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My Church Is Dividing Over Covid-19

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
November 25, 2020 1:00 am

My Church Is Dividing Over Covid-19

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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November 25, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 583 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

1. I have a cousin and aunt and they said that the Catholic church was started by Jesus through the apostles, and I said that that was the catholic “universal,” but they disagreed and said that church was the Roman Catholic church. So why do Catholics believe that they are the only true church and how can I answer this claim from the scriptures?

2. What does it mean to be a child of God? Are all people children of God including non-believers? Or Is it our relationship with Jesus, the son of the Living God, that determines this? Thank you and I listen every day!

3. I’m in a small group that seems to be growing more divided recently. I am in the susceptible demographic for the Coronavirus because of my age. Our small group used to Zoom but now have moved to in-person meetings, but the hosts of our small group seem put out by having to have precautions in place for me and another member who is a diabetic. At our last study, a good portion of our time had segued into allegations surrounding the election. I have quoted from Romans and 1 Peter to respect our authorities but since there is a divide between federal and state authorities, which one should be followed? How can these divisions be worked out? We are quite entrenched in our views about the virus it seems. I feel compelled to leave the group seeing how divisive things are getting. I want to just go back to studying God’s word but I can’t ignore that it has its application to our current divide.

4.  If evangelism is so important, why aren’t many churches preparing their community for evangelism?

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My small group of churches divided over the way we should respond to code 19. What should I do best is one of the questions will be answering on today's addition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer with pastor Adm. 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 on social media. You can post your question on our Facebook, Instagram or twitter accounts and you can email us at questions at core, Christianity.com first step today we have a good news story to share with you.

Life is starting to turn around for eight-year-old Aaron Marino and his family up until recently, they've been living in a shed in East Los Angeles.

After his mom lost her job due to the covert pandemic.

Aaron decided to start a plant business called Aaron's garden to help her make ends meet now because of all the plans he sold the family of four has saved enough to move from their shed into an apartment and thanks to the money he's earned an a go fund me page started by a family friend Aaron's family was also able to buy a used car and furniture for their new place.

While I meet one just an amazing story me think about this little kid is helping to provide for his family at such a young age, but it's also heartbreaking because it reminds us of the kinds of suffering that so many families have experienced during this time of coping 19 is that the case will it is will put a link to Aaron story on her show.

She is such a cute little guy and there's a picture of him with all of his plan. Since like here, the succulents growing that even had to get a Venus fly trap that he had grown so good for Erin and the Lord bless his family is so thankful that things are getting better for them and their situation was hit to our first question of the day, a call that came in from Joni that the Lord Catholic Church sought the Lord idle reading charge and send it back to the church was the church that was started by through all that the church universal and she said no family at all and I just wanted to have more scriptural reference around confused as to why Catholics believe that hey Joni yeah your your question means a lot to me.

I was I was raised nominally Roman Catholic and I have quite a few family members who would select identify as Roman Catholic. But like you, for me it was really when I started going to a Bible teaching you know evangelical Christian church that I started to learn more about the faith and and I was really where I think I came to know the Lord is as I was being taught the Scriptures and I was as I was growing in my understanding of God's word. But then it does create the situation.

Sewers like okay how do I have conversations now with my family members who are still going to the Catholic Church and and how do we have some of these discussions, your right to say that the word Catholic means universal and we can talk about the Catholic Church.

C. As the universal Christian church that consists of all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by faith together with their children. That's the church there's one church of the believers throughout the world and and so sometimes though when people hear the word Catholic. They associated with the Roman Catholic Church and according to the theology of the Roman Catholic Church.

Their church was started by Jesus Christ. When Jesus spoke to Peter in Matthew chapter 16 and said to Peter, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. In Catholic theology. Peter was the first pope or the first Bishop of Rome and there has been a succession of popes since him with The Roman Catholic faith intact since the very beginning. Now there are couple of things to say by way of response.

First, the rock upon which Jesus would build his church is probably not Peter personally. Peter was a pretty fickle guy and he denied the Lord yet yet it conflicts even with the apostle Paul in the book of Galatians, you know you can you can read about that which isn't to say that he wasn't a true apostle and that he wasn't a true believer. I just don't think that when Jesus is talking about building his church on this rock he is referring to Peter himself primarily.

