QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 91
Are the angels humans that died and ascended to heaven?
No. Angels existed before men, and are depicted as being present at the creation (Job 38:7). Man was created "a little lower than the angels" (Psa 8:5; Heb 2:7). Following the resurrection, men will be like the angels in the sense that they will not die (Luke 20:36). However, men and angels are two different orders. Men are redeemed, angels are not. Angels minister to men (Heb 1:13-14), but men do not minister to angels. Men will judge angels (1 Cor 6:1-2), but angels will not judge men. After men die, they remain men, created in the image of God, but in a different state. Jesus will confess the redeemed "before the angels" (Luke 12:8). They are of a different order than men.
Will two believers who knew each other on earth know each other in heaven (before judgment day)?
This question is never answered directly in Scripture. We do conclude from the disciples recognition of Moses and Elijah during Christ's transfiguration (Matt 17:3-4), that when we leave the body, we will recognize other personalities. In my judgment, that knowledge will not be based upon the recognition of a body, but upon recognition of their real person or character.
Do people die as a result of life, natural causes, free will, or is life ended as a part of God's plan for the individual?
Our times are in the hand of God (Psa 31:15). He speaks of a person's life as his days being fulfilled (2 Sam 7:12). Solomon spoke of a "time to die" (Eccl 3:2). When Jacob was about to die, it is written, "the time drew nigh that Israel should die" (Gen 47:29). Job said man's days are "determined," and the "number of months" are with the Lord (Job 14:5). He also referred to his life as "all the days of my appointed time" (Job 14:14). Death is also referred to as an "appointment" (Heb 9:27). Paul referred to all men in these words: "From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live" (Acts 17:26).
The Scriptures also speak of a person dying before his time, because of stubbornness and sin (Eccl 7:17). Sometimes life is ended as a judgment from God (1 Sam 25:38; Acts 5:5,10). Other times life is extended by a mandate from God (2 Kings 20:6). Children who obey their parents are promised they will "live long upon the earth" (Eph 6:3).
One must be careful about developing a rigid theology from these texts. However, it ought to be clear to us that man is no more in charge of death than he is of life. In the glory we will no doubt find that God's involvement in both life and death was more exacting than we are presently able to comprehend.
What do the Gospels say about psychics, astrologists, etc....
The Gospels contain no direct reference to these things -- which are generally classed with sorcery and divination. The scriptures do teach that the acquisition of unusual knowledge from sources other than God is wrong (Isa 8:19). The type of activities you mention, in my judgment, fall into that category.
The Gospels are devoted to the exposition of Christ Himself, as well as what He personally taught. Matthew said his Gospel concerned "Jesus Christ" (Matt 1:1). Mark said his Gospel was "the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mark 1:1). Luke said he wrote concerning the certainty of the things believed among the followers of Jesus (Luke 1:1-3). John said he wrote so we would believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 20:31). Furthermore, when Jesus taught, He assumed the people's knowledge of Moses and the Prophets (Matt 21:42; John 5:39; 7:38; 10:35; 13:18, etc).
The book of Acts refers to a woman in Macedonia who has a "spirit of divination." Through that spirit she announced that Paul and those with him were "servants of the most high God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation" (Acts 16:17). Technically, this was true, yet Paul was "grieved" with the whole situation, and commanded the spirit to come out of the woman (Acts 16:18). The knowledge had been acquired from the wrong source.
While there is not a lot of specific teaching about psychics, astrologists, fortune tellers, and the likes, they are all areas in which Jesus is nowhere represented as dwelling. Further, none of them make Jesus the primary person, or reconciliation to God the primary issue. They are therefore areas in which Satan is more prominent.
The children of God must have their "senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb 5:14). That is the real way to recognize the unlawfulness of the practices you have mentioned. Throughout Christian history, there has been a consistent rejection of these practices. That rejection was based upon a general knowledge of God, His will, and the manner in which He works -- all based upon the word of God.
I am a Jew who believes that Jesus is Messiah. Is there any reason that I cannot continue to consider myself Jewish?
In Christ there is no "Jew." Yet, in the body, that is still what you are. Peter referred to himself, after he was in Christ, "a Jew" (Acts 10:28). Paul said of himself, "I am a Jew from Tarsus" (Acts 21:39; 22:3). When Paul rebuked Peter for his conduct toward the Gentiles, he said Peter was "a Jew" (Gal 2:14).
There is nothing wrong with referring to yourself as Jewish. That distinction, however, is subordinate to your recognition in Christ Jesus. You say that you believe Jesus is the Messiah. I am assuming that you are "in Christ" (Rom 8:1), that Christ is in you (Col 1:27), and that you have been "joined to the Lord" (1 Cor 6:17). If so, you are primarily a son of God (1 John 3:1-2), and secondarily Jewish.
How can a baptized person that cannot read nor is in contact with another believer know that he or she has received the Holy Spirit?
First, is there such a thing as a baptized person who has no contact with another believer? Who baptized the person? If it is someone who heard the Gospel, was baptized, and was then separated from all believer by an unfortunate set of circumstances, you must believe the Lord will not ignore the person's state. Just as surely as a knowledgeable person was sent to an inquiring eunuch in a desert (Acts 8:26-39), so God can send a person to a baptized individual who cannot read and has no in contact with another believer. God "gives" ministers to every man (1 Cor 3:5).
Second, a person who is baptized must have been told about receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). If the person was not told, then the one baptizing them was grossly deficient. In such a case, unless God deals in some special way with the person, someone will have to be sent by God to inform the person of this blessing. If the person was told, then it is their business to believe it.
Third, is this merely a philosophical question, or do you know of an actual case where this circumstance exists?
