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How Should Christians Think About the ‘Day of the Dead’?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
October 26, 2020 12:00 pm

How Should Christians Think About the ‘Day of the Dead’?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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October 26, 2020 12:00 pm

Episode 561 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

1. I’m relatively new in my serious walk with Christ and I’m working on figuring out this new belief system. With that said, I’m not too sure what the scriptures say about man-run politics, how do Christians navigate engaging with those aspects of life, or is the area of church and state only a gray area?

2. A few questions about Luke 6:6-12. This was another “set-up” by the Pharisees about working on the Sabbath who were trying to catch Jesus working. Why did the Pharisees consider healing as a “work” of Jesus? Was this an occupation that had to be refrained from?

3. How do we get our names written in the Lamb’s book of life?

4. With Halloween and other autumnal festivities approaching, I am specifically wondering about the celebration of “The Day of the Dead,” or “Día de Muertos.” I can see why some Christians would be upset by some of the rituals associated with the celebration, but on the other hand it doesn’t seem like special remembrance of family members who have died is such a bad practice. I am curious what you all think about the celebration, and what your advice to Christians is as we encounter Día de Muertos decorations.

5. Does Hebrews 6:4-6 teach that someone who has apostatized cannot come back to the faith?

 

Resources

Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Timothy Keller

The Gospel-Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World by Michael Horton

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With Halloween approaching. Should Christians refrain from activities that have to do with ideas about the afterlife or ghost rules that is one of the questions will be answering on today's edition of core Christianity this is Bill Meyer along with Pastor Israel 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 court, that's 1-833-843-2673.

You can also email us with your question at questions at core, Christianity.com. To start off with today we have a good news story to share with you a 14-year-old student from Texas has won first place in a major science contest for her work on a potential treatment for COBIT 19 Anna Kutcher Burlew is being called America's top young scientist as 1/8 grader. She won the 3M young scientist challenge for her work on a potential drug to treat COBIT 19 Monica says I developed this molecule that can bind to a certain protein on the stars virus by binding to it, it will stop the function of the virus for her work.

3M has awarded Anneke $25,000, while good for her to me that is just so impressively you're describing. You heard unit working with these molecules when I'm just like wow that's way over my head and she's in eighth grade lesson when I was made great. All I cared about was girls, not signs, not any other stuff.

Let's get through our first question of the day. Steve posted this on our Facebook page he says I am relatively new in my walk with Christ and I'm working on figuring out this new belief system. With that said, I'm not too sure what the Scriptures say about man run politics.

How do Christians navigate engaging with those aspects of life and understanding the difference between church and state, a Steve, thanks for that question is certainly a very relevant question right now and I'm just stoked that your new in your walk with the Lord your taking things seriously and that your listening to the core.

I hope that this program blesses you and helps you to continue to grow in your understanding of who Jesus is and I and your love for the Lord. Again, the question vestas is just a really important question right now with the election going on was it look like for Christians to engage in politics and what are the Scriptures have to see about man run politics. I think there are couple of dangers that we need to avoid when thinking about politics and the governments of this world. The first one is this assertive idea of retreat. Christians can have, so we look at the world around us and we think things are just so bad. Let's all run to the hills and and do our own thing and not engage in the government of this world anyway so not really not love our neighbors think that's one problem. And of course you do, you do see that in some places where people Christians will completely isolate will builders go off to be on their own because they don't want to engage with the world around them because they feel like it's just so bad. The other issue in this is frankly the one that concerns me more. It's it's the one that I think we see more prevalently in the church today, especially around this time of year, it's that Christians can confuse the kingdoms of this world with God's kingdom so that we begin to put our hope and trust in the kingdoms of this world so that were devastated if things don't go the way we hope they would've gone, you know, in terms of the election or voting for no particular policy so we have to be careful that were navigating between not retreating from society and just being unwilling to engage and also not placing our hope in the kingdoms of this world and confusing those kingdoms even with God's kingdom there some helpful guiding principles to keep in mind, and I'm getting these from a book that I recently read call politics after Christendom written by a professor I had in seminary. David Bindra and gives these four things that we want to remember about the systems the governments of this world as we think about engaging with them one. He says there are legitimate is important for you to understand Steve that you know the political system around us. The government earthly governments are legitimate institutions you get that from places like Romans chapter 13 is and what Paul said in Romans 13 one through six.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority and do what is good and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good.

