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How Do We Balance Our Desire For Obedience With Legalism?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
June 15, 2020 1:00 am

How Do We Balance Our Desire For Obedience With Legalism?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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June 15, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 466 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

Key questions answered in today's show:

1. I’m trying to do something good that was placed on my heart to help some people out. I’ve been praying for God to help me so that I can help them, but I haven’t received anything. I get discouraged when nothing seems to happen. I believe God placed it on my heart to help them, but why doesn’t anything happen when I pray about it? 

2. I believe Christians are baptized by the Holy Spirit. I read a book regarding the filling of the Spirit as though it were a special gift or something. I was a little confused by it. 

3. Several decades ago I had hallucinations of being in hell. They were very real and I'm wondering now if I'm saved. I've accepted Jesus but it's hard for me to believe. I've been diagnosed with borderline schizophrenia and am on medication, but Satan is tormenting me. How can I know I am really saved? 

4. How do we balance our desire for obedience with legalism? avoiding legalism

5. How do you address people who charm people into thinking they are repentant, but their behavior never changes? 

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

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I know I'm not saved by good works, but how do I balance that with Scripture's repeated command to be obedient. That's just one of the questions will be answering on today's addition of core Christianity this is Bill Meyer along with pastor Pedro Sanchez and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day and you can call us right now with your question. At 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 course you can also email us with your question at questions at core, Christianity.com. You can post your question on her Facebook or Instagram page to kick things off today. We got a fun pet story to share with you Carol. Jordan adopted dog siblings bull and bear when they were still puppies and she says the two of them always get into trouble and their curiosity and passion for food often leads them to make messes and steel meals well when Carol came home from work the other day she found a note from their mail carrier. It said I drove up to deliver a package and while I was at your front door.

Both of your dogs crawled in my truck. They got into my lunch and ate an egg and some carrots and some pumpkin seeds. I don't know if that will upset their little tummies.

Just FYI. So Carol says it was so nice of the postal carrier to leave us a note of concern for the dogs and we decided to get her Subway gift card from the boys to make up for them eating her lunch. I brought the note in the car to the post office the following week so they could give to the carrier. The note from bull and bear red.

Sorry. We ate your lunch. Thanks for sharing how smart dogs. They can write. This is why I don't have pets bill because I don't like to share my food with anybody. And so that would be pretty rough. You know, coming home one day and and I having the pantry rated by the pets so we have a little at home and him and he gets into everything and we have to really watch him because he has extremely long legs and a long tongue for something way back on the counter. It's gonna baby it sounds terrifying at this dog little legs and lungs and will get to our first question of the day. This one comes from Alex who writes I've been a Christian since 2005.

I'm trying to do something good that was placed on my heart to help some people out. I've been praying for God to help me so I can help them but I haven't received anything. I get discouraged when nothing seems to happen. I believe God placed it on my heart to help them but why doesn't anything happen when I pray about it. Hey Alex will sometimes there are really good things that we want to do and we simply aren't able to do them now.

Maybe the Lord will make away, but maybe this thing is just something that the Lord wants you to pray for. Sometimes we plant the seed, and in other people, and water and get to see the growth maybe received planter through prayer, but you know what the Lord is still pleased with a godly desire that's there in your heart when I listen to your question, I think about King David he really wanted to build the temple of the Lord and what he prayed for that.

But the Lord didn't have him do it. He had his son Solomon do it.

Remember what Solomon said in first Kings chapter 8 beginning in verse 17 that was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, the Lord said to David my father whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name. You did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, you shall not build the house with your son, who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name. You don't know how your prayers will bear fruit.

Alex so don't stop praying and even if you never get to do what it is that you hoped for what it is you feel like God has laid on your heart. If God answers your prayers to someone else.

The prayers and the desire are themselves pleasing to the Lord something. Keep praying. Maybe. Maybe God will open up the doors for you to help this individual these people out like like you want to.

Or maybe God is using your prayers to pave the way for someone else to be able to do it either way were working side-by-side together for the faith of the gospel, whether it's through our prayers or through an open door that allows us to act.