What does it mean to be enlightened and taste (perceive or feel) the heavenly gift and be made partaker of the Holy Spirit, and taste the good word of God and the powers of the age to come?
This is a breakdown of being born again -- of being made a new creation.
Enlightenment initially takes place when the truth of the Gospel is seen -- when Christ and His work is perceived as being for the individual (Heb 10:32). It is when the veil is lifted from one's heart, and they are able to bedlieve (2 Cor 3:15). It is when God "opens" the heart, so one can respond to His Gospel (Acts 16:14).
Tasting of the heavenly gift refers to receiving the "gift of righteousness" (Rom 5:17). From another point of view, it is "eternal life" (Rom 5:23). From yet another, it is the "gift of the grace of God" (Eph 3:7). In summation, "the heavenly gift" is Jesus Christ and all that He brings.
Being made "partakers of the Holy Spirit" is receiving the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:15; 1 Cor 2:12). We are said to be "partakers" because the Spirit dwells in us (2 Tim 1:14), and we have been made "one spirit" with the Lord (1 Cor 6:17).
Tasting of the Word of God is ingesting the truth -- letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly (Col 3:16). It is experiencing of the power of the Word of God. (1 Thess 1:5), and living by every word of God (Matt 4:4). It all began when what happened to the Thessalonians happened to us: "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe" (1 Thess 2:13).
Tasting the powers of the world to come is experiencing the influence of heavenly personalities, into whose presence we will eventually be ushered. Presently, we have come to them by faith, and in ways largely unknown to us, we experience their influence. Scripture puts it this way: "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel" (Heb 12:22-24).
1 Cor 13:10 "but when the perfect comes the partial will pass away." ESV.
In this verse, to what does Paul refer? The Greek translated perfect here is "telion" or perfect thing. What thing? The Greek translated pass away is "katargathaseti" or will be abolished. How can you abolish a thing? Or does this refer to a practice or activity?
Paul delineates what is intended by this saying in the verses that follow it. The subject under consideration is the nature and effectiveness of love, as compared to the efforts to appropriate certain abilities. Love is the "better way" (1 Cor 12:31), and lends itself to moving the saints forward to spiritual maturity. It is wider in scope, and more effective in its results. Additionally, it will present in the world to come, whereas other gifts and graces are adapted for use in this world alone. Believers are urged to "covet the best gifts" -- or the ones that lend themselves to edification (1 Cor 14:12,26). Yet, he states "there is a better way," which is expounded in chapter thirteen.
The word "telion" does not mean "perfect thing." The neuter gender does not dictate such a translation. That very word is used similarly in Ephesians 4:13 (perfect man), Colossians 1:28 (present every man perfect), and James 1:4 (that you may be made perfect). As in the First Corinthian text, the perfection under consideration concerns the people, not a practice, or something impersonal. Spiritually mature people is the thrust of this entire section of First Corinthians -- something that was not being achieved among the Corinthians. Their assemblies had not delivered them from carnality, or infantile and immature beginnings (1 Cor 3:3). In this, they were not alone. Their progeny continues with us to this day.
Paul's exposition of the perfect coming, and what was in part passing away was this: "When I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Cor 13:11). He also pointed to the future, when, freed from the encumbrances of the flesh, ultimate maturity would be realized: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known" (1 Cor 13:12). In all of these cases, the saved themselves are the consideration -- not a practice or a thing.
The point of the verse is that spiritual infancy, immaturity, childishness, etc., pass away in the greater glory of growing up into Christ in all things (Eph 4:15) -- like the moon disappears when the sun reaches its zenith. In this world, this occurs when the people of God "are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb 5:14). In "the world to come," this will take place when everything that is transitory or temporal is gone, and we are "ever with the Lord."
Does silence in the scripture equal permission? Sacrificing a Passover lamb at Easter Sunday Services would be a terrific way to teach the Christian concept of Jesus being our paschal lamb. Would this be Ok?
Silence is not a teaching mechanism. In fact, holy men have asked the Lord NOT to be silent (Psa 28:1; 35:22). God has never instituted a practice, delivered a promise, or provided instruction by means silence. Such a notion is an absolute absurdity. God has magnified His Word, not His silence (Psa 138:2). When buttressing the truth, the word is "what does the Scripture say?", not what does silence say. Also, the notion that "silence" is "in Scripture" is nothing more than a human imagination. Never does the Word of God infer such a thing. An angel showed Daniel what "inscribed" in Scripture (Dan 10:21). Jesus spoke of reading in the Scriptures (Matt 21:42). Scriptures are "fulfilled" (Matt 26:54). Jesus expounded what written of Him in the Scriptures (Luke 24:27). He said the Scriptures testified of Him (John 5:39). The Berean's searched the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). Peter provided a quotation "contained in Scripture" (1 Pet 2:6). But "silence" in Scripture?? What would constrain a person familiar with the Word of God to speak in such a manner -- a manner that is totally foreign to everything God has said about "Scripture" or "the Scriptures"?
As to sacrificing a Passover lamb being "a terrific way to teach the Christian concept of Jesus being our paschal lamb," I do not believe you are serious in making such an absurd statement. The very notion could not enter the mind of a person who believes on the Son of God. Such folly never occurred to anyone in Scripture. The perception of the "better sacrifice" forever forbids such a thought. God is declared to have been "satisfied" with Christ's offering (Isa 53:11). The effect of Christ's death upon the God of heaven is declared in Scripture.
Whatever you are seeking to establish by such a foolish question, I suggest you seek another way to do it. The question itself is highly offensive to anyone who is walking in the light. It borders on blasphemy. Put some grace into your speech, as you are told to do (Col 4;6), and employ words that the Spirit uses (1 Cor 2:13).
