who remain on earth. That's just one of the questions will be answering on today's edition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer along with Pastor Adrian 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 email us with your question at questions at core, Christianity.com and you can post your question on our Facebook page or Instagram page will first up today we have a good news story to share with you.

It's about a devoted dad who drove more than a thousand miles round-trip in one day just so he could spend half an hour with his daughter and wish her a happy birthday during the coronavirus lockdown.

His name is Julio's the girl he's 53 years old and he spent 17 hours on the road driving from El Paso Texas to Austin Texas and back so he could join his daughter Diana for a socially distant lunch. On her 19th birthday Julio was a realtor. He drove 8 1/2 hours each way for a total of 1152 miles in one day. Got up at three in the morning. Diana says dad brings me that sandwich for lunch on my birthday every year so far he hasn't missed one of them, that's a beautiful one of these days and a drill. You will be driving to bring your daughter a special thing yeah, yeah.

I hope the sandwich. She's pretty.

Her taste is that she likes shrimp and all that expensive stuff still help you satisfied with this, and if I can with dinner a sandwich for her birthday. I think I think that would be pretty good so Felix expensive how Lucy will she's like to think everything she was little she is only six years old but she still makes you once the steak and shrimp and all that stuff FF everyone expensive wedding reception.

Someday dad when it I don't want to go to our first call of the day.

By the way, you can call us at 833.

The core that's 833-843-2673 hi my name is Stuart, I'm calling from Grafton, North Dakota, and I'm just wondering if we can have the Holy Spirit through asking to be filled. I know that we receive the Holy Spirit when we become a Christian. I know like the early disciples after Jesus had reason to heaven they received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. So how can we receive the Holy Spirit like that when an excellent question Stuart and one that I've actually just been thinking about because this last Sundays. You may know was Pentecost Sunday and Christian traditions. Remember that event next chapter to Pentecost the giving of the Holy Spirit night. I just preached on acts chapter 2 verses one through four. So this is fresh on my mind and I want to unpack that text for you right now, but first I'll just say yes we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. So there's this distinction in Scripture between being sealed by the Holy Spirit and in your right every Christian, every believer in Jesus Christ is sealed with the Holy Spirit. The spirit of God lives in us also were the temple of the Holy Spirit in first Corinthians chapter 6, so we each are born again sealed by the Holy Spirit, and yet it does seem like when you read the New Testament, there are these continual fillings that the people of God experience you see that in the book of acts is welding of the disciples.

Pray for boldness and ask chapter 4 and there filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul the apostle, he commands the Ephesians releases be filled with the Holy Spirit and so this is something that were called to experience as the believers of God, the filling of the Holy Spirit, but I think there's a lot of confusion today about how it is that that happens, and there are people who are looking for a repetition of Pentecost was want to have that miraculous experience associated with the gift of tongues or some other miraculous phenomena, we should expect Pentecost to be relived today and I think that's not the right way to approach this Pentecost was a unique event in the history of redemption.

It's a historical event. It's something that happened but which you and I experience the blessings and benefits of right now, today we have the spirit of God in us because of what Jesus did on the day of Pentecost. So what is look at that text really quickly. Ask chapter 2 verses one through four. Listen to what Luke wrote is when the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind. It filled the entire house where they were sitting in divided tongues as of fire appeared to them, and rested on each one of them and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Okay, so there is a lot of really cool things that are happening in this passage that I think we missed kind of on a surface reading of the text I want to I want to unpack some of those things for you Stuart, first, the spirit of God that came on the day of Pentecost was the spirit of the new creation in verse two of acts chapter 2 to suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind will that word wind is a unique word. Often times in the New Testament. There's another word for wind that's used. Luke uses a word that's rare here. He actually use it later in acts chapter 17, where he's describing Paul's sermon on the Areopagus, what Paul says God gives to all life breath and all things, the word Luke uses in acts chapter 2 verse two can also be translated breath it's it's almost as if he could be saying this mighty sound like a breath from heaven came in on the disciples as if God is breathing on to the disciples.

