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How can I convince a congregation, deep set in tradition, that the purpose of having a worship service (hymns or otherwise) is not to entertain you, but is to worship God? In the service, we seem to concentrate on those who are sick in the flesh, giving offerings, and all of the announcements which consist of times and dates of where people should be. How can I explain that we need to add more emphasis on God when they think they already are?

You have a rather aggressive task before you. First, you do not want to assume people want to be entertained. More than likely, for the most part, they simply have not thought seriously about the matter. That is the effect lifeless tradition has on people. Be as charitable as you can in your evaluation of the people, for love "thinks no evil" (1 Cor 13:5).

Here are some things I am sure they do not presently see.

1. That God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are in their presence (Eph 2:22; Matt 18:20; 1 Cor 3:16).
2. That holy angels are present, and they are totally unimpressed with things that please mere men (1 Cor 11:10; 1 Tim 5;21).
3. That God can be completely turned off by empty religious routine (Amos 5:21-23).
4. That everything is to be done for the edifying, or building up, of the people of God (1 Cor 14:26; Rom 14:19; 1 Thess 5:11).
5. That there is grace available to us so we can serve, or worship, God acceptably (Heb 12:28). That means, of course, that worship can be unacceptable (Matt 15:9).

There are several ways in which you can assist the people in seeing these, and other, critical matters. Also, think of yourself as helping them -- that will change the way you approach these matters.

1. Share what God has said on these things.
2. Testify how you have been thinking about these things, and how it has changed your approach to the services.
3. When given the opportunity, lead them in acceptable worship.
4. Pray for the people. It is difficult, if not impossible, to minister to those for whom we do not pray.
5. Ask the Lord for wisdom in dealing with these issues.
6. Remember, they are the victims of a lot of shallow preaching, traditional emphases, and dull religion.

The Holy Spirit told me recently that I must form a new bond before the old

I appreciate what you are saying. I suggest there is a more precise way for it to be said. It is not a new bond, or relationship, but an increased or enhanced one. This is involved in being changed "from glory to glory" (2 Cor 3:18). God is calling you higher, further. and deeper (Eph 3:18-20). It is the same life, but more of it; the same glory, but a great measure. You are not required to let go of any valid benefit you have enjoyed, but to build upon it. God is the same, His grace is the same, and the inheritance to which you are called is the same. However, because we do not yet have the fullness of it all, we are continuing to grow. I know you understand these things.

My question is on Authority in the church: Jesus commanded the "Apostles" to go and preach the gospel to the world. And the book of revelation is the only new testament book that God commanded to be written. : If the Catholic church in the holy spirit is  infallible to determine what writings are the word of God or scripture than isn't anything the church leaders in the holy spirit  say  infallible since they walk with god they can speak for him with authority.

God does not speak of authority as resident in the church. It is Christ Himself who has been given "all authority in heaven and in earth" (Matt 28:18). He is the one who is "bringing many sons to glory" (Heb 2:10), and bringing "us to God" (1 Pet 3:18). That is how the Lord Himself has represented the case. The church is a custodian of the truth, not the interpreter of it. The truth has been established independently of the church, then given to the church for proclamation.

Believers are themselves "joined to the Lord" (1 Cor 6:17). They are "taught" by Jesus (Eph 4:20-21; 1 John 5:20). They themselves are to "try the spirits, whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1). They have been given the anointing of the Spirit himself who so teaches them that they can abide in Christ (1 John 2:20-27).

You have introduced a line of reasoning that stands apart from Scripture. It is one I cannot and will not accept. It leaves too much authority with men and diminishes the intensely personal identity that we have with the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, and the Father Himself. It requires too little faith in God, and too much trust in man, which does bring a snare (Prov 29:25). God even pronounces a curse upon those who trust in man (Jer 17:5).

One further word, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." I trust you are not suggesting that "commanding" that the words be written equates with being inspired by God. There is no basis for such a supposition. If Scripture has not come from God and by His inspiration, it has no relevance to us whatsoever, interpreted or not. And, if it has come from God, then it must be approached as His truth, not the property of an exclusive group of men.

If we do not have the need for a successor of an apostle why then did the early church choose another man to take his office of responsibility????