Must we have direct authorization for all that we do as a matter of religious practice or worship?
Neither religious practice nor worship is approached in this manner by the Apostles. That kind of approach is an Old Covenant one, mandated by the fact that the hearts of the people were far from Him. Your question is not a valid one. If what you are suggesting is true, then it would invalidate much of the worship Jesus Christ Himself received. A certain ruler worshipped Jesus asking for him to come and lay His hand on his dead daughter (Matt 9:18). When Jesus met the women who were going to tell His disciples of His resurrection, they worshipped Him, holding Him by the feet (Matt 28:9). Such approaches were never "authorized." That is not to mention David's desire to build the temple not being authorized, yet God delivered the plan for its construction.
Again, your question is not a proper one. Speak of worship the way the Lord speaks of it -- and especially how He speaks of it in the New Covenant. It will not take you long to read every syllable of Apostolic doctrine on the subject.
Gen 4.7 "If you do well will you not be accepted? and if ..." ESV Here I believe, Cain is being castigated for wrong or unacceptable worship. Is there a lesson for us here?
I do not concur with your assessment of the passage. Cain did not do well because sin was crouching at his door -- before he brought his offering. That, of course, is what the verse says. It was not that Cain did the wrong thing, but that he did it for the wrong reason. Abel's sacrifice was accepted because it was offered it "by faith." That is, faith dictated what he did. You do well to deal with that occasion the way God did, not placing a theological template over it.
Was Saul saved on the road to Damascus? Why or Why not?
Again, you are approaching a text in a manner that is foreign to Scripture. In recounting the event, Paul quoted Jesus as saying, "'But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me" (Acts 26:16-18).
Saul's sins were washed away later, when Ananias, having delivered the Lord's commission to Saul, told him to tarry no longer, but arise and be baptized, washing away his sins and calling upon the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). Ananias also told him, "Then he said, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth" (Acts 22:14). That is what happened on the road -- period.
Are Hindus, those of the Islamic faith and the Bahai tradition, the Jews, and lets not forget the faithful of Buddah, in a saved condition with respect to eternal life? Why or Why not, and by what authority do you make that claim?
What has provoked such a question? I am offended with such folly, and rebuke you for speaking so thoughtlessly. "Eternal life" is "through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom 5:21), and it is exclusively "in the Son" (1 John 5:10-11).
What is your opinion of the "Last will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytry?"
It is purely of human origin, is not on equality with Scripture, and thus is not binding upon the children of God. Like anything that man has written, it is to be weighed, the good accepted, and the bad rejected.
Where in the Bible does God describe the different levels of Love?
There is no passage that describes different levels of love -- and I am not sure what is intended by that phrase. There are some different expressions concerning love that may be considered as describing different levels of love -- but I sure that would be a proper view of them. In my understanding, these describe the only love that is acceptable to God. We must be thoroughly discontent with anything less than this.
1. Love with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength -- Mark 12:30
2. Loving as we love ourselves -- Mark 12:31; Eph 5:28
3. Loving fervently -- 1 Pet 4:8
4. Loving with a pure heart -- 1 Tim 1:5; 1 Pet 1:22
5. Love without dissimulation (hypocrisy) -- Rom 12:9
6. Love unfeigned (unpretended) -- 2 Cor 6:6; 1 Pet 1:22)
7. Loving abundantly -- 2 Cor 12:15
8. Abounding love -- Phil1:9; 1 Thess 3:12
Love itself is described in 1 First Corinthians 13:4-8. These are not qualities of love that are to be sought, but are a statement of the nature of love itself. Each of us is to measure ourselves by these things. Where they are missing, love is missing. Where they are present, love is present. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Cor 13:4-8).
A series by Ray Stedman implies that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil will be present in the city of God-the New Jerusalem. His sermon on "The City of Glory" makes this statement. He is deceased and unavailable for comment--do you think he had any Biblical evidence for making this statement?
The statement is an absurd one, for there will be no evil in "the New Jerusalem," consequently there can be no knowledge of it. The "New Jerusalem" is the glorified church, with all of its incumbrances removed, and in a state of perfection. It will be seen after the first heaven and the first earth are passed away, and the new heaven and new earth for which we are looking are revealed (Rev 21:1). Peter says of this new order, "wherein dwells righteousness" (2 Pet 3:13).
The "New Jerusalem is appropriately referred to as "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev 21:2). When that glorious city was expounded to John, an angel said, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God" (Rev 21:9-10). That city, therefore, is, therefore, the glorified church.
We are told that "the tree of life" is "in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev 2:7), and that it is prominent in the glorified state (Rev 22:2,14). But there is no such reference to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In fact, it was obscured following the fall, as the tree of life was. To say that tree would again be found in the glorified state betrays a very deficient understanding.
On the Sabbath the Bible speaks of rest. Define rest. I know that what is rest for me may not be rest for someone else. If you are a Christian can you (after Church) walk on the beach even though there are people there in barely nothing. Is it a sin for me to walk on the beach?
Under the Law "rest" meant abstaining from things that focused upon self -- even if it was gathering sticks to ignite a fire (Num 15:33-36). The "work" from which men rested was activity that had to do with sustaining one's own person. Jesus made an allowance for activity on the Sabbath day when it was not self-centered. "And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace" (Mark 3:4). This was the occasion when He healed the man with the withered hand. Again, after healing a woman who had been bowed together for eighteen years, Jesus said, "The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?" (Luke 13:16).
In Christ Jesus, laws of inactivity have not been bound upon believers. This is an area of conscience, not of law -- that is, it is to be resolved by faith, before the Lord, and with a mind to please Him.
