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Why Jesus Is Not Your Political Mascot

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
January 12, 2021 1:00 am

Why Jesus Is Not Your Political Mascot

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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January 12, 2021 1:00 am

Episode 618 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

1. I know that it has been said on the program before that Christianity isn’t about us living our best life, but does that mean that it does not help us live a better life at all? I know you are trying to avoid teachings like the prosperity gospel, but the book of Proverbs, for instance, seems to tell us how to live better lives in certain ways. Would you still say that Christianity is only about our place in heaven?

2. How do I know the warning passages in Hebrews 6 and 10 are not talking about me? I have been in a bad spiritual place for about a month now and don’t know what to do. How do I know that these are not talking about me?

3. Jude seems like a very strange epistle in the New Testament. What is its significance in the canon, and why do you think it touches on topics of angels and things that Paul and others don’t normally focus on?

4. During the protests against the election results, there were many flags being waved by the protestors with Jesus’s name on them, at one point even a cross was raised outside the capitol building, all while people were pushing themselves through police barricades and breaking into the building. Why do you think the name of Jesus is being invoked in these acts?

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During the recent protests over the election results.

Protesters used Jesus name and other Christian symbols in their march on the capital, but should we use Jesus as a political mascot that is one of the questions will be answering on today's addition 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 core that's 1-833-843-2673 also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram or twitter accounts or email us at questions at core, Christianity.com first step today Israel. We have a lighter story to share animal rescuers in Scotland are searching for the owners of an escaped hamster that braved freezing temperatures to make his way to a candy store.

SPCA says the hamster was caught on video, clinging to a person who entered a candy store in Glasco, the hamster jumped off the apparently unaware shopper inside the store and was soon captured and turned over to the SPCA animal control officer Amy certain says the hamster is in good health despite its journey through the streets in temperatures that reached a low of 5. She says we've named the little guy Tom Cruise in his mission impossible type attempt to get some treatment that's a funny built his house and stay there really needs to be a movie about this hamster letter on the storming and then hopping onto somebody's leg and making into the candy store so amazing. Would you go to those great lengths to get to the candy store that's my question. Absolutely. I mean doesn't matter, rain, sleet, snow, you know that a candy store. He bet let's get to our first question of the day.

This is a call coming in from Caleb in San Diego show no program for the Christianity about living our life that mean it is not help us live a better life at all and are trying to avoid you know like the prosperity gospel. When I read the book of Proverbs, Princeton seems to tell us how to live better lives, at least in certain ways. So, would you still say that Christianity is only about our place in heaven, or does it actually affect us and help us live better lives by now the question Caleb behind. I never want to communicate that for us as Christians and we talk about the Bible we talk about theology. They were just focusing on you know the world to come. Heaven and that it doesn't matter how we live our lives here on earth now that that the Christian faith doesn't actually benefit us in the present and in all sorts of different ways, I think that's absolute absolutely true and you mentioned, just like the category of wisdom in the Bible books like the book of Proverbs or the book of Job. For example we have principles that are given to us to help to guide us in our daily lives just is really them nuggets of information that, if we live by them. Generally, things come out pretty good. Now that's not always the case. That's why, in the wisdom literature, you have the start of the Proverbs they do this and and this will happen but then you also have, as I mentioned the book of Job where you have an individual who seems to have done everything right and yet he experiences great suffering and so help.

One thing we don't want to communicate.

You mentioned this about the prosperity gospel. We don't want to communicate to people that if you just do these things take the steps God is in a bless you with health, wealth and riches. You know you you quoted living your best life now.

That's not the Christian faith. The Christian faith is embracing the truth of the gospel we find in God's word realizing that those truth do mean something for our lives today.

They do shape how we live. But ultimately it's not how we live.

That saves us what Christ is done for us and that's what we focus on that message over and over again on this program but and and like I said I want to stress this our lives right now are transformed by the grace of God there is there's a piece that we can have in knowing God here in the present and should shape how we relate to each other how we live our lives, how we take care of the world around us. Even our own bodies. God cares about your body.