But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on wrongdoers. Therefore, one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. Because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God attending to this very thing to simply policy is making it clear these these earthly governments and furiously speaking about the Roman government is writing to the Roman Christians there legitimate institutions and this is why you pay taxes you know that the hope is that they will enforce justice in accordance with what God is revealed through certain natural revelation there legitimate institutions number two. Their provisional meaning they're knocking to be here forever. The kingdoms of this world are not to be confused with the kingdom of God. Think of Daniel chapter 2, where it talks about God's kingdom, replacing all the kingdoms of this world.

Their common meaning they're not wholly institutions.

It's not through the governments of this world that we experience the grace of God the salvation of Jesus Christ and they are accountable with one of the things we see here in Romans 13. Even secular leaders are going to be judged by God for how they governed the realizing that there legitimate and provisional helps us to engage in them humbly and not to place our hope in them. So Steve, the way we we think about these things is there legitimate but we also recognize that we are citizens of heaven like Paul says in Philippians chapter 3 verse 20 that our ultimate home is with the Lord Jesus Christ, that what we seek to engage in the world around us for the good of our neighbors, our hope is not in the transformation of worldly government. Our hope is in the transformation of hearts through the preaching of the gospel. We know ultimately Jesus is to build his church and the gates of hell are never to prevail against her. God bless you your listening to core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and here's an email that came in from Melissa named Bill. He says I have a few questions about Luke six verses six through 12. This was another set up by the Pharisees were trying to catch Jesus working on the Sabbath. Why did the Pharisees consider healing as a work of Jesus and why was that long okay I and I really love this passage and there's some neat things, sort of, I think, behind the scenes in this text of Scripture, at least, at least, Old Testament passages that this passage in particular is echoing. I want to get into that because I think it helps to illuminate what this text says for us so Luke chapter 6 beginning in verse six we just read it. For those who are unfamiliar with the passage on another Sabbath. Jesus entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered, the scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath is Jesus, that they might find a reason to accuse him. But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with a withered hand, and stand here and he rose and stood there, and Jesus said to them, I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good to do harm to save life or to destroy it, and after looking around at them all he said to him, stretch out your hand and he did so, his hand was restored. They were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus about to your question, I think the issue that they have. They just don't really understand what the Sabbath day was all about their essentially murdering on the Sabbath in their heart toward Jesus. Jesus is doing a good work. This act of mercy and healing this person. There was nothing forbidden about that for these Pharisees the self-righteous religious leaders.

They took issue.

They took offense at what Jesus did, even though they shouldn't have, they should have been caring for this man with the withered hand, loving him, serving him. Jesus did that here we have in this passage is a guy who has a withered hand that Jesus heals on the Sabbath that is actually up text of Scripture in the Old Testament that I think really sort of set this up for this is in the book of Isaiah Isaiah chapter 56. If you have a Bible with you. I just want to encourage you to turn there because I think that this is so cool. Isaiah chapter 56 beginning in verse one think about this. Again, the context of the Sabbath, thus says the Lord, keep justice and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come in my righteousness be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the Son of Man will do it fast who keeps the Sabbath not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.

Let not the foreigner who is joined himself to the Lord say the Lord will surely separate me from his people, and let not the unique say, behold, I am a dry tree for thus says the Lord, to the UNIX to keep my Savitz who choose the things that please me and hold fast to my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than the sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.

Isaiah 56 is prophesying at this time of great restoration where the peoples are going to flock to the Lord and in the house of the Lord God is good to minister to the unit, the one who says I am a dry tree that's interesting that word drive its use there. It's the same word that's used in the in the Greek translation of the Old Testament. At least they were that used in Luke chapter 6 to describe this man's withered hand and then in verse five of Isaiah 56, God says, I will give in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name. The Hebrew word for monument. There is beyond which means hand God is saying here in Isaiah 56 I'm going to give to the dried up person in my house a hand. It's almost as if that's exactly what's happening there in Luke chapter 6 is this person desperate wizard comes to Jesus and Jesus heals his hand. He quite literally gives him a hand so beautiful how the scriptures work together in that way and I think that's one of the things that that's being signaled here in Luke chapter 6 this is the great restoration at least the beginning of it. Isaiah 56, prophesied about in the Pharisees missed it because they were blind, as so many of the other. They bill it is blindness in them, but for us to understand the Scriptures we get to see how beautifully they work together and how compassionate our Lord Jesus was in healing this man. Thank you for your question and others just as another example, Israel of how we need to understand the Bible in its entirety. You just brought up a great Old Testament passage that many people don't link with that.

