QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 30
Why did Jesus give an option of believing in him or at least on the works that he did?
Believing is not an option--it is the only acceptable response to Him. The reason for this is that everything required for salvation was accomplished behind the scenes, so to speak. The only evidence of the effectiveness of Christ's death is the message of the Gospel--something to be believed. The removal of sin, the defeat of the devil, the removal of the Law that was against us, and the reconciliation of the world to God, were all achieved in an unseen way (John 1:29; Col 2:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Gal 3:13). None of them could be attested to by the natural senses.
When Jesus said, "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him" (John 10:37-38), He was challenging people to see that what He did was in perfect harmony with what had been revealed about God. He was requiring them to believe God had sent Him, and that He was not an impostor. Remember, the people had just finished charging Him with being an impostor, saying He really did not come from God. "The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God" (John 10:33). Our Lord's answer was telling them this was a most foolish statement. Everything about Him pointed to God--what he said and what he did. To put it another way, there was nothing about Him, his words, or His works, that could lead to the conclusion He was not the Son of God. Because they were unbelieving, He told them to believe that what He was doing was of God. That sort of honest-heartedness would bring them to the point where they would believe in Him, and thus be saved.
Why is the "second coming" not corresponded to the resurrected Christ three days afterward when this would have been "is come in the flesh"?
The second coming of Christ is a global and public event, not a provincial or private one. When he comes again "every eye shall see Him," even those who pierced Him (Rev 1:7). As the disciples saw Him ascend up into heaven, they were told they would see Him come again, just as they had seen Him leave (Acts 1:11). That was AFTER He had spent time with them following His resurrection.
His return will not be secret like His resurrection was. It will be attended by His own shout, the voice of the arch angel, and the trumpet of God (1 Thess 4:16; 1 Cor 15:52). Then, the dead will be raised and the living changed into a state of incorruption, as death is swallowed up in victory (1 Cor 15:52-54). None of this occurred when Jesus rose from the dead. In fact, no one saw Him actually rise from the dead. He appeared after His resurrection to his disciples, and not during His resurrection. Further, the world never again saw Him after He died. That is why, on the evening of His betrayal, He told His disciples, "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also" (John 14:19).
Thus, the resurrection of Jesus does not fulfill the promise of His second coming. When He appears again, He will change our vile bodies, that they may be like unto His (Phil 3:20-21).
Is it wrong to be an organ donor? If it is wrong then is it wrong to accept organ transplants?
There is nothing in the word of God on this subject. Like several other issues, it is a matter of conscience. Each believer is responsible for being "fully persuaded" in their own minds on matters like this (Rom 14:1-5). When God has not provided directions on an aspect of life, no individual can dictate to another on what is proper.
This is a case where James' counsel is appropriate. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5). That honest prayer, coupled with a fervent desire to honor the Lord in our decisions, will yield an acceptable answer to you.
"...the sun will be darkened, and the moon will turn red as blood, before the great and glorious Day of the Lord comes. And then, whoever calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.' - Acts 2:20b-21.
What about calling out to the Lord? How does that match up with abiding in the Lord? Obeying His commands, keeping the testimony of Jesus? What is the difference between that time and now? Will not the same teachings from scripture apply to people then as it applies to us now? Commands, warnings promises and all? >>
In a nutshell, Joel's prophecy affirmed that salvation would be brought to humanity before an end was brought to time. The world would not end without the promise made by God were fulfilled. The Seed that would bruise the serpent's head would come, as promised (Gen 3:15). All notions would be blessed as promised (Gen 18:18; 22:18).
On Pentecost Peter is announcing the era of salvation was beginning. What was occurring did not fulfill everything Joel prophesied (like the sun being darkened and the moon turning into blood--parabolic language denoting the end of the world). The promised blessing--salvation--had finally arrived. It was not discriminating, but for 'all flesh.' It was not confined to men or women, but was for 'young men and maidens.' It was not restricted to age, but was for 'young men and old men.'
Calling upon the name of the Lord is what initiates the process of being saved--a process only God can make effective. It is asking God to do what He promised He would do. It is relying upon the Lord. It is abandoning self-efforts, recognizing only the Lord can save. It is like a man sinking in the ocean crying out to the captain of an ocean liner, 'Help! Save me!' Calling upon the name of the Lord is an acknowledgment, or confession, that we have no other hope.