Caleb that that's what the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead teaches us. God cares about this physical world and so Christians who have this mentality that sealed the world is just in a lot of trouble. Let me look at look at all the things happening around us. I don't care about this world. My hope is in heaven that God wants us to have that kind of attitude. I think that we we ultimately have our hope in heaven. In Christ seated at the right hand of the father, but that hope transforms how we live today and how we relate to our neighbors and so I think it's really important for us to grasp that Caleb thanks for your question. I was thinking about this. Proverbs says to us that wisdom is shouting from the gate posts.

I mean it's just telling us this is how God designed the world to function you made a really good point. There's no guarantees because we live in a fallen world and certainly things been given a limited amount of power on this earth, so it's not that it's a total cause-and-effect relationship, but most of the time if we follow God's principles. Things usually work out the way they're supposed to think about what the apostle Paul said in the book of Romans, you reap what you sow it if you do so to your flesh are going to reap destruction. But if you so to the spirit that is if you're in the word praying part of a good church a local church where the gospel is being faithfully preached. If you're being trained in godliness like Paul told Timothy in first Timothy, there are going to be fruits benefits that come from that.

Now of course as you said, we have to stress this because this is what the prosperity gospel gets wrong, they draw 11 correlation between you know you follow Jesus you accept him. And if you're walking in obedience, God is going to bless you with with these things with money with power with health. Nowhere is that promise to us in in the New Testament. No actually were told that his followers of Jesus Christ were inexperienced persecution and even suffering what we can rest assured in his our salvation is the forgiveness of our sins to the gospel of Jesus Christ and knowing like like Paul says that what we reap. We will so and so there's some general wisdom there for us. Your listing the core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez.

Let's get to another call that came in from one of our younger listeners at 833-843-2673, let me just begin first by praying for you. I know exactly how it is that you feel I I remember being in a very similar place at one point in my life is let me pray for you, but I want to lift my sister up to right now and ask for your grace and mercy, to cover her. I pray Lord that as we open up the Scriptures your word that she would be encouraged that she would find comfort in your gospel and lorded that confidence and in what you have said through your son Jesus would help her to live a life of freedom and joy, and the fruit of your spirit.

Lord, what you would you be with her and what you bless are now in Jesus name, amen. I mentioned that there was a point in my life where I I felt the exact same when I can actually tell you where I was. I was in high school and I had been reading through the book of Hebrews and it was the lunch hour and I was this weird high school kid was out in the middle of the soccer field reading the book of Hebrews that I read Hebrews 6 and I remember being overwhelmed with this sense of terror because in the book of Hebrews as you know you have these warning passages in places like chapter 6 in chapter 10 to read read the text to give us some context. The author, the Hebrews began in chapter 6, verse one.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God and of instruction about washings and the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. In this we will do if God permits, for it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the aged, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt for the land that has drunk the rain that often falls on and I want to note this this little parable that's given to us here I think is important in understanding and interpreting these verses for the land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned now. One of the reasons I had a real difficulty with this passage and in it just struck terror in my heart and I think this is probably the same for you is because I had a hard time understanding what this scene was that the author the Hebrews was referring to what what is he talking about her when he talks about falling away is it just you know struggling with the pattern us of sin.

As a Christian, which we all experience at times in our lives as followers of Jesus. Nobody is perfect. I mean John says in first John in his first epistle of first John chapter 1 that if anyone says that there without sin. There a liar and the truth is not in them. The author, the Hebrews is talking about something very specific here.

He's talking about what we call apostasy that is completely abandoning Jesus. That's why in chapter 10 he talks about trampling the son of God underfoot in counting the blood of the covenant as a common thing on unholy thing.

The people that are that are doing this sin that the author, the Hebrews is talking about here.

They don't care about Jesus or his gospel there trampling him underfoot and it sounds to me sister like you do care about Jesus like like like you want his grace, his mercy, his forgiveness and let me tell you. Jesus said in John chapter 6 that the one who comes to him. He will in no wise cast out. When we go to Jesus broken weighed down by our sins. Even if we fall in 100 times.

He doesn't turn us away when we come to him by faith weighed down by her sins, he receives us and what the author the Hebrews is talking about here is in a group of believers who is struggling with some said even some habitual sin and that Davis done it too many times.