I think the focus is on the confession of faith that Peter made that confession being you are the Christ, the son of the living God is the what what the church is built on is the true gospel the message of Jesus Christ. And this is actually I think what we find in other places in the New Testament as well. For example, in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 20 were told that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. What is Paul referring to their will.

He's speaking about the biblical preaching of the apostles and prophets, the message of Jesus Christ. That's the foundation. The gospel message.

That's the foundation for the church and so the focus of the New Testament is in on a succession of a particular church office to a man through Peter. For example, one pope or Bishop to the next. But on the succession of a particular doctrine. That's the key.

To me this is why throughout the New Testament.

You have this idea of knowing the truth and then passing that truth on you think of Paul's letters to Timothy as he talks about the deposit of faith that was handed down to Timothy and how Timothy was to take that message and entrusted to faithful men. But I also think of the book of Galatians. This is one of the places I would go to Joni in order to unpack this idea even more. In Galatians chapter 1.

Nepal is really concern for the church at Galatia because they were turning away from the gospel and he says them in verse six.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. Not that there is another one. But there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one that you received, let him be accursed base with the focus is there for the apostle Paul, the focus is not on my ministry as an apostle in whatever I say goes because I am the apostle Paul know the focus is on the message that he had nieces even if the apostles began to preach something different they should be accursed. The focus is on the gospel is that we know what the true churches, the church that Jesus instituted.

Well it's the church that has the apostolic doctrine that preaches the message of the gospel in line with what Paul says in Galatians or what Jesus himself said, and that's the key. And I think a lot of times we can get caught up with in our individual church being the church and this is what the Roman Catholic Church says essentially we are the one true church. Now of course they don't believe that only Roman Catholics are going to be in heaven and they've had a little bit of development on on their thinking about that over the years. We really need to go back to the Scriptures and just look with the apostles themselves said and they said that the focus is on the preaching of the gospel letter we have to focus as well join it and you've benefited from that. It sounds like as you've gone to a Christian church that it takes that very seriously and so I think we were talking with our friends and family members who are Roman Catholics. That's where we should focus as well is on the teaching of Scripture on the message of the gospel.

It is not enough to say I'm a part of this particular church and so I'm good.

The question is do you know Jesus you know his word. Do you know the gospel message of you experienced the forgiveness of your sins and that comes through the clear teaching of Scripture. And so that's what we want to encourage each other with that and I pray that the Lord blesses you and your conversations with your family members, especially as we enter into the holidays, Joni. We pray that God will guide you and direct you in those conversations with your relatives. This is core Christianity with pastor Pedro Sanchez. Here's a question that came in through our Facebook page from Ethan.

He says, what does it mean to be a child of God are all people, children of God, including nonbelievers or is it our relationship with Jesus the son of the living God that determines this. Thank you so much know there are couple of different ways of looking at this in one sense and I think what Paul said to the philosophers. We talked about us being the offspring of God, if you will, is in the book of acts is at once is like all of us receive our existence from God in that sense we could say that God is is the father of humanity, but more specifically me when Scripture talks about the doctrine of adoption and truly belonging to God through his son Jesus Christ. That's not something that everyone experiences or has a sharing know actually Jesus made it very clear when he is speaking to the religious teachers leaders in his day. He called them children of the devil and John says the very same thing and in first Johnny talks about how some people are children of God. Other people are children of the devil. In Ephesians chapter 3. The apostle Paul said this, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh.

That's verse three. Carrying out the desires of the body and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind, but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved. When my wife and I were newly married and have this little apartment here in San Diego as the two of us and and one evening couple Mormons came knocking on our door.