Come brother, let us not be too eager to make a point. Matthias was not a successor, but a replacement. Not a replacement because Judas died, but to fulfill the Scripture. Judas' bishopric was left desolate, with no man inhabiting it. That is why another took over his office (Acts 1:20). Jesus did not tell His Apostles they would be succeeded by someone else -- and they were HIS Apostles. He did not tell them their authority would be passed on to the following generation. They were called "THE twelve," not 'the first twelve."

Why was not James' place filled when he was martyred (Acts 12:1-2). If your supposition is true, the Apostles would have had a session to replace James -- but they did not. Where was his succession? And why is the supposed succession not confined to twelve? Why do men consider twelve Apostles to be replaced by one global Bishop?

Was the Apostle to the Gentiles succeeded by another also? If so, why is he called "THE Apostle of the Gentiles?" (Rom 11:3). Why not "the first Apostle to the Gentiles"?

The truth of the matter is that the only persons who have bound Apostolic succession upon us have been those claiming to occupy that office or offices. You should let this imagination go. It cannot be supported by Scripture, which is able to completely equip the man of God (2 Tim 3:16-17). Are you saying Apostolic doctrine was not reduced to writing? If so, where is the support for such a notion? If God inspired Moses and the Prophets to write down what He revealed top them, what form of reasoning leads anyone to conclude He used a differing standard for the Apostles, who are part of the foundation of the church (Eph 2:20). And why does the new Jerusalem contain only the names of "the twelve Apostles of the Lamb" (Rev 21:14). Why were not the names of their successors found there also?

This discussion could go on interminably, but will yield no profit. There is too much supposition in it -- too many merely human claims.

"Where is the Apostleship said to pass form one generation to another?" You need to devote yourself to answering this question, for everything you are saying assumes Apostolic authority passes from one generation to another. I deny that Apostolic authority in any sense was passed, or was intended to pass, to a succeeding generation. Reasoning will not answer this question. I need a word from God -- from the Scripture. A portion of the first century may have been without New Covenant writings, but God did not remove the Apostles until they put the revelation given to them in writing. Even when Jesus spoke to the churches in Asia, He did so by writing, as you yourself acknowledge. Now find some word in Scripture that says what you are affirming. That will suffice. I do not want a reference that you think infers what you are espousing, but that actually says what you are saying. If you cannot find it, then you must substantiate that God has allowed His mind to go unwritten for nearly two thousand years, all the while placing an emphasis on the Scriptures, and telling His people they become completely furnished for every good work by "the Scriptures."

In your use of 1Cor 13:12 you are pointing to that time when we will see "face to face" as a future event. Does that mean that if the miraculous spiritual gifts end at the time that is being spoken of here at the end of 1Cor 13 that you believe that the miraculous spiritual gifts are still in existence today?

First, it is not within the prerogatives allotted to men to determine when God gives or withdraws spiritual gifts. Those who insist on making such a determination have simply taken too much upon themselves. I am very familiar with the position that the passage in question announced the cessation of "miraculous gifts" -- a term nowhere used in Scripture. That is a theological term men have concocted to justify their view of Scripture. But let it be clear, God has nowhere used such an expression. No major translation of Scripture uses the phrase "miraculous gifts" (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, RSV). Consequently, not only do I see no need to use it, I refuse to do so because it carries with it a lot of traditional baggage.

The term used by God (and we are to speak in words that the Holy Spirit teaches", 1 Cor 2:13) is "spiritual gifts" (1 Cor 12:1; 14:1,12). The emphasis of the expression is not the nature of the gifts, but the Giver of them. The Holy Spirit gives and administers them (1 Cor 12:4-7). All of them are for the edifying of the body (1 Cor 12:7). None of them are for personal gratification. These gifts do not all have an outwardly supernatural nature. Such gifts as "teachers," "helps," "administrations" (1 Cor 12:28), "speaking" and "serving" (1 Pet 4:10-11) should be recognized as still valid. From the standpoint of appearance, they may not seem transcendent to nature. However, the fact that they are given by God through the Spirit confirms that they are.

The passage in question does not mention all "spiritual gifts," nor does it suggest that all of them are under consideration. The Scripture mentions prophesies, tongues, and knowledge." The point of the text is not that they will vanish, although eventually they will. The point is they are not the ultimate means of building up the people of God. The point is that they have a terminal point in effectiveness. Their duration is not the point. Love does not replace the gifts, but makes them effective.