When the people cried out 'Men and brethren, what shall we do,' they were calling upon the name of the Lord. When the Ethiopian eunuch said, 'See, here is water, what doth hinder me from being baptized?' he was calling upon the name of the Lord. When the Philippian jailor cried out, 'What must I do to be saved?' he was calling upon the name of the Lord.
Abiding in the Lord, obeying His commands, keeping the testimony of Jesus, etc., are all part of calling on the name of the Lord. They all evidence a relinquishment of self, and dependence upon the Lord. Calling upon the name of the Lord is like the door that opens to all of those things, enabling the person to do them.
There is no place--absolutely no place--in the Kingdom of God for not abiding in Christ, disobeying Him, or failing to keep His testimonies. However, none of those things can be done in dependently of Divine involvement. If the Lord does not come along side of us and help us, we simply will not get it done.
So, in faith, we continue to 'call upon the name of the Lord.' That is not a one time occurrence. Christians are described as 'all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours' (1 Cor 1:2). It is not something they once did, but something they continue to do. David well described the life of the believer when he wrote, 'I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the LORD' (Psa 116:13).
Why is it more difficult for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle? (Matthew 19:24)
This is one of the remarkable sayings of Jesus. It highlights the absolute necessity of Divine involvement in salvation--particularly that of a rich man. The reason for the hardness of the matter is that a rich man has more of himself tied to this world. Riches are like a gigantic octopus that can take hold on a soul, dragging it down to perdition. Paul put it this way, 'But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows' (1 Tim 6:9-10).
Some have suggested “a needle’s eye' was a particular mountain pass through which camels often had to pass. In order to get through the pass, all of their packs had to be removed. The explanation sounds good to a novice, but is not true.
Jesus is affirming the IMPOSSIBILITY of a rich man being saved without God and Himself. As you suggest, this is also true of anyone who is saved. When Jesus made this provocative statement, the disciples replied, 'Who then can be saved?' They knew their Lord was talking about impossibilities from the earth's point of view. Christ's response: 'With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.' Thank God for a salvation that is possible with God!This is one of the remarkable sayings of Jesus. It highlights the absolute necessity of Divine involvement in salvation--particularly that of a rich man. The reason for the hardness of the matter is that a rich man has more of himself tied to this world. Riches are like a gigantic octupus that can take hold on a soul, dragging it down to perdition. Paul pout it this way, 'But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows' (1 Tim 6:9-10).
Some had suggested 'a needles' eye' was a particular mountain pass through which camels often had to pass. In order to get through the pass, all of their packs had to be removed. The explanation sounds good to a novice, but is not true.
Jesus is affirming the IMPOSSIBILITY of a rich man being saved without God and Himself. As you suggest, this is also true of anyone who is saved. When Jesus asked the question, the disciples replied, 'Who then can be saved?' They knew their Lord was talking about impossibilities from the earth's point of view. Christ's response: 'With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.' Thank God for a salvation that is possible with God!
Every indicator of the approaching Judgment that Jesus mentioned had, according to Biblical accounts, taken place by the summer of AD 70 and places a 'check-mate' on any argument that Jesus is supposed to return at any time in our future. The game is over!
Please comment on your glorified body--the one that is fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body. That is what the Spirit said would happen when Jesus appears (Phil 3:20-21). Also, tell what you have beheld when you saw Jesus as He is--that also is said to occur when He appears (1 John 3:1-2) -- and share about your own appearing, which will also occur then (Col 3:4).
It is interesting to me that the Son of man does not know the time of His return, but you do--and others who hold to the AD 70 delusion. To affirm the saints are presently glorified betrays a level of ignorance that is inexcuseable. It also removes hope, by which we are being saved (Rom 8:24).
If, as you boast, "the game is over," then so is the fight. If that is true, there is no need to "fight the good fight of faith," "resist the devil," "mortify our members that are upon the earth," or "deny ungodliness." Such folly does not even need to be addressed. Any honest heart knows there is no need for faith or hope if "the game is over." The fact that we still must "put on the whole armor of God" confirms the game is NOT over. Or--have you also removed your armor?
We do not want your view. It tells us we have what we all know we do not have, and robs us of faith and hope. I suggest you scrap the view at once, then you will "not be ashamed before Him at His coming" (1 John 2:28).
I want to ask, 'how do you know there is a God?' I have been struggling with this lately.
God is not known like we know there is a city Chicago, or that it is raining. He is known by faith--that is, by believing the testimony of His existence and Person. Nature testifies there is a God. The Bible tells us this in Psalm 19:1-4. Nature testifies to God much like a great painting testifies to the artist, or a good book to its author. The universe is orderly, precise in every way. For all of that to happen without an orderly God would be like an unabridged dictionary popping out of an explosion in a print factory.
