Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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One Last Request

Monday, October 14, 2019
     It has always been my understanding that if we die in sin without asking for forgiveness beforehand, we go to hell.  For example, if I've lived in obedience to God all my life, but on the day I die I sinned and didn’t ask God for forgiveness, I'd go to hell.  Is that right?  Now I look at it, and it seems like I'm counting on my righteousness to gain entry into heaven.  If a believer sins (as we sometimes do) and dies without asking for forgiveness beforehand, does he/she go to hell?

Sincerely,
The Last Word

Dear The Last Word,

Your confusion is a common one because the Bible never explicitly states what happens to the sins that we didn’t specifically ask for forgiveness for.  There is no specific verse that deals with this issue; instead, we must look at some of the concepts that are scattered throughout the Scriptures.

  1. Jesus is our Advocate (1 Jhn 2:1-3).  Jesus is our High Priest, and He mediates between us and God (1 Tim 2:5).  Jesus wants to intercede for your sins, and He desires to help you get into heaven.
  2. God doesn’t desire anyone to be separated from Him (2 Pet 3:9).  No one will ever accidentally go to hell, and no one will accidently miss out on heaven because they didn’t have an opportunity to pray for forgiveness right before they died.  God is ready and willing to forgive (Ps. 86:5).
  3. God expects our obedience, and all forgiveness is dependent upon our willingness to draw near to Him with obedient hearts (1 Pet 1:14).  The Bible says that our obedience to Him purifies our souls.  God forgives the faithful and obedient servant (Heb 10:38).
  4. John paints a beautiful picture for us in 1 Jhn 1:7 by saying, “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” The word ‘walk’ means ‘to live continually’, and whenever we have that relationship but we accidentally sin, the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us of our sins.

When you consider all of these concepts, the truth on the subject becomes evident; we are forgiven as we ask for forgiveness, and God gives grace in those times when we are unable or ignorant to ask for it.  So continue to ask and pray for forgiveness, but you can also have peace that God’s grace will protect your soul as you do your best to live faithfully.

Hitting The Books

Wednesday, October 09, 2019
     I’m trying to learn to communicate with God.  I know we speak to Him through prayer... so does He speak back to us through the Bible?  When I ask for God’s perfect will on a subject, and I ask Him for confirmation in the Bible, and I open it and read on what He says, is the word that I read a promise?  Thank you for explaining, and God bless!

Sincerely,
Looking For Direction

Dear Looking For Direction,

God speaks to us through His Word.  If we want to know God’s desire for our life, we must use the Bible to get our instructions.  Faith comes from the Word (Rom 10:17), and the Bible contains all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3).  If we want to understand what God wants for us, we can find the truth in the sum of His Word (Ps 119:160).  It isn’t as simple as just opening the Bible and putting your finger on a page and looking for a sign; the Bible takes study and effort.


God doesn’t answer our prayers by directly speaking to us, but His Word says that we should pray without doubting (1 Tim 2:8) and that we should ask in faith (Jas 1:6). God says there are very few things that will cause Him to ignore our prayers.  Read “Whose Prayers Count?” for the list of things that will make God turn His back on your prayers.  God never gets tired of hearing from His children.  Christians are to constantly seek Him in prayer.  The most direct example of this is Christ’s parable of the unjust judge in Lk 18:1-5.  Christ taught that parable, so “men ought always to pray and not to grow weary”.  God wants to hear from His people.  So don’t stop asking for help; He is listening.

Who Is Jesus?

Wednesday, October 02, 2019
     I hear people say Jesus is God; I also hear He is God’s Son; then I hear He is both... so who is Jesus besides just our Savior?

Sincerely,
Begin At The Beginning

Dear Begin At The Beginning.,

There are three parts to the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  This is most easily seen in Matt 3:16-17.  When Jesus was baptized, the Father spoke from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended as a dove.  Each of them is eternal (they were all at the creation – Gen. 1:1, Gen. 1:2, Col 1:15-17).  John 1:1 specifically says that Jesus is Deity.  Jesus is different than the Father, but He is part of the Godhead.  Jesus even said that He had always existed (Jhn 8:58).  The apostles worshipped Jesus as God (Jhn 20:28).

Jesus was also God’s son because He was given a physical body by God (Heb 10:5, Matt 1:18).  Jesus also obeyed the Father as a son would obey (Jhn 5:19).  Jesus was also the firstborn Son because He is the firstborn of the church – God’s children (Rom 8:29).  Jesus is completely deity, but He also has a unique role as the only member of the Godhead to have also lived in the flesh (1 Tim 3:16).

On The Brink

Friday, September 27, 2019
     I am going through a mental breakdown: I am talking to myself, I am hearing voices, and now I am seeing things in the sky (like little orbs floating telling me to do stuff)!  What should I do?

Sincerely,
Scared

Dear Scared,

Take a deep breath and seek help - a faithful church and a good physician are a good place to start.  God tells us that two are better than one (Eccl 4:9) and that we need to seek help when things get difficult (Pr 15:22).  When burdens and trials increase in our lives, we need to turn to God and His people.  We are so sorry for the immense turmoil you are going through.  Others have faced this same level of strain that begins to play tricks on your mind.  The key is to lean upon a faithful church that can help you through this.  Please e-mail us at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org, so we can help you find a faithful congregation to provide you with relief and the hope in God that will anchor you through the trials of life (Heb 6:19).

Dead Weight

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
     How long does God expect for you to help someone who is doing very little to help himself?  This person also puts a huge guilt trip on me… saying that he will commit suicide, be homeless, and get on drugs if I make him take care of himself.  What does God expect of me?  I want to do right by my Savior.

Sincerely,
Feeling Conned

Dear Feeling Conned,

The Bible says that there is a balance between helping people and enabling laziness and other sinful behavior.  For example, God says that if someone won’t work, the cure is that they shouldn’t eat either (2 Thess 3:10).  God commands us to not let people “mooch” off of us because that is just helping them to continue to sin.
Don’t get us wrong; God also says that it is very important that we help carry one another’s burdens in Gal 6:2.  However, just three verses down in Gal 6:5, it says that everyone must also be ready to carry their own burdens.  The point is this – we should ALWAYS help those who want to succeed, but when someone is unwilling to even try and carry their own weight… you can’t drag them to success.

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