We have entered into a Sabbath that is of a higher order, and thus the rest we enter is also of a higher order. Therefore it is written, "For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Heb 4:10-11). We cease from works that are fundamentally for ourselves, and enter into a life that is primarily for the Lord who loved us and gave Himself for us. Thus it is written, "and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again" (2 Cor 5:15).
Concerning walking on the beach after church, there is nothing inherently wrong with that. I would suggest, however, that where there are sights and sounds that compete with your devotion to the Lord, or tend to detract from His glory, it is not be the best practice, to say the least. It is a matter you must resolve between yourself and God, but you should do it with God in mind, not yourself. If you feel like walking, it would probably be wise to seek another place to do so.
Please explain how the church of god believes you must be baptized in the spirit & speak in tongues in order to be saved?
This is not something the real "church" believes. Jesus never said salvation required these things. The Apostles never taught such a thing. It is a purely human tradition. Some churches embrace this teaching because they are convinced the men who taught it to them said the truth. But they did not, and they are not to be believed. God never associated being saved with these things -- never.
I watched The Passion Of The Christ movie and I thought "why did it take so long for God to come up with this plan to send Jesus to the earth to be Crucified?" He waited thousands of years before sending Jesus, and it made me wonder WHY?
It did not take God long to "come up with this plan." This is something that God purposed before He created the world. It is called an "eternal; purpose" (Ephesians 3:11). Jesus is called "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). 700 years before Jesus, Isaiah prophesied of His death, detailing God's plan and what would be accomplished by it (Isaiah 53). Over 900 years before Jesus died, David spoke in remarkable detail about His death upon the cross (Psalm 22).
Jesus came into the world to die "in the fulness of time," or when it was the right time (Galatians 4:4). It was necessary that men be able to comprehend the NEED for salvation before it was offered to them. Therefore, the Law provided the knowledge of sin, defining what it was (Romans 3:19-20). There was also sufficient time allotted so that it was clear man could save himself, or correct his deviate behavior. These things are what required the time, not an appropriate plan from God.
Is there any non bible historical facts to prove that Jesus lived and died? If so, can they be bought or are they accessible on the Internet?
Some ancient writers referred to Jesus and His death -- but not as the Son of God or the Savior of the world. Josephus was a Jewish historian who lived during the time of Christ. He spoke of Jesus' life and death, but with absolutely no understanding of why He lived and why He died. These writings can be accessed on the Internet, and may be bought in book stores. However, they are utterly worthless in bringing any real help to men. They are nothing more than uninformed sources concerning the Savior of the world. Judge for yourself if such writings are worth anything. It would be like reading a biography about yourself that was written by someone who never knew you, but only got your name out of a telephone book.
It appears that God stopped uninspired men from writing about the life and death of Christ because they did not understand it. We do have great volumes of writing in the Scripture that confirm the life and death of Christ, and the reason for them both. The Gospels are accounts of eye witnesses.
God has confined us to believing these writings if we are to gain eternal advantage from Christ Jesus. Those writings are referred to as "the record God has given of His Son" (1 John 5:10-11). There are no other writings than can bring us to God, or give us eternal life.
I know a couple that are "happily" married. The man is str8, the women is bi. She bring home women to the bedroom and claim its not cheating because they both agree to this. Surely it is against God. They call themselves swingers and say being bisexual isn't being gay or lesbian. They also called me a Paulist because of my stance, does Jesus have anything to say about bisexuality?
This couple is not happily married. If they say they are, they have only lied about it. Their happiness is not with their marriage, but with being able to indulge their lust. They are both adulterers, because they are not true to each other, or to the God who created and ordained marriage. God will judge them as He has promised: "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Heb 13:4).
"Bisexuality" is a term invented by men, and they are wholly responsible for it. God strongly condemns the intimacy of men and men, women with women, or men and women with someone other than their spouse. In fact, such involvements are themselves evidence that God has withdrawn from the people. Here is what the Word of God says. "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due" (Rom 1:216-27).
What men refer to as "lesbian," God calls "women exchanging the natural use for what is against nature." What men refer to as "gay," God calls "leaving the natural use of the woman," and burning "in their list for one another, men with men, committing what is shameful." What men call "bisexual," God calls "fornication" and "adultery" -- for which He will condemn people. It is really that simply.
First. The Biblical idea ofdivorce. If it is not taking care of the woman's sexual needs - putting her away, what is it? I gotthat feeling with David and Michael his wife. He ignored her sexual needs, taking care of his own?
Second, the idea of putting away. Did they put their unwanted wives someplace special?
Third: Did he give her a paper like today?
Fourth: what did she do after he didn't want her anymore? Did she return to her village?
Does the same law of divorce apply now? Does God view it the same?
First, let's discard the expression "Biblical idea." What is written in Scripture is the mind of God,and must be so regarded?
Putting away means to repudiate, disassociating from the wife, and no longer providing or caringfor her -- in any sense. It means to send them away -- on their own.
Concerning the mutual responsibilities of marriage, husbands and wives are not to withhold fromone another. It is written, "Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewisealso the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but thehusband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wifedoes. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves tofasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of yourlack of self-control" (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Particularly those in Christ are to take this matterseriously.