So, God bless you brother. We really appreciate your kind heart and your desire to serve these folks that is so cool this is core Christianity, and you can call us at 833 the core. If you have a question that's 1-833-843-2673 and we have a call that came in from Demetri in Springfield, Missouri read a book alone. Author regarding filling of the spirit as though it were a special gift or something a little confused about. I would like to have your take on that if you would've listed. I live here shortly. If I can, and really enjoyed you guys are great job the filling of the Holy Spirit. I would appreciate your take on it. Thank you. Well, first let me just say Demetri thank you so much for tuning in every day. What a blessing it is to have listeners like you who want to continue to grow in their faith and and love listening to the answers that we offer to run this program as we dig into the Scriptures and there are differences of opinion on this question is I'm sure you can imagine, you know, there are some people who believe that you have the Holy Spirit as a Christian, but that you still need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit after your conversion. This is actually what I was taught as is in your Christian when I first started walking with the Lord that this baptism in the Holy Spirit empowers you for ministry and gives you special gifts.

Usually it's believe that these gifts are that the charismatic gifts like tongues and prophecy described in first Corinthians chapters 12 through 14. The reality however is all of those who believe in Jesus by faith are baptized in the Holy Spirit in the language of the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes from Jesus comes from the book of acts the day of Pentecost you think about it Pentecost in acts chapter 2 fulfills the prophecy that was given way back in Joel chapter 2, Joel is one of the minor prophets. In it he talks about a day that was coming where God was going to pour out the Holy Spirit on all flesh. Joel chapter 2 verses 28 and 29, it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions, even on the male and female servants. In those days I will pour out my spirit.

That's what was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost in the whole focus of Joel's prophecy is that it isn't just to be some of God's people to get the Holy Spirit but all of God's people. I am going up while my spirit on all flesh. The young and the old, the rich and the poor. Not just the priest and the prophets, but everyone.

Everyone in the church so the belief that only some people are baptized in the Holy Spirit goes against the very thrust of Joel's prophecy which Pentecost is the fulfillment of now while we are all baptized in the spirit throughout the Christian life. We are called to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Look at this you know if if you open your Bible to the book of acts you have the day of Pentecost in acts chapter 2 and then if you go just to chapters forward in acts chapter 4, you have the disciples praying. Prayer for boldness in acts chapter 4 verse 31 says when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Wait a minute I thought they were filled. The next chapter 2 while they were baptized in the spirit sealed by the spirit.

But here there at a later point in their field can with the Holy Spirit continually empowered to boldly preach Jesus and that's with the filling of the Spirit is all about Demetri. It's all about Jesus fixing our eyes on Jesus, proclaiming Jesus, the good news of the gospel. That's actually what Jesus himself said earlier next chapter 1 verse eight. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judeo and Samaria.

The filling of the Holy Spirit is all about boldly testifying to who Jesus is know is a lot of confusion about this today, so here's what I'm saying all Christians are baptized in the Holy Spirit by the Holy Spirit, sealed with the Holy Spirit. This is what Joel prophesied in Joel two. But throughout the Christian life are called to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul talks about this in the book of Ephesians as well. He exhorts the church.

Don't be drunk with wine be filled with the Holy Spirit how we filled with the Holy Spirit by fixing our eyes on Christ through the word of God by letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly. So if you want to be filled. Go to the word open up the Scriptures let the word of Jesus field you so that you might boldly testify of him. Demetri, thank you so much for your question and would love to get your questions well.

You can write to us at questions at core, Christianity.com. This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and a drug want to tell our listeners about a special offer that we have for them today. Yeah, I think that this one is can it be really helpful for you especially if you you struggle with wondering how my really saved so frequently on this broadcast.

We get to question how can I know that I'm genuinely a believer that I'm going to heaven that I have true faith will that's what we came up with this resource is called nine ways to know you are really a Christian and it's free. When you sign up for a weekly newsletter. As I mentioned to you know we get a lot of calls about this people questioning their salvation in this resource you can find some biblically-based ways to know that you're a Christian, you struggle with doubt and uncertainty is important for us to go to the word of God met this resources and help you to do so I don't core Christianity.com/offers to download nine ways to know you are really a Christian and course you can always call us at 833-843-2673 for help in getting any of our offers, let's go to an email that came in this ones from Sandy in Pennsylvania and she says several decades ago I had hallucinations of being in hell. They were very real and I'm wondering now if I'm saved.

I've accepted Jesus but it's hard for me to believe I've been diagnosed with borderline schizophrenia and I'm on medication but Satan is tormenting me.

