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Sharing Our Faith: On Billboards or Through Relationhsips?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2020 1:00 am

Sharing Our Faith: On Billboards or Through Relationhsips?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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December 8, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 592 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

1. In First Peter, it says, "For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does." As far as I understand, there is no opportunity for salvation once people have died, but in the passage above, what does it mean that the "gospel was preached to those who are even dead"?

2. Do you think it is right for the church to pay pastors? Wouldn’t it be better for pastors to earn their living at a job rather than asking other people to support them? Isn’t this just using God’s name to guilt people and take advantage of them? 

3. Why do some Bibles have more books in them than other ones? Who decided that those other books, the Apocrypha, shouldn’t be in some Bibles?

4. What makes the prosperity gospel so bad? Why wouldn’t I want God’s blessings in my life?

5. I was driving to Las Vegas and saw a couple of billboards that said, "Jesus saves, repent, the end is coming," etc. Is this really an effective way to share our faith?

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Can you explain what makes the prosperity gospel so bad, why wouldn't I want God's blessings in my life best is one of the questions will be answering on today's edition of core Christianity hi 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 and you can email us with your question at questions at core, Christianity.com. Today we have a good news story to share with you earlier this year, architect and designer Maria Shaw found herself stranded in her hometown of Bobby in India and unable to attend her doctoral program in the Netherlands. She was frustrated but then she came up with a COBIT 19 related brainstorm with the number of coronavirus cases in India escalating every day. Makeshift isolation wards were springing up across the country that required a huge need for hospital beds and the country was running out of them real solution. She designed a line of affordable disposable cardboard beds since her family owns an industrial paper manufacturing business. It didn't take long for the idea to move from the drawing board to the production floor to the supply chain.

In fact, the process took only about a week from concept to prototype and will put a link to an article about rias invention and some photos of those beds in today's core Christianity show notes page that is such an awesome story although I bet those beds are probably not super comfortable cardboard possible for me honestly.

But one thing I think it we've all noticed during the season of coronavirus is the creativity it's been birthed out of a meeting for churches trying to think through what to look like for us to worship in a way that's safe and responsible. You taken a lot of creativity but it's amazing to see people put their brains together to make it happen. Yet people of been stepping up all over the world rings coronavirus and that's been encouraging to see what's good to our first question of the day. Rose emailed us this. She says hello I have a question about first Peter 46 which says, for this is why the gospel was preached, even to those who are dead, though judged in the flesh, the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does as far as I understand there is no opportunity for salvation. Once people died, but in this passage. What is that mean that the gospel was preached to those who are dead. Thank you. I love it were starting the show with this question.

Any talk about getting right into a difficult passage of Scripture and one roasted has caused a lot of people concerned because as you say things that we confess as Christians at once to die. That's it.

And yet is Peter suggesting the opposite here. We have to understand the context and in the context of first Peter. Peter is encouraging believers to suffer with Jesus not to follow Jesus faithfully, even if it means martyrdom in the church is being persecuted happily persecuted at this time, so no verse one of chapter 4 Peter said since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking. For whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God sees calling the believers in his day to faithfully follow Jesus, even when it means suffering to abstain from the sinful things that are taking place in the world to follow Jesus and to know.

Look, it's not going to be easy now. There are few interpretations of this passage.

One is the one that you're alluding to this idea of a second chance know is Jesus preaching to those who are dead giving them another opportunity to receive the gospel that kind of thing.

Well, that can be ruled out at the outset justified by the fact that Scripture makes it absolutely clear that that's that's not something that happens I think about a passage like Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27 and just as it is appointed for man to die once and after that comes the judgment is very clear there or you think about even that parable that Jesus gave of the rich man and Lazarus, which makes it absolutely clear that once a person dies, the them and that's it. Their destiny is sealed so we have to be careful here.

One of the really important principles of Bible interpretation.

I think that can guide us. Is this idea that the clearer passages of Scripture are meant to help us interpret the less clear passages of Scripture and I think first Peter chapter 4 verse six is one of those less clear passages them and they're just all sorts of different ways in which it has been interpreted well. We want to make sure that the clear text of Scripture.