And so Jesus turned his back on them know these are people who are abandoning the gospel who were showing really that they never had faith to begin with, and the author. The Hebrews is really concerned about this, but he's also hopeful. He says in verse nine of chapter 6 though we speak.

In this way. Yet, a New York case, beloved, we feel sure of better things.

Things that belong to salvation even for them. Even for these people who were on the verge of apostasy, potentially, the author of the Hebrews is holding out hope he say no were confident of better things for you of things that accompany salvation, and if the author the Hebrews to say that to them. These people who were being tempted to trample Jesus underfoot than I can say it to you if you're coming to Jesus longing for his grace for his mercy, know that it belongs to you and that he doesn't reject you sister and I think that you have to rest in that. And the last thing I'll say I mentioned that parable in over the author. The Hebrews says the land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces the crop useful for those whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God, always talking about that what he's talking about. There is the fact that the reign of God's word has been falling on the land quote unquote of this church and sometimes what happens is these people hear the word of God. Some of them there thorns and thistles, they abandon the faith they were.

They reject the gospel net shows that they were never part of the family of God, really, truly to begin with, but sometimes in the Rangers, which also have within the churches is the rain falling, the gospel being apprehended and people growing in the body of Christ and says to me like that's that's you calling into this program wanting to know Jesus wanting to know that you believe in him, truly arrest dear sister in the promise of the gospel because it's for you to go to Jesus. He doesn't cast you out there, man, what great reassurance. Thanks for that Israel. This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez where we answer your questions about the Christian faith every day and we have an amazing team of people behind us producing the show people who are writing the core articles for website producing our core Bible studies and these are the resources that help our listeners more fully understand the gospel and have the confidence to share their faith that one thing you may not know is that we are listener supported.

We count on people just like you to keep this program on the air yet that's right we can do without your prayers and support.

And that's what we are asking you to come alongside of us and become a regular supporter with the monthly donation of $25 or more, you can join the inner core and be a part of the team that makes this show possible and by becoming a member of the inner core. We will also send you a signed copy of the book that started it all. Core Christianity finding yourself in God's story by our founder Dr. Michael Horton held out like our our radio program. The book unpacks the essential beliefs that Christians share in a way that is easy to understand and it shows why these beliefs matter for our lives today and so head over to core Christianity.com/inner core. To learn more or give us a call at 833 the core again. That's 833-843-2673 go to another question that came in later One from our Instagram account from Lonnie. She says June seems like a very strange epistle in the New Testament. What is that significance in the Canon and why do you think it touches on topics of angels and things that Paul and others don't normally focus on yeah Judy is one of those books in the New Testament that not a lot of people spend time and partially because it's a shorter book right away it's it's it's one of the shortest books in the New Testament. I just had someone in my church the other day say that they wanted to do a study through Jude and I was really excited when I heard that because like I said, it's oftentimes avoided and it's a very heavy book, really, because it talks a lot about false teaching that there are quite a few parallels between Jude and second Peter actually in both these books seem like there warnings against false prophets and let me just say that that's actually something you see all over the place in the New Testament. He mentioned Paul Hyman. I think of what he said in acts chapter 20 when he was talking to the Ephesian elders and he was encouraging them to shepherd the flock of God because he knew that after his departure savage wolves were going to come in, not sparing the flock, and so this is one of the big concerns that you see in the New Testament a concern to guard the truth of the gospel to hold fast to core Christianity. If you will.

And that's one of the things that Jude makes absolutely clear in the book begins. Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, there it is right there. What's the book about it's about contending for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints to the church contend against whom against false teachers who are going to be judged severely by God. And that's one of the reasons why Jude brings up no angels in that kind of a thing is it's really in the context of the judgment of God that came upon the wicked, and so he uses them as an example, similar to Peter in second Peter and that's it. Just a real brief summary of what's going on in the book of Jude and I encourage you to to dig in because it's so important for us to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Okay, this is an email question that came in from Brad. He says during the recent protests about the election. There were many flags being waived by the protesters with Jesus name on them and at one point even across was raised outside the capital building.

