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December 25, 2020 1:00 am
Episode 605 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.
1. Who were the Three Magi or Wisemen that came to see Jesus when he was born? They don’t seem to be referenced again in scripture. Is their involvement in the story important or is it random?
2. Can you explain what Matthew 11:11-15 means?
3. When it comes to salvation, do we respond to God or does God respond to us when we choose him?
4. A family member who is not a Christian asked me what Christians have against reincarnation since we believe that God was incarnate as Jesus. I couldn’t really answer him. Does the incarnation mean that reincarnation is a possibility for humans?
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Child in a Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas by Sinclair B. Ferguson
A family member who is not a Christian asked me what Christians have against reincarnation. Since we believe that God was incarnate as Jesus. I couldn't really answer them. Does the incarnation mean that reincarnation is a possibility for humans.
That's just 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 a radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now is your question at 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram or twitter accounts or you can email us at questions at core, Christianity.com. While California's famous In-N-Out Burger is a big hit in Colorado are real big hit last week, a 14 hour long line formed it in announced first Colorado location, prompting a brawl between waiting customers at one point the Aurora Police Department tweeted out a warning about the drive-through wait times which had hit 12 hours by 4:30 PM on opening day.
Police said they were ready for any issues that may arise among the thousands of fans eager to buy one of the Burger chains signature double double okay drill. I like In-N-Out but 14 hours.
I will go to Burger King come on messaging raising well Bill some things clearly are worth fighting for and let it seems like one of those this evening out double double.
I mean, I'm a SoCal guy right and I love In-N-Out Bill I know you were here for some time with your order with your In-N-Out order. You know I'd pretty much go with everything on it and then the animal fries for sure yes yes the note look at it make sense to me. I mean, you know, we have fallen sinful hearts front to make an idol out of all sorts of things, In-N-Out Burger, and local levels to check our hearts, but I think we can still give thanks for delicious wine out most folks that most folks from parts of the country that don't have Internet, we should tell you it's Christian owned and if you look on the bottom of your cup you will find a Bible verse, which is really cool. Many have turned to the Lord through the notarized shirt but that's true. The deity of Scripture references on their cut is lifted to our first question. This one is a Facebook post from Matt he says, who were the three Magi or Wiseman that came to see Jesus when he was born. They don't seem to be referenced again in Scripture. Is there involvement in the story important or is it just random. What a wonderful way to open up the program for today as we think about Christmas. The Advent season without Matt, I want to read Matthew chapter 2 the beginning of the chapter just to give some context with these Wiseman now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of today and the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, where is he who has been born king of the Jews, for we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. Herod the king heard this, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him and assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him in Bethlehem of Judea for so it is written by the prophet and you owe Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel and Herod summoned the Wiseman secretly and ascertain from them what time the star had appeared and he sent them to Bethlehem saying go and search diligently for the child and when you have found and bring me word that I too may come and worship him. After listening to the king.
They went on their way, and behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place with the child was when they saw the star they rejoice exceedingly with great joy and going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother and they fell down and worshiped him. Then opening their treasures, they offered him gifts gold and frankincense and myrrh and being warned in a dream not to return to harried, they departed to their own country by another way that sometimes the Bible is communicating to us something to us through what it leaves out and I think that's an important thing to note here in this story because it does seem to lead out quite a bit of information as to the identity of these three Wiseman we don't get their names we don't know that the kingdom that they ruled over the kingdoms that they ruled over except for the fact that there from the East there pretty anonymous. The focuses in on these three Wiseman of these three Kings. The focus is on a different King and infant King they come to worship him and I think there involvement is important because they help to reveal the identity of Jesus.
Jesus is the King of Kings and that's was interesting here that the very fact that they travel to him, bringing gifts and then bow down to worship him.
This is a just a mere child.
This is the God man veiled in flesh the Godhead see hail the incarnate deity as the Carol says. Another thing that I think is really interesting here is if you look at in the Old Testament. Some of the promises that were related to the Davidic king God's promises to David.
I think what you see here is some fulfillment there as well. In Psalm 72. For example, it talks about the Davidic king in the nations, bringing him their gifts listen to what Psalm 72 says they begins by saying give the king your justice owe God and your righteousness to the Royal son. Then in verse eight it says may he have dominion from sea to sea, and from River to the ends of the earth made desert tribes bow down before him and his enemies lick the dust made the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute made the kings of Sheba and CIBA bring gifts may all Kings fall down before him all nations serve him or he delivers the needy when he calls the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy from oppression and violence. He redeems their life and precious is there blood in his sight.
Long may he live, and then get this make gold of Sheba be given to him. It may prayer be made for him continually and blessings invoked for him all the day. Here you have that great Davidic king, the one to whom the nations are going to come bringing their tributes their gifts their gold in a manger. Jesus of these these three Wiseman of the three Kings are. I think important to the story because there helping us understand who this baby is he is the God man. The King of Kings, the one whom the Gentiles even are going to worship Jesus the King is beautiful. This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez. There's a question that came in through our website from Barbara, she says, can you explain what Matthew 11 verses 11 through 15 means. Thank you. Let me read the text, Barbara. Matthew 11 beginning in verse 11. Truly I say to you among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist. If the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it.