The church, it reminds us of that text way back in Genesis chapter 2 verse seven when God first created man and he breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living being.

In fact, in Genesis chapter 2 verse seven.

The Greek translation of the Old Testament the word that's used for breath.

There is the exact same word that Luke uses here in acts chapter 2 the mighty rushing wind so one of the things that Luke is trying to do this is you try to reveal to us that on Pentecost. God was beginning this new creation in the church and you think of what Paul says, for example, he says if you are in Christ.

You are a new creation really is so remarkable you know we oftentimes we think of Pentecost.

We think it's all about the miraculous signs and wonders the gift of tongues but really what it's about is this new creation work of God in the church.

Let me give you another really cool thing that we see here on the day of Pentecost. It's this picture of fiery tongues over the heads of the disciples to catch that. He says in chapter 2 verse three and divided tongues as of fire appeared to them, and rested on each of them now fire in the Bible is oftentimes a symbol of judgment, but it's also oftentimes a symbol of God's presence.

Think of when Moses first encountered the presence of God in Exodus chapter 3 he encountered God in the bush that was what on fire when God led the children of Israel out of Egypt through the wilderness. He was leading them, guiding them by what a pillar of fire in Exodus chapter 40 verse 38, when the tabernacle was completed were told that the fire rested on the tabernacle. It was a sign of God's presence. No fire shows us this is where God lives. God's thing on the day of Pentecost, my people, the church. This is my new temple, the fire of my presence is in my people in Stuart. That's so important for us to understand we as the people of God are the new temple of God, the Spirit of God. The fire of God's presence lives in us and were called to take God's holy presence throughout the world by sharing Jesus. That's another one of the beautiful things that we see in this text, the spirit comes in. The disciples all begin to speak in different languages but not all speaking Hebrew or Aramaic, or English or Spanish. You know, they're speaking different languages and it's a sign of the fact that the gospel message is meant to go out throughout the whole world.

Pentecost is about empowering the church for the mission of spreading Jesus. Jesus himself said in acts chapter 1 verse eight. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria. The uttermost parts of the earth.

See, I think a lot of people today are confused about Pentecost. We think about Pentecost primarily is as know it's it's about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and in miracles and speaking in tongues know it's really about the fact that the church is the new creation new temple filled with the Holy Spirit to carry the message of the gospel to the ends of the earth, and if your Christian story are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Your your your born again or call to walk in the spirit as well and you can ask God every day. I asked the Lord every single day. Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit today again. You know that how that happens, happens to the word of God is the word of Christ dwells in us richly.

More and more we are filled with the Holy Spirit so that we might take the message of Christ to the ends of the earth, and that's what Pentecost is all about starting a little bit longer there on that on that question stupid. It's so important. As I said we just celebrated Attica Sunday this last Sunday God bless you as you continue to seek the Lord Israel am so glad that you gave that perspective on the purpose of the infilling of the Holy Spirit is to spread the gospel far and wide, is to empower us to share Christ with others and it's not about personal feelings or emotions. It's what is God doing through us yet we always need to focus on that. I think unfortunately there are some people that have turned that the Holy Spirit into somehow this special you'll gimme gimme gimme. I need this in my life. For me it's really for the spreading of the gospel worldwide. Now this is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and it really had an email come in from CF and he says I've often heard people say after the death of a loved one. I really miss my dad but I know he is now looking out for me.

They often point to rainbows or feathers or other signs of evidence of their loved ones continuing presence in their lives. I'm a pastor and as a biblical Christian I've struggled with how to respond to this idea. A believer who dies is in the presence of God not floating around over us, even though I've taught about our hope in Christ and the reality for a believer, the being absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Members of my own congregation will say things like this.

Any thoughts on what one can say to the popular but misguided thoughts about death yes EF thanks for the question and I totally understand the struggle is what I try to do. I sometimes try to redirect toward what the Bible actually teaches is that of being negative, saying hey you know your aunt didn't really send you that feather from heaven I'm focusing on the positive.

Here's what the Bible teaches all those who die in Christ or in the presence of the Lord and that's something that we can be sure of it.