Do not be hasty to sit in judgment upon David. There is no basis for your "feeling," as youexpressed it. Michal, Saul's daughter "despised" David because of his uninhibited praise of God,when the ark of God was being brought back to its proper dwelling place. Upon returning fromthe dedication of the ark, David went in to "bless his household." He was promptly met byMichal, who had absolutely no regard for the return of the ark of God, and the blessedness of thatday. She rather saw David's dance before the Lord as a display to the maidens of Israel -- which itemphatically was not. The Spirit says he was "leaping and dancing before the Lord." Also, he hadnot exposed himself, but was "wearing a linen ephod." As a result of Michal's impetuous spirit,David severely rebuked her, saying his actions were "before the Lord," who chose him andappointed him ruler over Israel. The outcome of it all was this: "Therefore (for this reason) Michalthe daughter of Saul had no child until the day of her death" (2 Samuel 6:14-21). This was God'sjudgment not David's.
Wives who were put away were not sent to some special location, but were officially separatedfrom their husbands, or disowned. They were, so to speak, then on their own. Instead of "putaway," we would say "send away."
There was a "bill of divorce" that made the occasion formal (Deuteronomy 24:1). Jesus referredto this practice, saying that it was only permitted because of the hardness of men's hearts prior toHis time (Mark 10:4-9). He said that only unfaithfulness justified such an action (Matt 5:32).Additionally, the Apostles doctrine adds that where there is a marriage between a believer and anunbeliever, if the unbeliever refuses to dwell peaceably with the believer, the believer is not underbondage to that person -- or is free from responsibility to them (1 Corinthians 7:15).
How much does our spiritual growth relate to our ability to discern between good and bad? Such as in Hebrews 5:14
Spiritual growth is not possible if one cannot discern between good and evil. One of the keys togrowth is being able to distinguish between what is from the devil and what is from God. Thus weare told, "Test all things; hold fast what is good" (1 Thess 5:21). The text you cite makes thisquite clear -- that is, that maturity (which is growing up) is evidenced by being able to "discern both good and evil" (Heb 5:14). The point of that passage is that spiritual growth is not occurringwhere this condition exists.
According to scripture the world recognizes Followers of Christ by our good deeds. Is itour generous willingness to do good deeds that set us apart from the world?? Would you make anapplication for me how would this relate to our spiritual growth and maturity level? How doesthis fit with the Great Commission command?
First, the Scriptures do not say the world recognizes us as followers of Christ by our good deeds.It is true, that may be inferred by Matthew 5:14: "Let your light so shine before men, that theymay see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt 5:16). However,when it comes specifically to our association with the Lord Jesus, He Himself said, "By this allwill know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). It is not,therefore, our attitude toward the world that leaves the impression that we are associated with theLord Jesus, but our attitude toward one another. John declared this was also evidence toourselves of that blessed affiliation: "We know that we have passed from death unto life, becausewe love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death" (1 John 3:14).
When approaching the matter of working good, the explanation is not found in our willingness --although that is certainly there. However, that willingness is the result of something else, which isthe point emphasized by the Spirit. Those in Christ Jesus are no longer living for themselves. Theyare not self-centered, but God centered. This is in strict keeping with the purpose of God. As it iswritten, "and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Himwho died for them and rose again" (2 Cor 5:15). That is the essence of real living, and is theappointed means through which light is disseminated in the world.
Spiritual growth is the natural outcome of ceasing to live for self. This is so because when welook to Jesus (Heb 12:2), seek the things that are above (Col 3:1), and set our affection on thingsabove, and not on things on the earth (Col 3:2), God begins to work effectively within us. Paulstated it this way, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presenceonly, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Phil2:12-13).
As to the "Great Commission command," I assume you mean Matthew 28:18-20 ands Mark16:15-16) -- even though those texts are never referred to in that manner. In fact, No Apostleever quoted or alluded to those texts to any church. Of course, they are the truth, and weredelivered to the Apostles with every intention of them being fulfilled. But that has never occurredbecause they were simply a commandment. Men have tried to force believers to fulfill that word,and they have miserably failed in doing so. But wherever a heart has been touched by the grace ofGod, and wherever self interests have been thrown overboard in favor of the good and acceptableand perfect will of God, the Gospel has been preached, and holy influences have beenexerted.
I have found it a bit ironical that the contemporary church hammers so much on soul winning,while so little of it is actually being done. On the other hand, the early church did not emphasize itat all -- at least not in the inspired record -- yet, when persecuted, "those who were scattered wenteverywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). What was the difference? Those saints were living forthe Lord, they had grown, and joyfully fulfilled the will of the Lord.
This is the first time I haveever been to this site and I am in great need right now. I have been wondering why God justdoesn't stop the world from all of its pain and hopelessness in it. Why doesn't God just end it all?He sees the big picture and knows all things. I don't true. But why does He continue witheverything. What does He get out of our lives? Praises, worship? None of that is the reason Hemade us? I just don't understand.
God does not "end it all;" precisely because He DOES see the big picture. There is more to thisworld than our existence. There are holy angels that are beholding what God is doing in thisworld, and they are learning things about God from it. They are seeing how wise He is in all ofHis dealings in this world (Ephesians 3:9-10).
God is bringing His people to glory right through the middle of the devil's territory, like Hebrought Israel to Canaan through the wilderness. He is showing heavenly hosts that Satan cannotwin. He is perfecting His people in the middle of great difficulties, even though the devil does notwant it to be so. He is showing those with understanding that the answer is not found in man, butin God.
God's strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). That is, it is only when we areobviously weak that we begin to experience the power of the Lord. Difficulty and suffering teachus about that weakness, and open the door that leads to the Lord and His sustaining grace. TheLord can make us stand (Romans 14:4), even though everything and everyone shouts to us thatwe cannot do so. Also, He is giving us a taste of victory in the good fight of faith (2 Corinthians2:14). In addition, He is qualifying us for a great inheritance. This is done in at least two ways.First, He washed us from our sins, and gave us new life (Colossians 1:12). Second, in our variousstruggles and trials, He is making us worthy of the kingdom for which we suffer (2 Thessalonians1:5). He is letting the devil do his worst, so that his absolute inferiority will be joyfully seen whenhe is cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
Trouble and sorrow in this world prove this is really not where we belong. When we see this, wewill begin to make the appropriate preparation for the glory that will be revealed.