What some of the ones I just reference Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27 are helping to guide us in understanding a text like this one not another interpretation is that Christ is proclaiming his victory over the dead, so it's not that he's preaching the gospel to the dead so that they might have a second chance of salvation, but that it's Christ as the triumphant one, the one who died and is going to rise again and he preached to those who were dead, he proclaimed his victory and in that sense that the proclamation of the gospel is not so that they might be saved, but so that Christ in his ministry would be vindicated before those who rejected him before the dead who who had rebelled against God.

That's another interpretation, the interpretation, though, that I think works the best is that this is referring to those who had the gospel preached to them and are now dead martyrs if you will.

Those who had given their life for the faith and have the hope now of eternal life again. First Peter 464. This is why the gospel was preached, even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh, the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God doesn't member the context here is he's encouraging believers to faithfully follow Jesus, even when it means suffering that he's setting before them here. I think the hope of life, even in the face of death that we might be judged in the flesh, the way people are. That is condemned by the world, but we will live in the spirit now a parallel text. There is you go back to chapter 3 in verse 18 of first Peter, it says this for Christ also suffered for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.

I think there that's referring to the resurrection by the power of the Holy Spirit. It's that same hope that Peter is putting before his audience in his day and what I hope we have as Christians that yes we might suffer for following Jesus.

We know what's on the other end after the cross, if you will, comes the resurrection, we have the hope of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. And that's what Peter is setting before these Christians were experiencing immense suffering, so that they might continue to cling to the truth and faithfully follow Jesus. I think that's the best way of understanding that tax rose rose thanks so much for your question. If you have a question for us. We would love to hear from you. You can go to our website at core, Christianity.com/radio and post a question there. That's what Chris did and Chris says do you think it's right for the church to pay pastors.

Wouldn't it be better for pastors to earn their living at a different job rather than asking other people to support them. Isn't this just using God's name to Gill people and take advantage of them.

While I'm not biased here or anything to think it's good for churches to pay pastors.

Actually, I think it's biblical now, I recognize that that's not always possible and that there are many faithful pastors who work by vocationally you know or who don't even receive anything from the church because the pastor a very small church that's unable to to support them and so I know that that happens in especially in other parts of the world you need. Think of Third World countries. Many of these places pastors are working by vocationally and we we have to pray for them and remember them but there there is something biblical to this Chris. I'm certainly under the old covenant the priesthood was supported by the covenant people that we don't have a priesthood today. Jesus is our high priest, but I think there's a sort of parallel there that we can sort of draw from an understanding you know pastors and ministers today were serving the church receiving their living from the work that they do in preparing sermons in caring for the people of God and pastoring shepherding effect. This is what Paul says in first Corinthians chapter 9 verse 14 in the same way he says the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel that ordinarily I think that's how it should be, of course. Again, I have already said that's not always how it is just doesn't work out that way in some context. Another passage, though the that we could look at his first Timothy chapter 5 verses 17 and 18.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says you shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain, and the laborer deserves his wages.

Both of those passages that text enforcement inside, and in first Timothy five. I think indicate that it's right it's good to pay our pastors.

I remember some years ago I struck up a friendship with a man, an older gentleman Mormon guy that she met because we are doing some street evangelism at a big park out here in San Diego and and he liked what we are saying to a group of atheists that we were talking to and so he and I became friends and we would talk about the Bible we talk about the church. We talk about Mormonism. We talk about the gospel Christianity and out one of the things that he would tell me so you know what's really great about Mormonism is we don't have any paid clergy would have any pay pastors he was treating. That is, is a positive thing. This is no good thing we don't pay our pastors. We don't need to that kind of thing and I told sort of tongue-in-cheek.

His name is Gail Gail. If you guys paid your pastors to study the Bible you probably would find that a lot of them stopped being Mormon. If you sort of laughed and and I went to the reality is we want to have a high view of the ministry of the word. We want the people who are teaching God's word to understand it to have studied it to labor, if you will, in the word and for the church and that takes time. It really does. Sometimes I think that we just sort of assumed in other Joppa pastors, what, what's the big deal I mean anybody can do it. We just sort of get these nice feelings when we study the Bible and we just share those feelings with other people know me. Ordinarily I think pastor should study Hebrew and Greek. You know, no theology, church history, go to seminary those kinds of things that we should want. We should want pastors who are trained to rightly divide the word of truth because there's nothing more important than what we believe about God.

You wouldn't go to a doctor who had never studied or learned his trade on YouTube by watching YouTube videos. You see, I'd rather pick a different surgeon, one who actually was trained and yet I think we when we think about studying Scripture and learning God's word. We just sort of assume that pastors job.

