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Day 124 - Ephesians 1

Friday, June 23, 2017

5 minutes a day 5 days a week - a year of Bible Wisdom

Limited Love

Friday, June 23, 2017
What does the Bible say about homosexuality?  Is it wrong?

Sincerely,
Truth Tracker

Dear Truth Tracker,

There are numerous verses that condemn homosexuality.  In the New Testament, 1 Cor 6:9 specifically states that homosexuals cannot inherit the kingdom.  Rom 1:26-27 says that homosexuality is a perversion of God’s natural design of men and women.  1 Cor 7:2 points out that marriage is intended for a man and a woman (Matt 19:4-6 also states this).  Jude 1:7 points out that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for their homosexual behavior.  Those are some of the most forthright New Testament verses on the subject.

Day 123 - Galatians 6

Thursday, June 22, 2017

5 minutes a day 5 days a week - a year of Bible Wisdom

Tough Love

Thursday, June 22, 2017
In regards to a brother or sister in Christ who is struggling with sin, what needs to happen?  If the brother or sister has come before the congregation and confessed their sins, what is the responsibility then of the congregation?  When the struggling brother/sister misses services, seems to slip into deeper sin, or does not make improvements, what needs to happen?  How much outreach needs to occur from the congregation… from the elders?  And inversely, if the brother or sister improves, does anything need to happen?  I have studied this but was wondering if my findings were correct, so I would appreciate your point of view on it.

Sincerely,
Hoping To Help

Dear Hoping To Help,

There are as many answers to your question as there are people in the church.  The Bible lays out general guidelines for dealing with erring brethren, but it then leaves quite a bit of freedom to apply wisdom to each individual circumstance.  If someone is actively, rebelliously living in sin, they need to be confronted.  The confrontation should begin on an individual level and only escalate to the whole church if the person doesn’t repent (Matt 18:15-17).  If the whole church confronts someone with their sin, and they are still unwilling to change… they should be withdrawn from (1 Cor 5:1-2, 1 Cor 5:13).  This should be done in order to protect the church and to, hopefully, jar the wayward brother back to his senses.  Discipline should always be done with love and compassion (2 Thess 3:14-15).

However, if at any point the person asks for forgiveness – the process reverses and stops.  There is no such thing as someone who is “so far gone” that they can’t be accepted back with loving arms if they confess and repent (Matt 18:21-22, 1 Jn 1:9).

As far as how much we should reach out to people, who should do it, how long we should do it, etc., all of those will vary with individual circumstances.  The short answer is that a congregation should do whatever it can to prayerfully bring back a lost brother or sister (Jude 1:20-23).

A History Of Error

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Paul mentions a brother in Christ named Linus in 2 Timothy 4:21.  According to christian historical sources, Linus went on to become the second bishop of Rome, possibly ordained by Paul himself.  The earliest witness is Irenaeus, who in about the year 180 AD wrote: "The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate.”  Linus is presented by Jerome as "the first after Peter to be in charge of the Roman Church, by Eusebius, as "the first to receive the episcopate of the church at Rome, after the martyrdom of Paul and Peter by John Chrysostom as "second Bishop of the Church of Rome after Peter", while the Liberian Catalogue presents Peter as the first Bishop of Rome and Linus as his successor in the same office.  There seems to be an extensive list of bishops of Rome from Peter to the Emperor Constantine, attested to by early church fathers such as Eusebius of Caesarea (Ecclesiastical History), Tertullian, Origen, Augustine, Ignatius of Antioch, etc.  Why do some christians believe the Catholic church began with Constantine in the fourth century when there is clear historical evidence to the contrary?

Sincerely,
Swiss Guard

Dear Swiss Guard,

Actually, there isn’t clear historical evidence… most of those early church writers were very vague (and sometimes even contradictory) about what the church was doing at that time.  Furthermore, the church is supposed to have bishops… just not Catholic bishops!  1 Tim. 3:1-7 outlines the biblical requirements for a bishop – even if Linus was a bishop (also known as an elder – Tit 1:5) in the congregation in Rome – that doesn’t mean it was a Catholic church.  The Catholic church with a pope, cardinals, archdioceses, etc. didn’t begin to truly form until the days of Constantine when the Roman empire tried to control Christianity by making it the state religion (a practice that has been repeated in many countries throughout time).

In the end, Catholicism is a false religion because it isn’t built upon the Bible.  Any religion that doesn’t use the Bible as its standard of measure is false (Gal 1:8).  The Catholic church calls its priests “father” which is wrong (Matt 23:9).  It tells people that they can’t eat certain foods, and it tells their priests that they can’t marry – which is wrong (1 Tim 4:3).  The Catholic church teaches that the Pope is directly in contact with God and that people should follow him… once again, wrong.  Christ is our direct connection to God (Heb 1:1-4), and the Bible is what we should follow (2 Tim 3:16-17).  Everything about the Catholic church’s organization is in direct opposition to the Scriptures.  The question isn’t how old a church is; the question is whether or not Christ is its head (Eph 5:23).  There is only one pattern for the church (Eph 4:4-6), and the Catholic church is not it.

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