He is Elijah who is to come.
He who has ears to hear, let them hear this. If you versus your really packed with a lot of information, it really could be a few things that you might be asking about Barbara not entirely sure what what you're focused on in this text of Scripture by one question I have is why was there, none greater than John the Baptist will Jesus is setting them up as the last in line of a long list of prophets who is heralding the dawn of the new era. Ultimately, the dawn of the new covenant. So in that sense EE has this very high position.
This great position in the history of redemption or you might be wondering what is Jesus getting at when he talks about the violent taking the kingdom by force.
That's a really sort of interesting phrase there is in it near some people have taken that to mean anything. What Jesus says in in the sermon on the Mount a little bit earlier in Matthew strive to enter by the narrow gate is at that kind of striving to get into the kingdom. Think also of what the Scriptures is next. 1422 through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God or this is another way of of reading that verse there verse 12. It could be taken or translated in this way until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence and the violent are attempting to take it by force of the verb, there can be is is called a cognitive verb. It is the idea of attempting something but not being able to do it. That sort of makes sense to me because one of the things we see throughout the New Testament, is that the kingdom is not something that we earn or build something that God gives to us. We are receiving a kingdom that comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ established the kingdom he's building his church. We are the recipients of that kingdom.
So it could be that Jesus is referring to the fact that the violent are trying to take the kingdom but they're not able to because that's not how the kingdom comes, you could be referring to her wondering about you.
How is John the Baptist, Elijah, that's another question that this passage of Scripture. I think poses to us and it certainly isn't that the Elijah was reincarnated as John the Baptist or something like that but that John the Baptist came in the spirit and prophetic power of Elijah.
He is this prophet figure. As I said the last in line of of this great list of profits and Elijah was one of them. And so in that sense, John the Baptist is this forerunner who comes in the spirit and power of Elijah and so I think it covered the main set of questions that you might have with this passage of Scripture, Barbara, but feel free to follow-up with the stiff.
If you want to go a little bit deeper into one of those or if if I didn't get to exactly what you are looking for you for your question Barbara, thanks so much for your question. Thanks for being one of our core listeners are listing the core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and you one of the things we do here is we strive to help you understand the core truths of the Christian faith. Every time we answer one of your questions.
Every article we run our website every resource we produce fear is seeking to help you gain a clearer understanding of the gospel. The core message of Christianity, but you know we need your support to do it right Bill, we are a listener supported program and if you benefited or been encouraged by the answers to questions about the Christian faith that you hear on core Christianity. We would like to ask you to please consider sending a gift now to help us continue as a thank you for a gift of $20 or more will send you our new resource how to read the Bible.
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Thank you so much for your support, Federalist get back to another listener question. This one is a call that came in from Oscar like little salvation to come to know all will delete every choice.
Thank you. The age-old question Oscar oh I'm there's a really easy answer to this guy response to us.
We call upon him, and he response to us, but the only reason we call upon him. The only reason you call upon him is because God is at first, working in you except for one thing, I think it's really important for you to know is that God is the one who always takes the initiative in the salvation God isn't just sort of waiting up there for us to say, oh, I decide to follow you, Jesus, and God says you be you know and Ed accepts us because we accepted him that kind of thing know God is the pursuer. He is the one that is pursuing humanity's think of the Christmas message. The message of the incarnation that he sent his son into the world to pursue fallen humanity and the fact of the matter is this is God had to do and God has to take the initiative because we are so bent in word sinfully on ourselves.
We would lift our eyes to heaven were so consumed with ourselves with worshiping the creature rather than the creator that were it not for the work of God's grace.
The work of the Holy Spirit in us he would never turn to him. Oscar and so God takes the initiative now as God is working in us. We do call upon the name of the Lord. We have faith we exercise faith which is ultimately a gift that God gives to us and God rewards if you will, the faith that he gives to estimate it really is quite this amazing dance if you will, where God is at work in us. He's opening our hearts so that we might turn to him and when we turn to him. He showers us with these blessings in his son Jesus to get it has to be this way because were broken in sin.
I think about what the apostle Paul said to the Ephesians. If you have a Bible with you Oscar it might be helpful to turn to Ephesians chapter 2 because I think it's stated so clearly there verse one and you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.
Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
That's what we were. That's what you were Paul is saying to the Ephesian Christians if we used to be spiritually dead, which by the way is, is it really kind of a shocking statement, especially considering today's culture, meet a lot of people like to think of themselves as spiritual, not religious not really that like organized religion or Christianity per se, but I am very spiritual listener what Paul says you were spiritually dead to the Ephesians you were dead in your trespasses and sins.
You might have been engaged in these other religious practices in your own paganism or your own religious beliefs but before God spiritually speaking you word added walking in the passions of your flesh, carrying out the desires of your body of the mind by nature children of wrath, but God, being rich in mercy.
Verse four 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 and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Jesus Christ, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Again, for by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God not a result of work, so that no one may boast. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
And so Oscar do you see how clear it is there. This is not your own doing.