Your own conscience testifies to the existence of God. The very fact that you are asking this question should tell you something. When God created man, He made him in His own likeness. Among other things, that means there is a deep hunger within humanity to find and know God. Humanity is incurably religious.
The Word of God also testifies to God. Through the Bible He has told us of Himself, what He is like, and what He desires.
In a nutshell, faith, or believing God, is itself the evidence of God. That is what the Bible means when it says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb 11:1). The reason faith proves the matter is that God works through our faith. Faith is like a house God can work in, and produce the results you want. If your desire is to know there really is a God, then work on believing what He has said about Himself--especially through Jesus Christ. When believing seems difficult, follow the example of a man Jesus once challenged to believe. He said, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24). God will not let you down.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but I could not find that
David "repented quickly" after his sin with Bathsheba. Actually what he did was after his sin with Bathsheba he accumulated his sin with premeditated murder.
The dreadful sin of placing Uriah at the forefront of the battle was BEFORE Nathan came. David DID repent as soon as Nathan gave him the message. The immediate response is recorded, "And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die" (2 Sam 12:13).
The Lord honored Davis repentance, and so should you. It is later said of this man after God's own heart, "David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite" (1 Kgs 15:5). That is a remarkable statement. It does not ignore what David did when he sinned against the Lord, but it does show he was sensitive--which was precisely my point.
How can I know that I am born again? I have asked Jesus forgiveness of my sin, but I have these doubts. I find it hard to pray and read my bible. I want to do what God wants of me but I am confused.
Peter reminds us that baptism is an appeal to God for a good conscience--asking Him to remove any doubt that our sins are forgiven and we belong to Him. Baptism is being buried in water with Jesus, with the promise we will be raised up to walk in a new life. Romans 6:1-6 tells us of the value of baptism into Christ. First Peter 3:21 provides Peter's comment about the good conscience. If you have not been baptized into Christ, then you should do that.
If you have already been baptized, then you are being tempted with doubts. The temptations are Satan's flaming arrows, hurled into your mind (Ephesians 6:16). Such thoughts are not wanted by the person who is born again. They come into the mind against our wills. Satan's aim is to get us to accept them as though they were the truth.
The word of God gives us some indications concerning whether or not we are born again. Here are some of them.
1. If we love and have a preference for the people of God. "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death" (1 John 3:14).
2. If we do not love the ways of the world. "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15).
3. If we believe Jesus is the Christ: that is, the exclusive One through whom we come to God. "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well" (1 John 5:1).
4. If we are able to overcome the world, not being pulled back into a sinful life style. "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" (1 John 5:4-5).
Perhaps some further explanation will be helpful. Finding it hard to read the Bible and pray can be for one of two reasons. It can be because a person really does not like doing these things. It can also be because the devil is tempting us to do other things that take us away from those activities, even though we really want to do them. I think you are in the latter category. The fact that you are asking about this proves to me that you really want to pray and read the scriptures. Those two traits are evidence you are born again.
Those in Christ Jesus experience a struggle inside of themselves. You are really two people in one body. Part of you is born again, and part of you is not. That is the way it is with everyone who is in Christ Jesus. Take, for example, your body. It has not been born again--but it will be in the resurrection. In the meantime, there is a part of you that must be subdued. The bible calls it the "flesh," or the "sinful nature." It is also called "the old man" or "old self" in Ephesians 4:22-24 and Colossians 3:9-10. The struggle between the "old man" or self, and the "new man" or self, is described in Romans 7:15-25. As you read this section, you will be reminded of what you are experiencing.
What does the bible say about killing in war.
The New Covenant writings does not deal directly with this matter. John the Baptist did counsel the soldiers, "Do violence to no man" (Lk 3:14). The absence of direct teaching on this matter throws it into the area of conscience. My own conscience forbids me to do such a thing. I cannot see that being in harmony with new life in Christ Jesus. However, I do have many brothers and sisters who think differently on the subject.
Fighting for our country is never commended or commanded in the New Testament writings. As with other matters of conscience, "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind" (Rom 14:5).
It seems to me that Balaam asked the Lord's counsel every step of his way and God told him to rise and go with the princes of Moabites. Why then was God angered?