Peter affirms that those who minister are to do so with the ability that God gives (1 Pet 4:11). I would think it foolish and presumptuous for any mortal to affirm God no longer gives abilities. Nor, indeed, can such a postulate be supported by revelation.

This by no means suggests that I receive all of the vain boasts concerning supernatural powers. But claims are to be tested, not swept aside with trite statements developed by men. We are to "try the spirits, whether they are of God." No man has reason to fear engaging in such testing, and no person making a claim to Divine power should object to being tested. It is really just that simple, and the truth will overcome.

I have dealt with this subject in a devotional series, "When the Perfect Comes." It consists of seventeen installments, and is reasonably thorough. You may access it as follows:

Can a Christian seek depression help and medication? Or are these problems not supposed to happen to Christians?

This is in the area of conscience, as is true of many things. The proper response to any human dilemma, whether in the matter of health of other difficulties, is to seek the Lord first. Our requests are to be made known to Him, knowing He will hears us (Phil 4:6-7). He can also give us wisdom, and will do so liberally, without chiding us for asking (James 1:5). He can also heal without any human intervention. All of this is according to our faith. That is why rules for addressing things like this are not provided in Scripture. The only exception would be James' stipulation for the sick to call for the elders of the church, etc. (James 5:14-15).

Believers are free to do what their faith allows. God does not condemn people for going to doctors. However, He does not look kindly upon those who use them as their first resort, as it revealed in King Asa (2 Chron 16:12). Depression can be addressed by God's peace that passes all understanding, and keeps both the heart and the mind (Phil 4:7). There are times, however, when even an Apostle directs that practical measures be taken for frequent infirmities (1 Tim 5:23).

The answers to your questions are, Yes, it is all right to seek help and medication for depression. That help, however, must first be sought from God. He may send us to Luke, the beloved physician (Col 4:14). That is His prerogative, and we must allow Him to direct us in such matters through our faith.

As to whether these things happen to Christians -- yes they do. Paul had a thorn in his flesh (2 Cor 12:7-8). Epaphroditus was sick and near death because of his labors fore the Lord (Phil 2:26-27). Paul left Trophimus "sick" at Miletum (2 Tim 4:20). The mighty prophet Elisha died of a sickness, which is not represented as a Divine judgment against him (2 Kings 13:14).

Remember, we are not in heaven yet. We also have this treasure in clay jar, which is subject to many infirmities. God has nowhere said he has delivered us from all sickness in Jesus. That is a claim made by pseudo theologians, but there is no truth to it, as Paul and Timothy can attest. Our full deliverance is yet to come, when we are "absent from the body and present with the Lord."

I am confused on our spirit and soul. You said the soul dies with the our body and that our soul is our emotions. What then exactly is our spirit? Does our spirit not have emotions?

I did not say the soul is our emotions, but that our emotions are part of our soul. Our soul is the expressive part of our being--feeling, thinking, loving, hating, planning . . . etc.). It can be influenced by good or evil, God or Satan. It can have ups, and it can have downs. That is why David spoke to his soul, admonishing it to have hope in God (Psalm 42:5,11; 43;5).

Our spirit is most inner part of our person. It is who we are in Christ Jesus. Here is where the Holy Spirit dwells, and where we have fellowship with the Lord. This is the part of us that is born again. The Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirits that we are the children of God (Romans 8;16).

There are three parts to our being: spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The body is the most external part of us, and the spirit is our most internal part. The soul is unseen, but is more closely related to the body than the spirit, which is regenerated, or born again, in Christ Jesus.

I wrote an extensive series of devotions on this subject. You can access them by going to the following: They are devotions #'s 730-748.

After the judgment when our bodies meet our spirits will we then have our same emotions and feelings? Do our spirits in heaven have any of the 6 senses?

We are not told everything about this in the Scriptures. We will not be without feelings, but they will be far superior to what we have now. There will be no taint of sin or corruption, so there will be nothing about our emotions (if that is the proper word) that will need to be controlled or subdued. We will be able to rejoice and be glad (1 Peter 4:13; Jude 24). There is a sense in which we will be able to eat (Revelation 2:7). We will also be able to speak and hear (Revelation 6:9-11).