It's not your works. It's not the strength even of your faith. It was you were dead and God made you alive through Jesus Christ.
It's the gift of God, even the fate that you have is a gift of God and this is so important because then at the end of the day who gets all the glory. God does. God gets all the glory in salvation because he took the initiative in each step of the way he was the one raising us up saving us sanctifying us and again that that's not to say that we don't have a responsibility.
The Bible is absolutely clear that we do. We call upon the name of the Lord we repent, but at calling that repentance comes to the work of the Spirit of God in our lives. And it's this marvelous truth. It's a sobering truth because it reveals to us how broken in sin, we are can pull yourself up by the bootstraps you need a work of the spirit, a miracle and that's what God gives to us in his son Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks for your question. Oscar man what a great explanation of God's call to us and our response.
This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez federal here's an interesting question that came in from Manny. He says a family member who is not a Christian asked me what Christians have against reincarnation. Since we believe that God was incarnate as Jesus.
I couldn't really answer him. Does the incarnation mean that reincarnation is a possibility for humans that, thank you for that question.
It's sort of an interesting thing that your family member would bring up in one of you say what a wonderful thing it is that your family wants to talk about spirituality and religion with you the of an opportunity to talk about the gospel with this family member.
The incarnation was unique. It was the incarnation of the second person of the holy Trinity, the eternal son of God. He assumed humanity.
He took on flesh so that he might be our perfect representative and then he died.
Once in that body and rose again from the dead for us for our justification for our salvation that he didn't die and then become reincarnated again of the incarnation is a one time thing again it's it's unique. It's not something that's repeated and Jesus isn't reincarnated and reincarnation is is not something that we experience either one proof text that oftentimes believers will go to and I think it's a legitimate one is Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27 in response to this idea of reincarnation where the author the Hebrew said. And just as it is appointed for man to die once and after that comes the judgment he continues talking. There was just just that phrase there is appointed for men to die once. That is not repeatedly over and over again to die and come back again and dying come back and to die once and after that comes the judgment the word.
Once there is pretty clear we have one life to live and there's no second chance after death. But God gives us many chances today this side of mortality if you will and and that's the important point for us to take note of in a reincarnation, and as it exists in some of these other religions can be really and is really a devastating belief I'd a friend who's from Korea was raised in a very poor family, single mother of Buddhist and she said that oftentimes growing up didn't have anything to eat but no one in their village would help them because they viewed this young girl and her mother as cursed as having had done something horrible in their previous life and that's why they were experiencing the plight that they were in the suffering that they were experiencing.
So nobody wanted to help them.
Nobody was willing to help them because they viewed it is is sort of going against the laws of karma. Just leave him be there being judged for what they did in the previous life, how heartbreaking and horrible karma to Amanda you and ask about that but it's sort of related to this entire system. It is the opposite of the gospel. The gospel is not. God is just going to give you what you deserve.
The gospel is Jesus bore your sins. He took what you deserve, so that in him you might have eternal life. It's it's good news it's the best news there is many maybe that's one of the ways you can talk to this family member. Assertive is highlighting payout rate reincarnation assertive written this idea of karma and it's really not that good news.
But the gospel what God gives to us the truth of Scripture is so much better because it recognizes that we all fail that we do things in our lives that aren't good. We deserve to come back is a rat that was there. The reality, but the fact of the matter is that's not the reality. The reality is, Christ. His worn our sins on the cross so that we might have eternal life, and that's that's good news. Man, I do not want to come back as a centipede or yet ability would be pretty but it be cockroach or something like that I'm sure is a wrapped I'd be another idea is that we have that the pecking order. All set there.
This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez was good to one more question. This kind of ties in with that last one. It's from Jennifer and she says, where will Christians spend eternity.
I thought it was taught that it will be heaven, but now after studying, I believe it may be on a new restored Earth.
Can you please clarify this for me yet. It sounds like you are studying in and coming to the right conclusion, we ultimately have the hope of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Our bodies are going to be raised up in perfect glory and working it inhabit the new creation that the new heavens and the new earth and earth is going to be heaven eyes if you will. It's going to be beyond anything we could ever imagine. In terms of its beauty and its glory. And we are going to worship the Lord and love one another perfectly. It's going to be awesome.
It's our ultimate hope. But oftentimes Jennifer and I think what this is why there's a lot of confusion today. You know you have the sort of idea that Jesus came to die on the cross for my sin, so that I can go to heaven when I die and and so we see heaven. That is sort of being in the clouds or however we imagine it as the ultimate destination of the believer, but that stops short of our full hope. The hope of the restoration of all things, the resurrection of the body.
As I said, see our our bodies are our good. We often think of them negatively like Nino spirit is good body is bad but that's not the case. Our bodies are good created by God. Good. And God intends to restore them and what hope we have what I hope you have it's really easy, especially as we age. Think of our bodies is this great nuisance again met.
I can't wait to shed this old body.
Well guess what you will, for a time but then God is going to raise it up and have bodies just like the Lord Jesus never corrupt or grow old and aren't tainted by sin and we get to experience that reality because Jesus rose from the dead. Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer.
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