What do you think about the name of Jesus being invoked in these acts I'm 100% against it.

Actually it's it's really tragic. It's a sign of what we call syncretism you have the attempt to merge the true faith of God's people, the fate that was once for all delivered to the saints, and just read about their in Jude chapter 1 with something else. And in this case, you know, our own may be political preferences and we have to be so careful that we don't do that because we mix the true faith with anything, but we do is we corrupted.

I think back to that story in first Samuel chapter 4 the Israelites go to war with the Philistines and you know what they did. They thought hey here's Howard and I have the upper hand. Working to take God with us in to battle and they marched into battle against the Philistines with the ark of the covenant.

You know what happened were told, and in first Samuel chapter 4 that there was a great slaughter and the ark was captured by the Philistines. It was the Israelites essentially trying to use God in this superstitious way as a way of advancing their own sort of political power in the world. We have to be very careful that we don't try to use God in the same way that we don't think that hate. We can use Jesus or the cross or Christianity as a way of advancing my own sort of political agenda that that's not what the gospel is about that some of the cross is about the cross is about the atonement that Jesus Christ provided for sinners and I think it's an absolute shame when we try to use God in the Bible and the cross.

The gospel essentially to advance our own purposes in our own means in the world is so I'm really concerned about this kind of thing out. Now this is not to say that we ought not to have a pinions about politics and things that are happening around us and ultimately seek to love our neighbors well, but we have to ask ourselves the question, am I trying to use God as a means to an end as a means to it may be my own sort of political view or something like that or am I ultimately pursuing the good of my neighbor trying to love my neighbor when you look at what took place the other day at the capital building that was not about loving our neighbors as I'm happy to have seen several prominent Christians condemned that behavior because that is not what Christianity is about. And that's not how the gospel advances in the world today. The gospel does not advance by us marching to the end of the state capital and breaking in and trying to establish a Christian order. The gospel advances to the humble proclamation of the message of salvation and that something each and every one of us plays a part in through the lives that we live into the conversations that we have with our neighbors. You want to see God made great. Go to the word submit to his will share the love of Christ with the people around you and let the spirit of God do the work. It's something that we can force something that God does by his grace and by his spirit.

And so it really confuses that. I think it how it is that the church grows and advances in the world today with this idea of it, primarily happening through political power or or our sort of influence and culture that that's not the primary way in which the church grows that the church grows by God's word and spirit, and as Christians that's were committed to. And again, that doesn't mean we don't love and serve our neighbors and pursue policies and in things that are to be for the good of our neighbor and for society, but we shouldn't try to use the cross as a means of accomplishing that. In particular, the cross is for sinners and for their salvation. We have time for one more question, Israel. This one comes in from Thomaston actually deals with an early church heresy.

He says Jesus Christ died on the cross.

Would it be true and accurate to say that God died on the cross or did only to human nature of Jesus died on the cross. Really good question and I'm glad that you asked it because there's a lot of confusion about this and the answer is it is accurate to say that God died on the cross in his humanity. So we would want to say that the human nature of Jesus died on the cross because what does it sort of gets us into this dispute that was had by the church along long time ago was called the Nestorian controversy and essentially what people were doing was they were dividing the two natures of Christ, the divine nature and the human nature in such a way that they suggested that there were two different persons in this sort of way and that. That really confuse things in the church said no, there is one divine person, the eternal word of the father you think of John 11 in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and that divine person. Here's the beauty and the wonder of the incarnation that divine person assumed humanity. John 114 the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and in that humanity suffered and died for our sake. So in that sense we can say that God himself suffered and died on the cross for us in that he suffered and died in the humanity which he assumed now why is this so important. Why is this quote unquote core Christianity well because God himself offered the infinite sacrifice.

The infinite atonement to do away with all of our sin so that we can rest assured that we are forgiven, and he is the perfect representative of us because he is the true human. We see this over and over again places in the New Testament like the book of Hebrews we talked about it earlier that he was made and always like we are except sin. And because Jesus is true man and true God, the divine person who assumed humanity for we rest in knowing that our salvation is secure because it was accomplished by God. 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 for 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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