How can I know that I'm really saved. Hey, let's take a moment right now to pray for Sandy heavenly father we come before you now and we lift our sister Sandy up to you, Lord, who feels tormented by the evil one. We ask gracious God, that in your mercy, you would grant her strength that you would bless her that you would fill her with the Holy Spirit so that she might be able to fix your eyes on Jesus, on the hope of the gospel so that she would be able to rest in your goodness gracious father to her in your love for her. Would you deliver her from the evil one would you strengthen your faith be with Sandy. Bless her we ask in Jesus name, amen. Say the verse that I hi often go to know and when we get that question how can I know that I'm I'm saved his first John chapter 5 verse 13 John said I write these things to you who believe in the name of the son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life that you said that you've accepted Jesus, there's a lot of confusion about this today and some of that I think comes from our idea of the sinners prayer. Many times we ask people to say a prayer accepting Jesus or asking Jesus into their heart. The reality of Scripture doesn't call us to merely accept Jesus. That's part of it but to believe in Jesus and belief in Jesus has three elements knowledge we need to know who Jesus is the gospel to be presented to us a sense, that's the acceptance part where we accept this truth that we received about Christ and trust and trust is the key part that I think many people today are missing.

They have a knowledge of Jesus. They might accept that he was real.

Even that he rose from the dead. The question Sandy is are you personally trusting in Christ you realize that your only hope is found within and outside of you.

In Jesus in the blood that he shed for the forgiveness of each and every one of your sins that when our hope is in Christ, not in ourselves, we can rest because no matter how weak our faith might be better how weak we might feel our faith lays hold of Jesus and Jesus is the strong one who saves you and if you believe you've been born again. That's what John says. And if you've been born again. Satan can attack you, but he can't take you out of God's hand that John actually says this and in his gospel. He says something very similar little bit later and in first John chapter 5 in verse 18, we know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him and the evil one does not touch him, Sandy. I want to ask you another question. Are you a member of the church in a John says something else and first John that I think is really interesting. Speaking of false teachers. He says they went out from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would have continued with us, but they went out that it might become plain that they all are not of us. Some believers, I think, assume that they can live the Christian life with confidence but in isolation you can't, God makes us a part of the body of Christ.

And if you're Christian. The church isn't just something that's optional for you. It's necessary and having brothers and sisters around you who can encourage you in your faith. You can pray for you when you feel like you're being attacked by the evil one is so important, so I just want to encourage you say Debbie I don't know if you're a part of the church, but if you are prayer. Talk to your pastor be encouraged by the word of the gospel. It's hopefully being spoken into your life by other brothers and sisters that are there know that you're not alone. The body of Christ stands with you. There are no Lone Ranger Christians is looking forward to the day when all churches around the country are fully open. Yeah, you're totally right. Your listing the core Christianity with pastor Averill Sanchez and we always love to hear from you. Here's our phone number it's 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 a and you know Sandy, we just offered this resource already but it sounds like it would be a really good resource for you to check out again. Core, Christianity.com/offers nine ways to know you are really a Christian download that I think can encourage you later. Let's go to another call that we received and by the way, you can record your question for us at our website by going to core Christianity.com/radio. Click on the little microphone icon.

You can leave your question there 24 hours a day.

Michael Mike, what are you how are we as Christians do balance our desire for obedience versus legalism is my question that great question Michael look, we don't need to tone down our desire for obedience you. I think sometimes there are some really good Christian practices that people identify as legalistic, but there really just things we ought to be doing a going to church every Sunday is not legalistic praying and making a habit of prayer that is not just praying occasionally when we feel like disciplining ourselves to pray, reading Scripture meditating on God's word. These are all really good things we ought to be doing to grow in our relationship with the Lord. But here's what he go south when we do those things in order to justify ourselves before God, then we become legalistic. In other words, if the good things you do. Your obedience is an attempt to be right before God then it poisons your obedience that we can be justified. Believers and still fall into legalistic habits a minute. I think all of us is as Christians have to be on the lookout for that and there are two symptoms that will manifest themselves in your life.

If you're wrestling with this legalism the feelings of condemnation and the feelings of conceit when we fall short of whatever standard it is that we've created prayer, Bible reading, etc. before legalistic about them. We will feel condemned before God that makes perfect sense right because if I'm justified by my behavior and I mess up somewhere and it's just going to be doom and gloom feelings of utter despondency I'm condemned because I'm no longer justified the mail. That's how we feel, at least on the other hand, before doing a good job keeping whatever standard we've set and were legalistic about it and we don't feel condemned, but we begin to grow conceited. We start to look down on other people. What can you read your Bible every day like I do enough that sort of thing.