The six sense we presently have are adapted for life in this world. Our new bodies will have capacities adapted for heaven and eternity. I do not know how many of them we will have. Everything will be better, so it would not surprise me if there will be more of them. But all of that is mere conjecture. It is enough to know we will lose nothing that is needful, and everything will be infinitely better than now. We will be more capable of good things in every sense of the word.

We are Christian expatriates working in Saudi Arabia where Christians are being persecuted. Though we know this, we still manage to meet for a weekly Bible Study with the brethrens. Just recently, one topic arose. The discussion topic is, “Working as subordinates, we face most of the time situations that we are asked to tell LIES by our Superiors (mostly Muslims) to our contact people. (i.e.  Ordered to say that the boss is out where in fact he is in, or saying we delivered but did not…).Now the questions were, (1) Do we need to continue following our superiors? (2) If we follow them, are we sinning and are held accountable for what we were ordered to do? (3) Since we are bothered with these does that mean we are guilty? (4) Should we resign and look for other job, which is very hard to find now a days?

You must remember that it is never right to do wrong, and never wrong to do right. You must first seek wisdom from God. When Daniel and the three Hebrew boys were captives in Babylon, they were required to eat the food of the King, which was not allowed by Jewish law. They determined they would not do so. However, they spoke to the one who was over them, asking for a time of testing. If, after that time, they proved to look superior to the others, they know all would go well with them. God was with them, and worked everything for their good (Daniel 1:1-15).

I suggest that you ask the Lord to show you how to approach those over you in a similar manner. Tell them you cannot lie -- that it is against your conscience. Then propose they allow you to tell the truth, doing so in a wise manner that will not bring reproach upon them. Ask them to test your conduct and see if it does not help their business. Above all else, ask the Lord to enable their business to be blessed because of your honesty.

1. You should follow your superiors, but do so wisely. Remember, God is over them, and you are primarily His servants. You cannot violate His commandment because they ask you to do so.
2. If they ask you to do wrong and you do it, it is just as wrong as if Daniel would have quit praying when he was ordered to do so (Daniel 6:10), or if Shadrach, Meschech, and Abednigo would have bowed down to the idol as they were commanded (Dan 3:15-18).
3. It is your conscience that is bothering you, and you must not sin against your conscience (Romans 14:22-23).
4. If you cannot resolve your situation as I have suggested, and you are free to do so, you should then seek employment elsewhere. But first, you must ask the Lord to enable you to glorify Him in the situation. Should He choose to answer you, it will build your faith and encourage you. It will also be a powerful witness to your superiors.

What is your understanding of the Church government spiritual and natural. How should it be laid out.

As you know, this is a very troublesome area among believers. The reason for the difficulty is that Scriptures does not approach the church as a body of people governed by their peers. The church, whether local or global, is "the body of Christ," and He is its "Head."

Those said to "have the rule over" the flock, (1. Speak the Word of God (Heb 13:7a), (2 Possess a faith worthy of being imitated (Heb 13:7b), (3 Watch over the souls of men to protect and care for them (Heb 13:17a), and (4 Will give an account to God for their care of His people (Heb 13::17b).

The Holy Spirit makes such individuals overseers, in order that they may feed the flock of God (Acts 20:28).

God has also placed gifts within Christ's body that have to do with "governments" or "administrations" (1 Cor 12:28). Apart from assisting people to prepare for glory, such individuals have no valid role, for the church has no other appointed purpose.

Jesus told His Apostles, who were placed as "first" in the body (1 Cor 12:28), that they were not rulers like the kings of the Gentiles. They would serve the people, not manage them (Luke 22:25-26). The truth of the matter is that the church has no bosses on earth. Those who lead do so by virtue of their association with Jesus, and familiarity with His Word.

Those who shepherd the flock of God are called elders (Tit 1:5; 1 Pet 5:1), bishops (1 Tim 3:1; Tit 1:7), the presbytery (1 Tim 4:14), and those who are under the "Chief Shepherd" (1 Pet 5:4). The nature of the office is found in describing the ones who "rule well." Such "work hard at preaching and teaching" (1 Tim 5:17, NASB).