That's two young women and you know they wanted to strike up a conversation with us about what they believed and so we ended up inviting them in and we had our first meeting, they left a pamphlet with us and I told him that I would read it and of course will know were trying to evangelize them share the gospel with them. Excellent. I would read it and then I would. You don't have some questions for them and so they came back a week or two later and I read this pamphlet and the very first line of the pamphlet said something like, God is your loving heavenly father and I said to them, well, is that really true depending on who this is given to me. Can you really say God is your loving heavenly father to just anyone. What about the people that hate God that don't have a relationship with God, and I took him to that passage in Ephesians chapter 3 and then we talked about Jesus and and how Jesus talked about it. I hope that the Pharisees were children of the devil and we talked about adoption and this idea of being adopted into the family of God through Jesus Christ and they really didn't know what to say. The conversation didn't go much further. May I hope that that ultimately we share the gospel with the master whatever came of them.

In particular, but it's just really clear that the Bible says there is this distinction in humanity. There is this family feud if you will, the Hatfields and the McCoys.

The children of God and the children of the devil, and the question is, whose family are you a part of the how do we join the family of God. Listen to what John said in first John chapter 3 verse one see what kind of love the father has given to us that we should be called the children of God.

And so we are the reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now and what we will be has not yet appeared but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is in everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself, as he is pure through the love of God and by the work of Jesus Christ. We are adopted into the family of God so that we become the children of God. Jesus is the eternal son of God by nature. In a distinct way in a way that no one else is the main heat he is the son of the father like no one else but through Jesus and his work for you.

You become a son or daughter of God, not by nature, but by grace through the grace of adoption by the work of the Holy Spirit to the forgiveness of sins, and what a privilege that is you know what that means that we are co-heirs with Jesus Christ that we stand to gain the inheritance that he won for us on the cross. Through his death and resurrection so that we might live in eternal bliss, together with the whole family of God worshiping the holy Trinity faltered and it really is this wonderful thing but but it's clear.

According to the Bible that in that sense, not everyone is a child of God and so we call the world to turn to Christ by faith so that they might experience the grace of adoption as well. Thanks for your question federal thank you so much.

This is core Christianity with pastor Pedro Sanchez and with the Christmas season upon us were really excited to share a brand-new offer with you today. That's right, Bill. You know the holidays are filled with a lot of fun festivities. My favorite is the food. By the way, but it is often the case that the hustle and bustle of the season drowns out what is most important about Christmas that is Jesus. God is come to be with us. That's why I'm excited to share a new resource that we have over core, Christianity.com it's our Christmas devotional.

Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah is a daily devotional that shows you what Christmas is really all about each day of December, highlights prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament, and then it shows you where those prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus in the New Testament. Take some time each day by yourself or with your family to read the Scriptures and meditate on their meaning is our hope is that as you come to Jesus through the pages. The Bible you and your loved ones will experience the life-giving presence of Christ this Christmas season is devotional is free when you sign up for a weekly newsletter. So head over to core Christianity.com/Christmas. To download this resource.

This is really beautiful and something you could go through with your family as well. Here's the phone number to call if you'd like to take advantage of this offer or any one of our offers its 833-843-2673 that numbers 833, the court will April.

Here's an email that came in from Bernadette and she says I'm in a small group. It seems to be growing more divided recently.

I'm in the susceptible demographic for the coronavirus because of my age. Our group used to use Zoom, but we've now moved to in person meetings. Unfortunately, the host of our small group seemed put out by having to take precautions for me and another member of our group was a diabetic, then at our last study.

A good portion of our time segued into allegations surrounding the election. How can these divisions be worked out. I feel compelled to leave the group seeing how divisive things are going. I just want to go back to studying God's word but I can't ignore it has application to our current situation. What would you suggest Bernadette, what a heavy situation and one that I think a lot of people right now can identify with. I know. Certainly, even in our church here in San Diego. One there had been a lot of differences of opinion about how to respond to the coronavirus and how to deal with some of the mandates that are coming to us from the statements is this is a time where so many churches are threatened by divisions and there are obviously so many divisions outside and in the broader world and Mike my big fear is been for a long time during this entire season that those divisions would creep into the church and begin to keep us from doing ultimately what God calls us to do which is to love each other and to know him to know his word and when the focus of our church groups or our church service is not on the teaching of holy Scripture.