Accessing this sometimes in the church people go from condemnation to conceit and just a short period really really legalistic trusting in their own obedience to rules that they've created in their mind. Sometimes in the moment, there's a minor infraction. They take a nosedive into sin for a while. Then there's a drastic repentance and the promise to never do such and such. Again, I met a new XYZ to be holy and I start feeling good about myself and then Bam another nosedive. It's a sort of continual roller coaster pendulum swing obedience to God's law is good, but justification by obedience to God's law is deadly, it will kill you, it will turn you into a condemned wretch or a conceited wretch. I think this is one of the things we so the Pharisees and they wanted to justify themselves by their obedience. But inside Jesus says they were wicked. They were full of sin.

Martin Luther in his commentary on the book of Galatians. You have been preaching through the book of Galatians for some time not love his commentary on Galatians. If you don't know who Luther was, yet he was the guy who wanted to reform the Catholic Church, partly because he felt like there were legalistic practices going on in the medieval church trusting in their own rules and traditions in order to be right before God, and he writes in his commentary that he would have no problem with the rules of the church praying and fasting and so on and so forth. So long as those things weren't put forward as a way of making people right with God because he knew we can't justify ourselves, our good works are never sufficient and so our obedience ought to flow from this place of having received the goodness, the grace, the forgiveness that God offers to us in the gospel and then we got to run without obedience in gratitude and joy because God's law is good. We should be encouraged to obey it. We should seek to follow it with all of our hearts, but if we do so in order to be justified is legalism.

So we are trying to find. I think the balance between legalism and obedience is a spectrum were talking about two different kinds of obedience.

Obedience out of the flesh seeking to justify ourselves, which will lead again to that feeling of condemnation when we fail or feeling of arrogance and conceit. When we do well or obedience that comes from the gospel realizing that we are forgiven justified right in God's sight solely through what Jesus has done for us and were freed to love God and to obey his law by the grace of the Holy Spirit and we should be encouraged and that it all comes back to that free gift of salvation.

There's nothing we can do to earn it and when we just bask in that free gift and say thank you Lord for what you've done for me and then our obedience comes out of that that gratitude.

So thank you for that. Israel let's go to an Instagram question that came in just in posted this.

How do you address people who charm people into thinking their repentant but their behavior never changes. Just to say some people trigger wolves wolves will continue to pray on the people of God and put on a good show of remorse when they're cold out say all the right things and then continue to harm the sheet when the call that again will sell the right things all over again and they'll admit, albeit reluctantly at times and there's usually a lot of downplaying or deflecting, but they'll admit yeah I did that and if this cycle that ultimately leads to more and more sheep getting hurt I think is really important for pastors to have some training and in abusive behavior because wolves are abusers. And yet there often.

Some of the most charismatic of the most charming people in the church is helpful for church leaders to create a real tangible description of what repentance looks like I think is let me give you a hypothetical is example a man is verbally abusive to his wife is called on it shows remorse says all the right things and then goes back the next week to verbal abuse is called on it again.

He says he's sorry it sin, but he explains how you know it's his wife's fault she pushes them over the edge, etc. each time he meets with the church leadership is able to laugh and quote Scripture and all the while the wife is exhausted.

Look, I think that guy needs help understanding what repentance looks like it is just saying yeah I'm sorry I can sell the right things. It's turning from our sins to Jesus, it's helpful to say look, here's a pattern worsening. It looks like you really need something like abuse counseling and should be willing to get that help.

That's what repentance looks like. We've also noticed that when you speak this way to your wife she calls you want it you usually flip it around and somehow laid the blame on her. That's not repentance that's deflecting now in this, you know, hypothetical situation, I think, usually in situations like that it's it's a good sign when people say you're right. I need help.

I'm willing to get accountability and typically that's how repentance functions assess yes help me. I realize I'm a sinner I've ever written about this a little bit over record, Christianity.com there's an article you can look up true versus false repentance.

What's the difference I think this is so important because we can deceive ourselves, we can tell ourselves a I've really repented when in reality were still trying to hold onto that sin. Whatever it might be and were telling ourselves, I'm fine. It's okay.

It's not that big of a deal we don't want accountability. We don't really want to repent were clinging to it. The sale the right things but our heart has not turned to Jesus so such an important question.

But here's the good news the gospel has the power to soften even the hardest heart body of Christ is so important when we need that accountability that I've been talking about, but ultimately the answer is the power of the gospel penetrating our hard hearts and bringing us to repentance, so we pray that the Lord does that each and every one of you. Thanks for listening to court Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us at court, Christianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33, the court 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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