The church at Philippi was classified as "the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons" (Phil 1:1). I do not believe this is intended to be an official statement of the government of the church. It does, however, provide a glimpse of the manner in which body-life is conducted: holy ones with teachers and servants. In keeping with the rest of the Apostolic writings, those with expertise in the Scriptures, and an inclination to teach, are the God-placed leaders. Other matters relating to organization, and the practical matters associated with it, are largely left to the discretion of the congregation. If they are functioning according to God's revealed purpose for the church (Eph 4:12-16; 1 Tim 3;15), they will tend to do the right thing. If they are not functioning in that way, organization is not what they should be addressing.

My question is; I have all of the O.T. commentaries is this what I can expect to find as I work my way through them. Are these works all liberal or just some.

Commentaries are like preachers and teachers: they are to be weighed and tested (1 John 4:1). They are not all wrong, or all right. They represent the works of men, some holy, some unholy. Some of them, such as D.S. Russell, are simply spouting what other men have said. They do not write with insight, but with an academic pen, quoting what others have said. it is not possible to come up with the idea of another Daniel in Palestine writing the book of Daniel without reading or hearing it from some man.

If you want a good foundational set of commentaries, I recommend Pulpit Commentary. It is a large set, and includes the writings of numerous men. It tends to be unbiased, and provides scholarly as well as the insightful comments.

I wrote you once before and you stated that you did not believe in the rapture of the church. My question for you is then just what is Paul speaking of in I Thess. 4:13-18

Paul is speaking of the gathering of all saints to Christ at his coming (2 Thess 2:1). The flaw of the rapture theory is that this catching away is said to be secret, which view is never declared in Scripture. In fact, the one in First Thessalonians is affirmed to be a rather noisy one: shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God. The phrase "the dead in Christ shall rise first" does not relate to the wicked dead, but to the saints who are alive when Jesus comes. They will not be "changed" until the saints who have died have been "raised." Then, together, we will rise to meet the Lord in the air, ever to remain with Him. Later, in Second Thessalonians, the Spirit informs us the wicked will be punished at the same time Jesus is admired by the saints -- His coming (2 Thess 1:7-10).

Also do you believe the rider on the first horse in Rev. 6 is the Anti-Christ or Christ.  It seems that those that do not believe in the rapture usually believe that the white horse is Christ?

I believe it is Christ Jesus Himself. The color of the horse is significant: "white." This color is used nineteen times in Revelation (1;14; 2:17; 3:4,5,18; 4:4; 6:2,11; 7:9,13,14; 14:14; 15:6; 19:8,11,14; 20:11). It is ALWAYS is associated with purity and Deity. There are NO exceptions. We read of the glorified Jesus with "His head and his hairs were WHITE like wool, as WHITE as snow" (1:14). Overcomers are promised a "WHITE stone" and "WHITE" raiment (2:17; 3:4,5,18). The twenty-four elders are clothed in "WHITE raiment" (4:4). The martyrs under the throne are provided "WHITE robes" as they wait to be vindicated (6:11). A vast multitude of those "sealed" by God are seen with "WHITE robes" (7:9,13,14). The "Son of Man" is seen sitting on a "WHITE" (14:14). A significant angel is witnessed proceeding from the heavenly temple, clothed in "pure and WHITE linen" (15:6). The "righteousness of the saints" is described as "fine linen, clean and WHITE" (19:8). The Lord Jesus Himself is depicted as riding on a "WHITE horse," and those following Him are also on "WHITE horses," clothed in "fine linen, clean and WHITE" (19:11,14). Finally, the place of ultimate accountability is called "a great WHITE throne" (Rev 20:11).

Of old time, the singing Levites were all arrayed in WHITE (2 Chron 5:12). The purifying of men from their sin is called becoming "WHITE" (Isa 1:18). Daniel saw "the Ancient of days," clothed in WHITE (Dan 7:9). He also saw purging as being made WHITE (Dan 11:35; 12:10). When Jesus was transfigured, His garments become WHITE (Matt 17:2), and holy angels associated with His resurrection and ascension were clothed in WHITE (Matt 28:3; Mk 16:5; John 20:12; Acts 1:10). It is difficult to imagine how the Holy Spirit could structure our thinking on this word any clearer.