But on debates about politics or how mean of the government should handle particular policies and I think that there's a real danger there, but I also think sister, my heart breaks for you to because I it sounds to me like you desperately want to study the word of God and boy, that's what we should all long for and the divisions that exist right now in the church of kept your particular small group from focusing on that, and I would encourage you just to continue to have conversations with your small group leader and and maybe even with the pastor of your church expressing your concern and it's really important for us right now in this divisive time is church leaders to be sensitive to the needs of our people, and especially those who are really vulnerable. Those who are afraid of returning to worship because they they have diabetes or some other comorbidity that makes this pandemic. This coronavirus more dangerous for them. We have to be sensitive to the sheep and try to find ways to be accommodating and to keep the focus ultimately on Jesus in the life of the church which are going to find is that there always going to be differences of opinion them genuine believers. People who really love Jesus can disagree about how the government is responding to something like a pandemic. There can be disagreements, I don't know that that is going to be worked out or that we even need to focus on working that out what we should focus on is what God calls us to.

Despite our disagreements, and God calls us to love each other and to be sensitive to the needs of others.

I think about what Paul said in the book of Philippians that this is so important and this is the attitude that we need to have as Christians in Philippians chapter 2.

One of really one of the most beautiful portions of the New Testament it actually a lot of scholars think that this was an ancient hymn that was written on that Paul is quoting from, but at the beginning of Philippians chapter 2 Paul says so if there is any encouragement in Christ any comfort from love any participation in the spirit any affection and sympathy complete my joy by being of the same mind having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind that I don't think that Paul is referring there to being of one mind politically are all having the same ghetto view on culture or something like that. He's talking about being of one mind with regard to the gospel with the truth of God's word and then he says this.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others that we should strive for in the body of Christ there to be offered to people in the church who have questions fears men Bernadette you have real genuine fears because of your health. And we have to be sensitive to those fears as pastors and ultimately help to lead to guide a congregation of people who disagree on all sorts of things to fix their eyes on Jesus, and to consider one another's needs, even as more significant, more important than our own comforts or desires. Why will listen to what he goes on to say have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Why do we love one another in the sacrificial way considering each other's needs. Because we think about Jesus, the eternal son of God who loved us. Just like that and that's the message that we need to focus on right now and it's that message that sustains and unites congregations of divided people, that doesn't mean were always going to agree on everything, but it does mean that despite our disagreements, we have to be charitable and respectful to each other because it's what Jesus calls us to.

Are you loving the people in your church and what does it look like to love each other and to be accommodating to one another. It's a hard question to answer in every church context. Bernadette is going to be a little bit different but that's what we should strive for. And we have to keep the focus on the word of God.

This is core Christianity with pastor Averill Sanchez and here's a call that came in at 833, the court hello my name is so recently I went to school and through the titular I review really opened by Arkansas before going to the school. Evangelism is not really talk to me now.

Surprisingly, I'm going to Turkey this winter to evangelize my main question is a lot of detergent on teaching and preparing the community event will will let me honestly just say a prayer for you is you had to Turkey. Joshua praise God for what he's done in your life and in giving you this understanding in this passion to share the gospel.

Gracious father. Would you be with Joshua filled him with your Holy Spirit so that is he shares the faith with others, and especially in a country so desperately needs your gospel where there are a lot of Bible believing churches.

I pray that you would equip him and I pray that you would use him, Lord, in a mighty way to help others to know your son Jesus and the work that Christ is accomplished for us and would you use him mightily as he seeks to make your name known in Jesus name amen Josh. It's a really good question. Why don't we focus on evangelism now every week as a pastor I and our church service with the benediction benediction found number six. It's a blessing from God to the people and it's how works commissioned I would say out into the world to share the love of Jesus Christ with the people around us.

By the way that we live our lives in and certainly by the message that God is given to us and and I feel it is my job as a pastor to root people in the Scriptures so that if they know the truth of God's word and the power of the gospel. They are more equipped to share that message with others. Part of the problem and and one of the reasons I think a lot of churches don't talk about evangelism anymore is because they don't believe in anything or they think it's wrong to convert someone.

Paul said in Romans chapter 1 that the gospel is the power of God into salvation for everyone who believes this message is what the world needs to hear. It's how we find peace with a holy God. So many mainline churches, denominations deny the resurrection and the miracles that think they have no reason to evangelize because if you do away with the good news of Christianity.

You have no message to share. 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.

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