So it behooves us to know both the old and the New Testament to be reading her Bible and to get the entire context because we don't. Sometimes we really can't get the full picture that 100% I remember is a newer believer focusing primarily on the New Testament because I will. This is really what's relevant for me and I was really missing out. And the more I understood from the Old Testament, the more the New Testament was illuminated for me and why benefited from its OS.

As Christians we want to study all the Scripture. And it's only as we study all the Scripture that we really begin to understand the individual parts in a different books different stories like this one in Luke chapter 6. This is core Christianity with pastor Adm. Sanchez. How can you know if you are really a Christian. We actually have an excellent resource that answers that very question.

Yeah, Bill.

I mean this is obviously a meaning for those of you who listen to core Christianity frequently you know that one of the primary questions that we get has to do with assurance of salvation. How can I know I'm a believer you might have that question for yourself is not always created this resource. Nine ways to know you're truly a Christian. It's yours for free when you sign up for a weekly newsletter over it. Core, Christianity.com again many people even genuine believer struggle with assurance get a hold of this resource. Nine ways to know you're really a Christian over core, Christianity.com by signing up for the weekly newsletter. You can find that core Christianity.com/offers or you can call us at 833-843-2673 for help getting that offer any one of our offers. That's 833.

The core will hey Donna, what an important question, and thank you for calling with it throughout the Bible.

The Old Testament in the New Testament you find various passages that suggests to us that God keeps a record in heaven of those who belong to him my fate. Let me just give you a few of the passages that I'm thinking of Exodus 32 verses 31 to 33 Moses returned to the Lord and said alas this people has sinned a great sin they have made for themselves gods of gold, but now if you will forgive their sin, but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written, but the Lord said to Moses, whoever has sinned against me.

I will blot out of my book. Jesus said to his disciples in the gospel of Luke to bring up Luke's gospel again. Chapter 10 verses 19 and 20 behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

Again Jesus speaking in the book of Revelation. In Revelation chapter 3 verse five said the one who conquers will be clothed.

Thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels see the sitter is blotted out were told that's what God said to Moses, we also see from these verses that it's a great honor to be in the book of life and Jesus tells his disciples don't rejoice that the spirits are subjected to. You that you can cast out devils. No, rejoice that your names are written in heaven. What a privilege. You also need to conquer apparently work were told, you need to conquer and be clothed in white, for your name to be written in the book of life and maybe your concern. Donna is well.

I don't feel like a conquering Christian, I think a lot of us wrestle with this. How can I know my name is in the book of life, when in reality I still struggle with sin every day as a believer will listen to what we hear in Revelation 12 verses 10 and 11 I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, now the salvation and the power in the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before God, and they have conquered him how by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. How do we get our names written in the book of life clothed in white through the blood of Jesus Christ by faith in him by turning to him and trusting in him turning away from our sins.

Repenting of them trusting in him receiving the grace that he gives to us freely that he's purchased for us. Donna with his very blood that's the good news of the gospel and that's the hope that we have our names as Christians as those who are in Christ are written in the book of life in the blood of Jesus Christ, thanks for your question a man. This is core Christianity with pastor Adm. Sanchez and Adm. Here's a question that came in through her Facebook page from Caleb.

He says hello pastor a drilling bill with Halloween approaching. I'm specifically wondering about the Hispanic celebration of the day of the dead. I can see why some Christians would be upset by some of the rituals associated with this, but on the other hand, it seems like special remembrance of family members who have died is actually good practice. I'm not Hispanic myself, but I almost wish my culture had a way to continue to remember deceased family members. I'm curious what you think about the celebration. I think you're right that there is something beneficial about remembering our our loved ones are family members made my my wife's grandfather recently got a wonderful man.