Always remember that God "looks on the heart" (1 Sam 16:7). On the surface, it does appear Balaam was following everything told him. But we must look more closely at the matter. First, remember, Balak asked Balaam to curse the people of God (Numbers 22:5-8). Balaam asked the people to lodge with him while he sought the Lord on the matter--of whether or not the curse the people of God. Such a request betrays a faulty heart. The Lord's first response to Balaam was, "You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed" (Num 22:12). For Balaam, the matter did not end there, however. Even though the messengers told Balak Balaam would not come with them, he persisted in asking Balaam to curse the people of God. "Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me" (22:16-17). When Balaam received the message, he said the right words, saying even if Balak gave him his house filled with silver and gold, he would not "go beyond the word of the Lord" (22:18). It certainly sounded good, didn't it. But Balaam did not send the men back. Instead he asked them to spend the night with him again, thereby opening the door to his own wicked lust.
At this point, the Lord appears again to Balaam and tells him to go with the men, but not to say one word more than He tells him. In this, God was testing Balaam--actually bringing out the man's wickedness. Notice the difference between God's test of Peter and His test of Balaam. When God lowered a sheet of unclean animals for Peter to eat, Peter refused to do so three times--until He got the real message God was sending (Acts 10). Balaam, however, did not refuse to go with the men who were asking him to curse the people of God. Although Peter's case was different, his response revealed a good heart. He just lacked understanding. Balaam's response revealed a bad heart. He did not care to have the right understanding.
Scripture later apprises us that Balaam was motivated by the desire for money. False prophets who seek to gain advantage by saying what is wrong are actually likened to Balaam. "They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man's voice restrained the madness of the prophet" (2 Pet 2:15-16). Jude also points out Balaam was not following the Lord, but seeking his own financial profit (Jude 11).
If people insist on following their own way, the Lord will see to it that they have opportunity to do so. Examples are Pharaoh, Aachan, Judas, Ananias and Saphirra, etc. Balaam's heart was not right. He was willing to curse the very people of God for money, and actually sought for God to approve him doing so. There are some things we do not need to ask about. Asking God whether or not to curse His people is like asking whether or not we should commit murder, adultery, robbery, or some other thing against the nature of God.
Please Explain to me the "Way". In the verse I am the way, the truth, and the life. For some reason the word "way" is confusing me.
Think of it this way: If Emily was lost in the mall, and could not find her way out, you would be "the way" out -- that is, you would take her by the hand and lead her out. That is the sense imn which Jesus is "the Way." He takes us by the hand and brings us to God. Remember, the last part of that verse reads, "No man comes to the Father but BY me." Thnik of "by Me" meaning, "by Me bringing the person to God."
Verses that go along with John 14:6, where Jesus made that statement, are: Hebrews 2:10; 1 Peter 3:18; Acts 13:39; Ephesians 2:16-18.
Does God just make everything happen--like loved ones dying? That seems too cut and dried to me.
You are correct in saying things are not cut and dried. Too, everything is NOT "good." God works everything together for "good," but everything is not good. There is an "evil day" (Eph 6:13), and "evil works" from which the Lord delivers (2 Tim 4:18). If everything was good, Jesus would not have said, "resist not evil" (Matt 5:39)
The Word of God apprizes us that God is absolutely Sovereign. Nothing can overturn His will (Psa 115:3; 135:6; Isa 46:10; Dan 4:35). We also know that Satan cannot access the people of God without Divine approval, as made known in Job (Job 1:8; 2:3). Additionally, Jesus made known that Satan often desires key people of God to sift them--yet Jesus, as in the case of Peter, said He prayed Peter's faith would not fail (Lk 22:31-32).
The Word of God does not say it is God's will that unusual deaths occur. Remember, Jesus was asked by some about certain people Pilate killed, offering them with their own sacrifices. He answered declaring they were sinners above others of that time. He also mentioned thirteen that were killed by a falling tower, making the same observation (Luke 13:1-5). Notice, He did not say that is what God desired for the people to die, but He did leave the people thinking about God, not a mere accident. ,
I speak as one who has experienced some of these things. My first wife died of Lou Gherig's disease, as well as one of my daughters. I also have a son who had massive brain cancer at the age of nine, but survived by the grace of God. In all of these cases, and more, I knew matters were in the Lord's hand--completely. The Lord has told us He will not allow us to be tempted above our ability (1 Cor 10;13). We must believe that holds true, even in some of these very difficult cases. There is no tragedy that is out from under the Lord's control. Our times, like David's, are in the hands of the Lord, not the devil's, or capricious men (Psa 31:15).