Oftentimes I think people today are grasping for signs.

You want some kind of comfort. So we interpret the bird flu buyer. The warm breeze as God or some spirit trying to communicate with us. We know we have something way better than God's actual word to us in the Scriptures a while back some friends of ours who are Christians were over for dinner and the wife is shared how she's had a rough experience with church just feels like we need to be nice to each other without the whole religion element we were able to strike up a friendship are still friends and she shared with us one night of a time where she was out on a run and the butterfly began following her.

She felt like this butterfly was was following her as she was she was running like in that moment there was something profoundly spiritual happening as if someone or something was trying to get her attention. I didn't respond to her and say that cilia butterfly read your Bible I just as well how beautiful why because I don't know if God was using that butterfly to show her the beauty of his creation. And you know what I can affirm that good experience in pointer to the creator of all things through it.

I think of Paul at the Areopagus, and in act 17 it to mention him again. He told the pagans there that he could tell they were quite religious and eager to worship because of all the idols that they had noted. Even their stature to the unknown God and posted what you worship is unknown. Let me proclaim to you the words CF sometimes we can redirect the confusion and point back to the true Creator and Redeemer and so I think instead of you know, just squashing people's confusion is just around what a silly view. I think we can say hey let's set our eyes on Jesus, you created that butterfly you know you know who really is in control of all things all circumstances.

And this is the way of I think taking the openness that people might already have and redirecting it in a way that focuses our eyes on the teaching of Scripture and ultimately on Jesus Christ and I think that's one approached and so hopefully that helps you brother as you serve in the ministry that God has given you to do.

May the Lord bless you think it's always good to hear from another pastor and I want to encourage you in the work that you're doing CF. Thank you so much for your email.

We appreciated by the way, you can email us at questions at core, Christianity.com white oregano, given what's happening in our country right now were going through so many different things with coronavirus and now the rioting and we feel the effects in our inner families in our churches, our businesses are our whole country right now is just a point of just looking for hope and one of the things I know is that in the last couple of months.

My confidence in Christ has grown, it has to grow. Given what were going through and I know that God's grace reaches into every corner of our lives, and I'm hoping that we can keep sharing that message of hope with our listeners here core Christianity yeah yeah Bill, you're right. You know what a joy and privilege we have here core Christianity to be able to answer the hard questions of our times for our listeners.

We have you in mind.

Whether you are a skeptic or a committed Christian, a follower of Jesus, we strive to provide you with answers that not only show why Christianity is true but also why it is good and beautiful. We can't do it alone. We work alongside of a great team that helps to produce an heir. This broadcast and we all depend on your support.

So please consider joining us in our effort by donating to the mission of core Christianity through your partnership in the gospel. We can help others to live with hope, joy and confidence, not just presently.

For this moment, but eternally as a thank you for your gift of $20 or more will send you our new core Christianity Bible study on Paul's letter to the Romans.

This is a great way to grow in your understanding of the gospel and help us continue doing the same to make a donation and receive this study on the book of Romans had over the core, Christianity.com/Romans that's core Christianity.com/Romans. You can also call us at 1833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 Shirley called us from Minnesota and she had this question on her while the holy parent noncurrent capital currently in the Bible are yours to show that not everybody I've always heard that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit almost 10 yes Shirley, that's right. And that's what Jesus says bless me the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable sin. But we need to understand what it is and so if you have a Bible you could open up to Mark chapter 3 and this is where one of the text in the Gospels we get this idea of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit to begin reading and in verse 22 describes it came down from Jerusalem were saying he that is Jesus is possessed by be eligible and by the prince of demons he cast out the demons so Jesus called them to him and said to them in parables.

How can Satan cast out Satan.

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand it if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand and if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided cannot stand what is coming to an end no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man then indeed he may plunder his house. Truly I say to you all sins will be forgiven. The children of man and whatever blasphemies they utter. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness but is guilty of an eternal sin, for they were saying. He has an unclean spirit. Actually the reason I want to read the whole passage is because I think we have to understand the context if organa come to an accurate definition of what the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is not a sin that people accidentally fall into. It's not us and the people do by you know struggling with the same thing over and over, and I think I just want to say that because Satan will try to convince you, as a follower of Jesus.