No big deal.

Anybody could do it well. The reality is this, our pastors should be called should be men of character pulp make this clear in first Timothy three and Titus chapter 1, they should be competent, able to teach studied understand God's word that the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith that the historical debates that have happened surrounding God's word so that they can rightly proclaim the truth of Scripture. These are all really important things and so I think because of that week we ought to support that we have to pay them and I and I just want to encourage you and support your pastors care for them. Take care of them as churches as they labor to serve you and I think ordinarily that's how it should be enough of these passages of Scripture indicate first Timothy five first Corinthians chapter 9 and so pray for them, support them and are there pastors who take advantage Chris of the church who are just feeding off the flock. If you will, instead of feeding the flock.

Yes, we see that in movements like the prosperity gospel we see that even in evangelical churches and we do have to be aware of that careful yet at the same time. I think that warning that danger shouldn't keep us from supporting faithful pastors were rightly dividing the word of truth in caring for the flock. Thanks for your question. Your listing to core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and last week was national suicide prevention week and today we are offering a resource on a related topic, depression yeah Bill, you know we created this resource to give you a foundational understanding of what depression is how Christians can best help someone who suffers from depression and it really is everywhere around us. This resource is called nine things everyone needs to know about depression and it's free.

Through our website. Just that over to core Christianity.com/offers to download nine things everyone needs to know about depression. I'm so glad that we are addressing this as a ministry because unfortunately there's a lot of misunderstanding about depression in the church and how depression can be treated so please give us a call for this resource 833-843-2673. That number is 833. The core let's get to a call that came in a drill, this one from Doug who called us from Kansas.

We have what we call a common set of books apparently in the Bible and wondering why the apostrophe you was separate. It was in some Catholic Bibles and and other Bible but the run-of-the-mill apparently King James the decided to take it out. I thought that you should neither add nor take away from the Bible yet they have this whole separate set of books that they've Out of the most Bible circulation that my question yeah Doug.

The question here is more those books added to the true canon of Scripture or were they taken away what you find in the books were referring to here.

Books like first and second Maccabees Judith Tobin seminary. There are several of these apocryphal books, Old Testament, and there even some New Testament once the Old Testament ones or the ones are categorized with the Old Testament were written in between the time of you know that the end of our Old Testament canon with the book of Malachi, and the New Testament sort of inter-test of mental. And they choose and the people of Jesus that they did not receive these books as a part of authoritative scripture.

In fact, they weren't even quoted by Christ and the apostles as authoritative Scripture you think about with all of the quotations given to us by Jesus and the apostles of the Old Testament. Thus saith the Lord. These these quotations establishing doctrine. I think that this is a significant point, a warrant declared Scripture until the 16th century at a Council that the Roman Catholic Church held called the Council of Trent and that was really born out of debates that they were having with Protestants with men like Martin Luther, who claimed that these books were not supposed to be included in the canon of Scripture, and this wasn't just something that they were making up. It was also really something that you Saul among the early church fathers as well and there was a differentiation between these operable books and the received canon of Scripture among the Jews and so it seems that these books were a later addition and that's why they're not in translations of the Bible that most of us this Protestants use early on as I said, it does seem like these books were not treated as equal with Scripture, and they also present several doctrinal discrepancies. There are things doctrinally in these apocryphal books that we wouldn't say line up with the teaching of the Bible as a whole.

Old Testament and New Testament, and so some of these things and what was taught, the fact that there written a little bit later. The fact that Jesus and the apostles don't seem to have received them as authoritative Scripture and the Jews in Jesus. They didn't seem to receive them as authoritative Scripture have led us to believe that these the sexy aren't supposed to be a part of the Bible. Now, again, like I said there are some traditions that chiefly the Roman Catholic Church that does include them but that wasn't even really authoritatively defined until the 16th century. As I think there's good reason for us to be suspicious of these books that doesn't mean that they're all bad. If there isn't some good stuff to glean from them historically but at the end of the day. We don't treat them as God's word and fill because that they're not included in many of our Bibles.

Thanks for your question. This is core Christianity with x-ray drill Sanchez you can post your question on her Facebook or Instagram accounts.