Through Isaiah, the Lord spoke of the righteous being taken away, their lives abruptly cut off without apparent reason. He made this most interesting observation. "The righteous perishes, And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, While no one considers That the righteous is taken away from evil" (Isa 57:1). That is a consideration we must not allow to escape us--deliverance from evil to come, i.e., things that are worse than what was experienced.
As you can see, most of these observations are general--and that for a reason. The Lord, as I understand it, does not want us coming up with canned answers about these more difficult areas of life. The just live by faith, not by explanations. As a believer in Christ, you are absolutely correct in saying God will work everything together for the ultimate good of His people. He will also duly compensate those who have suffered unjustly, and righteously deal with those who inflicted the suffering. Those are all His prerogatives, and He will do it in impeccable righteousness.
It is God alone who can give or take life. Job, with no Bible, knew this, and we must know it also (Job 1:21). Whether it is blessing or calamity, we must believe it has been filtered through the Lord (Job 2:10). That is a matter for faith, not an answer for the intellect.
No person has a right to speak for God, i.e., "God wanted the little girl . . . " I do not question the possibility of such a thing, having considered it in both the death of my wife and that of my daughter. It is not necessary for us to have an answer for these things. Our view, however, must defer to God, not to the devil, and certainly not to circumstance. When matters are particularly troubling for us, we can ask for wisdom from the Lord. He will not rebuke us for asking, and will satisfy our hearts with an answer (James 1:5-6). There are some very difficult things that happen to us that remind me of the words of Jesus to Peter. "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this" (John 13:7).
Heartless answers are never right, nor are they comforting. Far better to say, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen 18:25), then leave it there.
To say, "Everything that happens is God's will," is most foolish. Some people are going to perish, even though God "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (1 Pet 3:9).
referred to Jesus not knowing the day or hour of His return. I always assumed that Jesus' limited knowledge was due strictly to
I understand this is still a limitation--a voluntary one. It allows the Son to fellowship with us in the expectation of His return. He is, after all, "expecting" (10:13). You will recall one of the last scenes of our blessed Lord finds Him sitting on a cloud with a sickly. He is informed from heaven when it is time to reap the earth (Rev 14:14-16).
His return from earth commenced His great intercessory work for His people. That is best conducted in fellowship with them in the matter of expectation. At least that is my understanding on this.
I do not understand Jesus to have regained everything He cast aside to redeem us. He is, at this very time, "the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5)--something He never was before. Our salvation was an extremely costly affair for Him. After "the end," we are told, He will deliver the Kingdom back to God the Father, and He Himself will be subject to the Father (1 Cor 15:24-29). That is not the description of our lord prior to coming into the world.
This, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with Him being Divine, Rather, it reveals that the prospect of vast throng of people conformed to His image, and sitting with Him in His throne, was worth the unfathomable price He paid.
All of this, of course, is holy ground, and to be traversed with the greatest faith, humility, and thankfulness.
Can you tell me where to look for information,
Scripture, etc. on dealing with a situation where one or two men attempt to divide a church due to their own hate (brought on by the devil, obviously) and a misplaced desire for control?
A situation like this cannot be approached by just anyone. One or both of these men have been "overtaken in a fault." In this case, the "fault" is a disregard for the body of Christ. Those dealing with it must be "spiritual," or acutely aware of the Lord and His will--living close to Him. This requirement is given in Galatians 6:1.
The type of sin with which you are dealing is that Diotrephes, who "loved to have the preeminence" among the brethren (3 John 9-10). The attitude is a flagrant contradiction of the manner of Christ's Kingdom. Jesus told His Apostles, "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all" (Mark 9:35). Someone must tell these offending men that there is no place whatsoever in the body of Christ for a desire for control. There can be no tolerance of the attitude. This word is given to elders. "Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock" (1 Pet 5:3). The flock belongs to God, not to any man or group of men.
Doing damage to the church will be met with Divine judgment. Somewhere the church must capture the seriousness of this matter. Referring to the church as "the temple of God," where God Himself dwells, this Divine commitment is given. "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1 Cor 3:17). Make no mistake about this, if any person divides the church, a most serious infraction of God's will has taken place--particularly if it involves a thirst for control.
Having said this, there really is no revealed procedure about handling a situation like this. Each case must be approached with fervent prayer and a determination to do the will of God. The Lord will help you do what is right. If you personally are not the right person to attempt the resolution, the Lord will raise up someone who is. You are right to be concerned about it, and can see from the Word that the situation is serious. May the Lord grant you faith, wisdom, and courage in the matter.
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