The Christian who struggles with sin that you blaspheme the Holy Spirit because you done this thing again for the 10th time for the hundredth time for the thousandth time, the God is done with you all know that's not what the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is in the context of the Gospels, Jesus talks about the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

When the Pharisees, these religious leaders who knew better. They knew the word of God.

They'd seen the miracles of Jesus Christ heard his powerful preaching. They could they could refute him. They were jealous of him wicked in their heart state they see all of this and yet at the end of the day. They attributed the works of Jesus Christ.

The miracles that they were witnessing to Satan. See, it's really interesting here Shirley because at least here in Mark three isn't the which is and that Satanist we might say who are blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the religious people. It's these people who should know better. And yet they're rejecting Jesus his gospel his goodness. Even though they've seen and heard it firsthand. That's the problem. If so, Jesus says all manner of sin will be forgiven by thinkers or a really strong encouragement there for all of us really Jesus is like every sin will be forgiven.

But you know it won't be forgiven when you've heard the gospel over and over again when you've seen the change lives and yet still you rejected. You hate Jesus you so you know those Christians are just drinking bathwater there silly there fools there something wrong with all the things that are going on and they're not really changing that's not the spirit of God. That's witchcraft that's voodoo.

Jesus says be careful if we hear the gospel over and over and over again we experience the grace of God through the preaching of the word and we just reject it. We turn away from Jesus Christ and don't have faith. Well, there is no forgiveness for that unpardonable sin is rejecting Jesus Christ unbelief. I think that's what Jesus is getting at here and so it's interesting you. There are people Shirley who are asked Satanist, which is who have turned to Jesus Christ and experience the forgiveness of their sins, as though I wouldn't say that someone who is involved in pagan practices can come to the Lord know God calls them to himself. He says repent.

Come to me and the blood of Jesus Christ will wash away all of your sins is so surly it it isn't, you know that Satanist in which is black to me. They might have that I don't know we don't know who who is blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

But if somebody does have faith and they turn away from Jesus repeatedly. While there's no hope for that person but we always want to hold out hope for those who turn to Christ because we know that when we do turn to Christ, God forgives us of the great hopeful message drill. This is core Christianity, and it we have one last question for the day. This one comes from Larry. He says thanks for your radio program what you're doing is so important because I don't see that most believers have a basic knowledge of what the Bible teaches. I listen to you while I work in my engineering office and here's my question. Can the believers who have already gone to heaven. Pray for us still on earth. Yeah Larry what a good question and I know that there are different traditions that teach that. Yes, those who have gone into heaven can pray for us and that we should beseech their prayers you think of the Roman Catholic Church. Think of other traditions as well.

I don't think that that's that's been what I think we should request them to pray for something in Scripture that would give us an indication that we can talk to the church that is gone before us and asked them to pray for us. There is one church and we sometimes distinguish between the church militant is the church that is still here on earth, advancing the gospel through the preaching of the word believers right now in the church triumphant. Those who have gone before us were in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ right now worshiping him, praising him and can they pray for us. I think so and I think that they do about one passage I go to his Revelation chapter 6 verses nine and 10 it says when he opened the fifth feel I saw under the altar the souls of those who would been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne they cried out with a loud voice, no sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth's right that you have the martyrs underneath the throne, praying to the Lord and asking God to bring about judgment on the wicked. If the believers there can pray for the judgment of the wicked. They can also pray for the blessing of the church. So I think the church triumphant in heaven in the presence of God Almighty. There, around the throne does pray for the church.

Here militant, but I don't think that there is any indication that in Scripture we should ask them to pray for us, or that there there is any sense that they hear our prayers.

God is the one who hears our prayers we pray to him through his son Jesus Christ. And that's why were encouraged by the author to come boldly to the throne of grace through who do Jesus Christ because we have access to him right now and that's great news. Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us@corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33 core when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time. As we explore the truth of God's word together


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