You do not need a Christian counselor, you need faith and hope -- and both of those come fromGod, who is quite willing to give them. I will be glad to assist you in any way I can. You mustbegin by since there is more to being in this world than our personal joy and favorableexperiences. We are being prepared for the eventual destruction of this world, standing before theLord to give an account of our activity in this world, and to live forever with the Lord. Once wesee this, trouble will be seen as teaching us that life in this world is not really the main thing. It islike boot camp to the soldier, school to the student, and hard training for the athlete.
Is there a Biblical basis for drama besides the view that we must redeem the times and an application from Acts 10 of theclean and unclean?
There is no specific Biblical basis for drama. However, that does not mean it is wrong. There is no"Biblical basis" for shelters for the homeless, formal education, Christian colleges, praise services,or overhead projectors. The criteria for evaluating such things is of a higher order. There arethings that must be "discerned" (Heb 5:14).
The primary demonstration of the Gospel is seen in the lives of the saints, and the fundamentalmessage is the Gospel itself. There is, however, a certain liberty that attends life in Christ Jesus.Spiritual life is not bounded by inhibitive fences. The only thing that is held in check is the flesh --that is where all of the prohibitions are found. When it comes to the fruit of the Spirit, there is nolaw against any portion or measure of them (Gal 5:23). If God can be in a thing, it is good. If Hecannot, it is bad.
Whatever can be done by faith, heartily as unto the Lord, and with a good conscience, is allowed.If it promotes the love of the truth, strengthens the saints, and convicts the sinner, it is allowed. InChrist, the thing that is done is really not the point, but the spirit that motivates it. That perceptionis reflected in the following statement: "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heartand a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Tim 1:5).
My question is can you help me, guide me, in any way in the topics I am sure to face w/ my elders and his elders concerning 1)Woman duties...Song leading... serving in a Sunday School class, praying, etc...
2) How shall I approach the areas of the use of guitars, bass, drums, and piano....in the church worship.
These are all areas in which great confusion exists. The secret to approaching them is to deal withhigher principles -- things that tend to shed light upon them. If you can elevate the thinking of thepeople high enough, there are two things that will happen. First, these will not be seen as criticalareas. Second, the people will want the greater blessing, and will not be willing to forfeit it infavor of maintaining human traditions.
Remember, in Christ there is neither male nor female, bond or free, Jew or Greek. Thesedistinctions do not exist in Jesus, but in the flesh. None of them will exist in heaven. Therefore,you cannot afford for them to become key issues now. Do not begin with these matters.
Begin where God has spoken plainly about brethren and their associations with one another. Youare making a godly effort to bring people together. What does God have to say about that? Donot begin by dealing with the very issues that have been dividing them for years. It has alreadybeen proved that these are areas in which agreement is highly unlikely.
I believe I would start with who we are in Christ Jesus. Do not assume people know this --especially those within the Restoration Movement. Build up the faith of the people by affirmingwho they in Christ Jesus. When we are baptized into Christ, what happens? What is God's view ofus? What does He call us? How does He view us? What does He promise us? Think of the wayGod refers to His people: saints, be loved, heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, partakers ofChrist, partakers of the Divine nature, washed, sanctified, justified, raised, dead to sin, alive toGod, the temple of God . . . etc.
If there is going to be unity, the interest of others will have to be the point. In fact, self must beput into the background, and brethren brought into the foreground. God teaches us this (Phil 2:4;Rom 12:15; 15:1; 1 Cor 8:9; 10:24,33). This must not be seen as a sort of spiritual luxury. Godsimply will not accept any other kind of life. Any life that is not lived unto God iscondemned.
The love of the brethren must be emphasized. This is not something that "our" churches have saidmuch about. But God has said a lot about it. We "should" love one another (1 John 3:11). This ishow we know we have passed from death unto life (1 John 3:14). If we believe on the name ofJesus, we should love one another (1 John 3:23). Everyone that loves is born of God and knowsHim (1 John 4:7-8). The one who dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16).
It might be well to open the meeting for some testimonies from the people. Ask them to sharetheir thankfulness to God for being saved. Why do they want to go to heaven? Have they everbeen helped by other Christians? What trials have they come through? The point of doing this is todemonstrate that God's people have certain things in common. It will help to pave the way tounity to see those commonalties.
When it comes to the women, instruments, classes, etc, lay the groundwork that is necessary forpeople to see these matters from a higher viewpoint. Rather than approaching them from thestandpoint of law ("Is this right?" or "Is this wrong?"), help the people to consider, "Can I expressmy faith in these?" "Can I help my brethren through these?" "Can I think primarily of God and Hispeople when I do them?" The aim is to have the people themselves answer the questions, not you.The reason for this is quite simple. These are not questions that take up a lot of space inScripture. There is good reason for that. They are not the main thing.
Those "who believed thegospel", would they be considered first century Christians? What happened to those signs? Dosome people use this text today to claim to have such signs follow them? Benny Hinn comes tomind. And I don't believe Benny.
Does the Lord still work in this particular manner, and what was the manner in which He workedwith "them"?
Why did these believers report "promptly" to Peter?
There is no such classification as "first century Christians." Both salvation and faith are commonto all who are in Jesus (2 Pet 1:1; Jude 1:3). Jesus prayed the same for those who would believeon Him through the Apostles' word, as He did for the Apostles themselves (John 17:20-21).