After we discussed the lesson for the night and your ministry, the young man asked me if I would write you and see how you felt about corporate prayer as opposed to personal prayer. From his study, he was feeling, not that corporate prayer was invalid, but that personal prayer was primarily the manner in which we should do most of our praying referring to the scripture that instructs us to pray secretly in the closet, Matt. 6:6 and pointed out that Jesus so often went to be alone to pray, Matt. 14:23.

It depends on what is being prayed for. After Jesus ascended into heaven, and while the disciples were waiting for His promise, they "all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren" (Act 1:13-14). When Mathias was chosen as an Apostle, it was preceded by corporate prayer (Acts 1:24). When the early church was opposed by its enemies, it came together and prayed, with great empowerment resulting (Acts 4:23-31). When the first deacons were chosen, the Apostles jointly prayed for them (Acts 6;6). When Peter was imprisoned, the church prayed together for him (Acts 12:5). When Paul and Barnabas were sent out, it was attended by corporate prayer (Acts 13:3). Elders were set side to the work by joint prayers (Acts 14:23). Paul and Silas prayed jointly in the Philippian jail from which they were delivered (Acts 16:25). Paul knelt down among the elders of Ephesus and prayed (Acts 20:36; 21:5). Jesus promised special recognition when two agreed in prayer while they were gathered together (Matt 18:19). Public prayers are the occasion for the hearers saying "Amen" (1 Cor 14:16).

Closet prayers are for private matters, but not all kingdom matters are private -- in fact, very few of them are. Jesus did pray alone, but not only alone. He prayed public ally in Matt 11:25, Luke 10:21, and John 11:41. He blessed little children public ally (Mark 10:16), thanked God public ally when He fed the 5,000 (Luke 9;16), and blessed His disciples openly prior to ascending into heaven (Luke 24:50-51).

Prayers for the sick are not closet prayers (James 5:13-15). Prayers for leaders and all men are public prayers (1 Tim 2:1-2). The early church "continued in prayers," which were obvious public (Acts 2:42). Paul admonished the Romans to strive together for him in their prayers (Rom 15:30).

More could be said on this subject, but this should suffice

A lot of people hold the view that using instruments in worship is wrong. What is your view, and how would you defend it?

I am very aware of the position some take against the use of instrumental music in the worship of God, and have had several prolonged discussions on the subject -- even three public debates. I am saddened that the people of God would divide over such an issue. I am not against the use of musical instruments for the glory of God, and use them myself, and in the assembly of the saints.

If a person wants to approach this subject from the standpoint of law, it would be improper to use instruments in any way other than to God. Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, it is to be done to the glory of God (1 Cor 10;31). If instruments cannot be played unto the Lord, they should not be played at all. That, of course, was God's precise indictment against Israel (Amos 6:1-6). They had played instruments for themselves.

Opposition to the use of musical instruments is based upon the flawed view that God has precisely prescribed how those in Christ are to worship Him. That is a false postulate. Israel was given precise procedures on approaching God because their hearts were far from Him (Isa 29:13). They were a rebellious people (Isa 30:9), stiff-necked Ex 32:9), and uncircumcised in both heart and ears (Lev 26:41; Jer 6:10). The procedures of approach to God that were outlined for them actually kept them at a distance from God, that he would not consume them. This is why the High priest could only come into the Most Holy place once a year -- and none of the other people were ever allowed to approach to the Lord by coming into the Most Holy place.

Our situation in Christ has been radically changed. We have been given new hearts and a new spirit, according to the promise of God through the Prophets (Ezek 36:26). Now we are actually being changed from one stage of glory to another (2 Cor 3:18), have become new creatures in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), and have His laws written upon our hearts and minds (Heb 8:10; 10:16). We have been reconciled to God (Col 1:21), have become partakers of Christ (Heb 3;14), and through the promises of God become participants in the Divine nature (2 Pet 1:4).

Those so described do not require Divine laws on how to approach God. The redeemed are described as those who DO worship God in the spirit, not those who OUGHT to do so (Phil 3:3). Their entire lives are presented to the Lord as a thank offering, and rightly so, for they have been bought with a price (Rom 6:19; 12:1-2).