I had the privilege of getting to know him for several years prior to his death and he was a sheriff for many years at all the greatest stories you hear talk about being a sheriff back in the day wouldn't when you still ride horses heaving in the this sheriff dog would fall Barajas in a really wonderful wonderful man and my wife and I will look into the conversation. Still about him and it's encouraging inking about the life that he lived in Mexican but growing up we really didn't do the other will somewhat closely the only thing I can remember about it.

Were those decorated sugar candy's goals that I like those but in terms of all the ritual and and all the other stuff associated with it was really unfamiliar to me as far as God's word is concerned, I don't think there's anything wrong with honoring the dead. This is why you know you had the practice of burial in the Old Testament, and while it's one thing to sit around the dinner table and tell stories about those who have died that might encourage us in and honor their name. It's another thing to turn our remembrances into a kind of religious ritual were were attempting to invoke their presence called them back to us. That's concerning to me. Now like us and will my family never practiced you know the other will somewhat close. I know one ritual on that day has to do with creating and decorating an altar for your deceased loved ones, and often the altar will be decorated with things offerings for the person who has died.

Maybe their favorite food or drink. They happen to love while alive. The idea is that the family is welcoming their spirit from the grave. Well invoking the spirits of the dead is forbidden in Scripture.

Ms. Saul did this.

If you recall in first Samuel chapter 28 with the witch of Endor, and it didn't go well with him. It wasn't. It wasn't a good idea. The Bible teaches that when we die.

Our spirits are separated from our bodies and our bodies go into the ground into the grave in our spirits enter into what's called the intermediate state now for believers.

That's heaven with the Lord in joy and bliss paradise to think about what Jesus said to the thief on the cross for those who don't belong to Christ. They go to this state of judgment and perdition.

They're not experiencing the joy of the Lord, if you will, and everyone in that intermediate state is awaiting the resurrection of the body, the life of the world to come summer, to be raised to judgment, some to everlasting life. Those who have believed in Jesus Christ to have faith in his name and so I agree with you that it's a good to remember our loved ones and to encourage each other with their memory. There's nothing wrong with that. In the church is even done this with some of the martyrs who have lived before us who faithfully followed and served Jesus. We recently you know started reading the Fox's book of martyrs to our kids at night before bed I not every night but you know here and there will will read a story about a someone who faithfully followed Jesus who gave their life for Jesus and it's I think it's a good practice to remember our family in Christ and what it is that they did in serving the Lord. But there's a difference between remembering them and idolizing them making offerings for them.

So on and so forth. No, I think our loved ones who have gone to be with the Lord, nor they want us to focus fixing our eyes upon Jesus this time of the year and every time of the year. Thanks for your question. You know something else that we can remember is that November 1 is all St.'s day which is a day when we actually remember those martyrs, those things that gone before us, and what it rendered what a great opportunity for us to talk to our kids about those as you said in Fox's book of martyrs.

Those who have gone before who have died in in serving and standing up for what was right and true their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, amen and and that's exactly how their memory can be an encouragement to us. They point to Jesus and that's where eyes need to be look at the one more question here on core Christianity. This one comes to our website does Hebrews 64 through six. Teach that someone who's committed apostasy cannot come back to the faith and thank you for this question. Another was early debate in the life of the Christian church and after the days of the apostles because there were some people that were saying you know if you've turned away, say under persecution. If you deny the name of Jesus and then wanted to get back into the church. There was no hope for you in the appeal to this passage. The people who were saying this now. The challenge with that is you look at so many passages of Scripture people have denied the Lord and the Lord welcome them back, Peter, for example, talk about denying Jesus three times right there. While Jesus was being crucified. Talk about a worse time moment to deny the Lord as he's accomplishing this great act of love for you as he's serving you as he's paying for your sins to deny boy if anyone didn't quote unquote deserve. Grace was in it Peter and yet what did Jesus do for Peter when he had risen from the dead, he made him breakfast. Peter, the one who had denied him the one who had committed apostasy if you will. Doesn't matter who you are and how how far you fallen from Jesus, the good news is when you turn to him by faith he welcomes you now. What then are we to make of Hebrews chapter 6 verses four through six were it seems to talk about the impossibility of repentance will here is speaking about people who deny the very gospel who reject Jesus altogether. This is made clear by Hebrews chapter 10 where it talks about them trampling the son of God underfoot and counting the light of the covenant as an unholy of common thing for them. There is nothing but judgment for those who turn to Jesus in faith. There's hope.

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, 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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