The secret is not in what kind of signs accompanied the early preaching of the Gospel, but in theOne who was working with them -- "the Lord working with them" (Mk 16:20). This is somethingthat was done with Divine discretion. Signs and wonders have always been done where Godwilled, and have never been by some form of spiritual automation. Where, for example, there wasnot faith, they were not done -- such as Jesus not being able to do any mighty work in His owncountry (Mark 6:4-5). John the Baptist "did no miracle" (John 10:41), yet Jesus said he had noequal among those born of woman (Matt 11:11). There are four recorded instances of Peterworking miracles (Acts 5:5,10; 5:15-16; 9:34; 9:40), one of Peter and John (Acts 32-11), seven ofPaul (Acts 13:11; 14:10; 16:18; 19:11-12; 20:9-12; 28:5; 28:8-9). They have never been doneabundantly, with the single exception of our blessed Lord.
While Paul believed when he was in prison, Ephaphroditus was "sick nigh unto death while inprison with him--even though he too believed (Phil 2:27). Paul could not muster up a miracle atwill -- even though he worked the "signs of an Apostle" (2 Cor 12:12).
The point is that these were worked by God "according to His own will" (Heb 2:4). Nothing inScripture clearly states that God is no longer willing to work in this manner. Further, there havebeen vast periods of time when He was not pleased to work in this manner. That is why Gideonsaid, "where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of?" (Judges 6:13).
This is something that is in the hand of God. If men say this is, in fact, fulfilled in them, it is ourbusiness to "try the spirits" to see whether they are of God (1 John 4:1). No one can speak inharmony with the Scriptures and say "God does not do that anymore," or "God always does that."These are two extreme statements that cannot be supported by a Divine affirmation. We must bewilling to acquiesce with this circumstance, for that is simply the way it is.
The text about reporting promptly to Peter is only found in New American Standard Bible. Itdoes read, "to Peter and his companions." The other versions do not contain those words. Iassume this is intended to be a continuation of the circumstance referenced in verse seven. Therethe angel of the Lord told the holy women, "And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seekJesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where theylaid Him. But go your way, TELL HIS DISCIPLES AND PETER that he goeth before you intoGalilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you" (Mark 16:6-7). The idea intended is that thewords Jesus spoke to Peter and the disciples followed the faithful report of the women, who toldthem where to meet Jesus. It was because the women promptly reported the words they weregiven, that the others were found in Galilee, where Jesus spoke to them. We know this is the case,because Jesus was received up into heaven after He spoke those words. Matthew says thedisciples "went away into Galilee into a mountain where the Lord had appointed them (Matt28:16). It was there that He spoke His final words to them. Luke also refers to this (Luke24:46-50). Their trip to Galilee was the result of the prompt report of the women.
God foretold Israel's rebellionand rejection of Christ. He also foretold the restoration of Israel, correct? Does this mean thatJews of all ages who have not accepted Christ will ultimately be saved anyway? What about the 6million Jews who were killed by Hitler? Are any and all Jews who didn't accept Christ lost? Willthose Jews who are alive at His second coming, believe because they see Him and then be saved?I guess I'm asking how many New Testament times Jews will be in heaven? As always, thank youfor taking the time to help me understand God's Word.
Yes, God does declare the coming restoration of Israel (Isa 11:11-16; 45:17; 54:6-10; Jer3:17-23; 30:17-22; 31:31-37; 32:37-41; 33:24-26; Ezek 34:22-31; 37:21-28; 39:25-29; Hosea3:5; Amos 9:14-15; Rom 11:26). This is something He will do because it is His covenant withthem (Rom 11:27), and He will do it "for the father's (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) sake (Rom11:28).
This does not mean every single Jew will be saved. This is a case where God actually recognizesthe "remnant" -- or those who were properly inclined to Him before Christ, and drawn to the Sonafter He had put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Those called "all Israel" in Romans, arereferred to as "a remnant" by the prophets (Isa 10:22; 37:32; Ezek 6:8; 14:22). Paul alludes to thisin Romans: "Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: Though the number of the children of Israelbe as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved" (Rom 9:27). And again, "Even so then atthis present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace" (Rom 11:5).
No one, Jew or otherwise, will, for the first time, believe unto salvation when they see Jesuscoming in all of His glory. That is the time when the door of salvation will be shut, not opened(Matt 24:44-25:10). Those Jews who lived after Christ Jesus ascended into glory, will be savedbecause they have believed on Christ through the Gospel. Paul refers to this as the veil being liftedfrom their eyes so they can see Jesus clearly -- not by the natural eye, but by faith (2 Cor3:14-17). This can happen suddenly, and in epochal numbers, as confirmed on the say ofPentecost.
As to how many "New Testament times Jews will be in heaven," we do not know. But it will nodoubt be more than anyone can scarcely imagine. Paul said the reason for his Apostleship to theGentiles was to provoke the Jews to jealousy (Rom 11:13-14). He confirmed Moses had said thiswould take place (Rom 10:19). He even declares this is by Divine intention (Rom 11:11). He alsostates that if their fall brought riches to the world, how much more would be realized by theirfulness (Rom 11:12.15). Only "some of the branches" were broken off of the Jewish tree -- not allof them (Rom 11:17). Paul threw the door wide open when he said, "And they also, if they do notcontinue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again" (Rom 11:23).In fact, it makes more sense for them to be saved, than for us Gentiles to have experiencedsalvation. "For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were graftedcontrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more shall these who are the naturalbranches be grafted into their own olive tree?" (Rom 11:24).