You can also email us at questions at core, Christianity.com Claudia posted this on Facebook and she says what makes the prosperity gospel so bad, why wouldn't I want God's blessing in my life. How you find God's blessing. Claudia knew what makes the prosperity gospel so bad is that it is a false gospel ever since the days of the apostles. We've had to be on guard against false gospels. The book of Galatians was written at a time where essentially a false gospel was gaining traction in the church.

Paul said at the beginning of Galatians, you know, the people were preaching the gospel which was not even a gospel. It wasn't good news. Certainly not the good news. According to Scripture, and I would place the prosperity gospel.

In that same category.

It's not truly good news it sells is short of what the good news of the gospel really is and the focus of that gospel is the forgiveness of our sins, the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come in the first question we received about about first Peter, I talked about how in the context of first Peter was the fact that we as believers might suffer with Jesus will suffer with Jesus to follow Jesus, but that the hope that we have is in the resurrection of the dead. It's not that I would have a life it's free from suffering a life it's filled with prosperity and health now is not that those things are bad things in and of themselves, but here's the thing.

Claudius that's not what's promised to us in the gospel in the gospel the message of the Christian faith. God is not promising you or me money, health, wealth, what is promising you is the forgiveness of sins's communion with him fellowship with the true and the living God.

That's better than anything else this world has to offer. You know there was a guy in the Old Testament who really learned this lesson the hard way. I'm thinking of Asaph and Psalm 73. He talks about in that Psalm it I would just encourage you to maybe take some time this afternoon to read Psalm 73. With this question in mind and he talks about how he'd look at the wicked, and he was jealous. He was confused and even concerned because it seemed like they were blessed they had everything they wanted. They were they were full they were rich. They were healthy, and yet he felt chastised by God and he really struggled with the fees that even he almost stumbled him it was, it was really something that was giving him this sort of crisis of faith.

And then he says he went to the temple of God, and he understood there and that one day peg in a parish and he says. As for me, the end of that's on the nearness of God is my good whom have I in heaven you and on earth. There is nothing that I desire besides you, he says so beautifully in Psalm 73.

My flesh and my heart might fail, but God is the strength of my life and my portion forever. The problem with the prosperity gospel, Claudia, is that it focuses on this world and stuff material things being our portion, our ultimate hope when God says no I am your portion.

I am your ultimate treasure in the gospel I give you myself so it's not fit. We don't want God's blessings is that we don't want to define God's blessings as something other than the forgiveness of sins and communion with the true and the living God offered to us in the gospel.

If we define them as something less than that riches health and we take people's eyes off of the true gospel. The preaching of repentance, the forgiveness of sins of them were preaching up a false gospel and that's why it's so dangerous and we've seen this prosperity gospel go to the farthest corners of the world from the United States and its devastating communities because it's taking their eyes off of Jesus and is placing their eyes on onto themselves onto these physical blessings that they hope that God will give to them or that they think God owes to them and that's not what the word of God teaches and so we have to be so careful Claudia that were rightly discerning the word of God. Understanding which promises apply to us which promises were for the saints in the Old Testament under the old covenant not confusing those things and ultimately embracing the true gospel that the apostles proclaimed that Jesus proclaimed, lest we be confused and ultimately condemned for embracing a false gospel while powerful response to the question of federal thank you. We have time for one last question here on core Christianity.

This is from Joe who posted on our website. He says I was driving to Las Vegas last weekend and I saw a couple of billboards that says Jesus saves repent and the end is coming, etc. is this really an effective way to witness. Has anyone ever been led to Christ through a billboard or let's say even a gospel tract, Joe, I don't put a limit on what God can do.

I know that there are people who have been positively affected by things like this to me in the spirit of God can use what ever he wants even a Bible verse on a billboard and so I think it's easy to say you know I have the best way of evangelizing her. This is the best way of evangelizing one person once put it like this.

The best kind of evangelism is the kind that you're actually doing because we could talk.

We can talk about you know what the best way is, and never actually do it.

I don't think that there's anything wrong with having a billboard that that has a Bible verse on it.

Certainly not an end gospel tracts of that there's anything wrong with those. Either God can use those but I prefer building relationships with people and sharing. It's getting to the point where you're able to care for them as a person not treat them as a project and because you love them because you care about them. Share with him the message of eternal life, we should boldly proclaim that weather were putting it on billboards or having someone over for dinner and sing. I want to talk to about Christ and what he's done, let's share the faith, because it's good. 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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