This condition is why precise procedures of worship are not spelled out in the Apostle's doctrine. Those who cannot perceive this have assembled what they perceive to be the requirements, excluding and including things at their own behest. But there is not a single section of Apostolic doctrine that approaches the worship of God in this manner -- not even a syllable. Not one single person in Christ has even been instructed on HOW to worship God. The various versions of Scripture use the word "worship" as follows. KJV, NKJV (four times--1 Cor 14:25; Phil 3:3; Col 2:23; Heb 1:6), NASB (eight times--Rom 12:1; 1 Cor 14:25; Phil 3:3; Col 2:18; 2 Thess 2:4; Heb 1:6; 9:6), NIV (eleven times--Rom 9:4; 12:1; 1 Cor 14:25; Phil 3:3; Col 2:18,23; 1 Tim 2:10; Heb 1;6; 10:1; 12:28), and NRSV (fifteen times--Rom 9:4; 12:1; 1 Cor 10:14; 14:25; Phil 3:3; Col 2:18; 2 Thess 2:4; 2 Tim 1:3; Heb 1:6; 8:5; 9;1,14,21; 11:21; 12:28). None of these places remotely suggest an outline of how those in Christ are to approach God, or engage in the worship of Him.

I give this brief explanation to confirm that the very question of whether or not to use musical instruments in the worship of God, cannot possibly be provoked by Scripture. It is a question that has been created because of human persuasions, not Divine revelation.

Having said that, nothing in the word of God suggests that instrumental music is actually offensive to God, or is contrary to His nature -- particularly when it is the expression of a godly person. On one occasion, when an evil spirit troubled king Saul, David played cunningly on the harp, and the evil spirit left (1 Sam 16:16-23). On another occasion, when Elisha prepared to prophesy, he called for a minstrel. When the minstrel played, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha, and he prophesied (2 Kings 3:15). The relevance of these two events is seen in the fact that neither evil spirits nor God are capable of change. Their character is fixed. The evil spirit was offended by David's godly playing, and thus left. The Lord was favored to bless Elisha while an instrumentalist was playing. For God to condemn the use of instrumental music, therefore, would require a change in His character, and that of the devil as well. Those who are repelled by instrumental music played to God have had the same reaction as the evil spirit that troubled king Saul. That certainly has no appeal to me.

There is a certain manner in which the Holy Spirit speaks in Scripture. Those instruments that were employed in the service of God were identified with God Himself, not merely the people who played or invented them. Thus we read of "the musical instruments of God" (1 Chron 16:42), "the harps of God" (Rev 15:2), and 'the trump of God" (1 Thess 4;16). God has, then associated His very person with musical instruments. This would be a monumental inconsistency if they were condemned. It would be like saying "God's harlot," or "the Lord's drunkard," or "Jehovah's sorcerer." God does not tie His name to things that are condemned.

There is no need for a person who uses musical instruments to justify his use of them, or for the one who does not to justify his failure to do so. This is a matter of conscience. In my judgment, the one condemning their use is weak, in that he has failed to perceive the very nature of redemption and the worship of God. However, none can condemn him, and neither can he condemn those who do not see things his way.

Sometime ago I heard on a radio program what it took per day to sustain the children of Israel while they were in the desert. I was diving at the time and could write it down was wondering IF YOU might have the information. God Bless.

I do not have this information. You can get a rough idea of what was involved, however, by considering how many Israelites there were. The army alone, consisting of those twenty years old and upward, was 600,000. Adding women and children, the number of people could have well been between three and seven million. That would roughly be the size of the city of Chicago. Not only was the amount of food and water significant, the issues related to sewage would also be challenging from a human point of view.

One complicating factor in all of this is HOW God fed these people. Their meals should not be viewed as though they ate like us. God fed them with manna, which they called "light bread" (Num 21:5). It was apparently well adapted for their journey, being fully digested. It was not like eating meat and potatoes.

I have a friend who claims that we are still under the 10 commandments and should worship on the Sabbath (Sat) How should I answer him?

You are to allow no man to judge you concerning the Sabbath day (Col 2:16). No church was ever commanded to keep the Sabbath day. Some people did keep the Sabbath day, but not out of a sense of compulsion, or law. No individual Christian was ever admonished to do so. The fourth chapter of Hebrews informs us that in Christ we have entered into a higher form of the Sabbath day -- one that was foreshadowed by the seventh day (Hebrews 4:1-6).

It is not wrong for believers to keep the Sabbath day, but it is not compulsory.


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