God is going to make a short work upon the earth, cutting it short quickly and abruptly. But itwill be done in such a way as to bring Him great and unfathomable glory. That is why it is written,"Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the children of Israel be as thesand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. For He will finish the work and cut it short inrighteousness, Because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth." (Rom 9:27-28).
There are so many churches out there: Baptist, Methodist, Church of God, and Church of Christ. Not to mention all the other types of Baptist and Methodist out there. So between all these different types of churches how dowe know which one is better? Does God like a certain church? Is there a wrong church? And howdo I know which one is right for me?
There is one acid test of "which one is better" -- which one edifies, or strengthens you in the faith?The objective intended by all valid gifts to the church is the building up and edifying of the bodyof Christ, so they can be strengthened with might by God's Spirit in the inner man, so Christ candwell in their hearts by faith (Eph 4:11-16). There is only one way this can happen, and that is bythe proclamation of the truth of God, particularly the truth about His Son (1 John 5:10-11). Thechurch is called "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15) -- not the pillar and ground ofpraise, but of truth. Not the pillar and ground of specialized ministries, but of truth.
Any church that does not shine the spotlight of preaching and ministry upon the Lord Jesus is "awrong church." Any church that leaves you uninformed about Christ, detached from the Lord,and ignorant of His benefits, is "a wrong church."
The "right church" is the one that prepares you for the day when you will stand before the Lord togive an account of yourself. It is the one that prepares you for death, which is an appointment forevery one. It is one makes you a misfit in this world, and a happy citizen of heaven. That is theright church. It is the one that brings you closer to Christ, and Christ closer to you. It is the onethat makes the Bible more understandable to you, and puts a longing in your heart to dwellforever with the Lord.
That kind of church cannot be determined by being identified with a major denominational group.Churches that wear the same name are not necessarily the same in their preaching and members.There are some faithful churches that are identified with unfaithful groups, and there are unfaithfulchurches that are formally connected with groups that normally stand for good things.
The one that is "better" is the one that makes you more conscious of God. Look for that kind ofchurch. The people in it will be godly, and they will have a love for one another. They will want tobe around one another, study the Word, praise the Lord, and hear a lot of Scripture. Do not go bythe name over the door, but the kind of people that meet inside, and what they are hearing.
Did Jesus have brothers? and if so by which parent Mary or Joseph?
Jesus did have brothers, and sisters as well. The brothers are named in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3, and the sisters mentioned as only as "His sisters." The brothers were James, Joses (Joseph), Simon, and Judas. They are associated with Jesus' mother Mary, and Joseph, "the carpenter." This James is the one who wrote the book of James, who is called "the Lord's brother" in Galatians 1:19. He was one of the primary leaders of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; 21:18). James the brother of John, and one of the original apostles, was killed early in the history of the church (Acts 12:12).
Why do we celebrate Easter if it is a pagan Holiday?
The acceptability of devoting a day to the Lord is determined by the conscience of the one honoring that day, not by the particular history men have associated with that day. This is specifically taught in the fourteenth chapter of Romans. "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe its" (Rom 14:5-6). In this text, the personal preferences of one person cannot be bound upon another believer.
The association of Easter with a pagan holiday is not as clear have some have asserted. The ancient Saxons did have a riotous festival in the Spring, commemorating their goddess of the springtime, Eastre. When second century Christian missionaries encountered tribes in the North with their pagan celebrations, they attempted to convert them to Christianity, but in a very clandestine manner. They used pagan feasts as an occasion to celebrate uniquely Christian events. Because the pagan festival to Eastre occurred at the same time as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Christ, some have reported they chose to make it a Christian celebration instead of a heathen one. Eventually, the spelling was changed to "Easter."
"Easter" has been associated with the resurrection of Christ since A.D. 325 -- over 1679 years. I see no good reason to make an issue out of the association of this day with a heathen festival -- as no Christian has ever kept it in honor of the goddess Eastre. Most people do not even know about this origin. I also know of no one in the world who presently honors the goddess of Springtime, Eastre.
It cannot be wrong for a person to remember the resurrection of Christ in all good conscience -- regardless of when he does it. In fact, I would seriously question the motives of someone who objected to it. The point of Scripture is that this is not an area where believers are to judge one another. If the day -- whatever it is -- is conscientiously devoted the Lord, He will receive that devotion. It is folly for another man to judge them concerning such a practice.
Which day is the Sabbath?
The weekly "Sabbath" has always been the seventh day. Under the Law, there were also a number of other sabbaths, associated with various Divinely ordained feast days (Lev 16:31; 23:24,32,39). There was also a land Sabbath every seven years, in which the land was not to be tilled (Lev 25:2-7).
That seventh day Sabbath (together with the other Sabbaths mentioned under the Law), has not been bound upon those who are in Christ Jesus, as specifically taught in Colossians 2:16-17. There, believers are admonished not to allow any man judge them in respect to Sabbath days.
In Christ we have entered into a higher order of Sabbath, which is associated with ceasing from our own works in order to appropriate salvation. This is particularly taught in the fourth chapter of Hebrews. It is specifically taught in that passage that Israel never did enter into the Sabbath-rest of God, even though they kept the seventh day. We are admonished to "make every effort to enter THAT rest," which is a rest of faith, where we cease to rely upon our own works for Divine acceptance. The passage associates this with the seventh day on which God rested, thereby confirming that the real Sabbath is of a different order -- it is not a day (Heb 4:1-12).
The fact that neither Jesus nor any Apostle ever suggested that we were under obligation to keep the seventh day as a day of rest ought constrain men to forever cease trying to bind it on other men. It is never commanded under the New Covenant, and there is not so much as a syllable of teaching concerning it.
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