RELATIONSHIPS - Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

RELATIONSHIPS

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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.

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  If the whole church confronts someone with their sin, and they are still unwilling to change… they should be withdrawn from (1 Cor 5:1-2, 1 Cor 5:13).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).

From Courting To Court

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Can my boyfriend and I go before God and ask God to marry us without going to a church and receiving a piece of paper stating we are married? We don’t want to fornicate but want God to marry us.  We want the real thing.  I’ve been married two times before with a Justice of the Peace… but what could be better than going to God Himself to make our promise to keep regarding one another.  Will God bless us and consider us one?

Sincerely,
Without A Paper Trail

Dear Without A Paper Trail,

The problem with that kind of arrangement is that:

  1. There is really no biblical precedent for being “married before God” and not married before the law and family.  Christians are supposed to obey the laws of the land (Rom 13:1-3).
  2. You are putting yourselves in a position to look like you are living together without being married.  This means that you are sending the wrong message to mankind.  Christians are supposed to shine as lights in the world (Matt 5:16) and live a “good manner of life in Christ” that they may put to shame those who revile the name of Christ (1 Pet 3:16).
  3. You are setting yourselves up to be deceptive.  When you file for taxes, are you going to say you aren’t married?

No matter how you slice it – it is better and biblical to be up front and legal before God and man.

Broken Behavior

Friday, June 16, 2017
Where can I find scriptures about homosexuality in the Bible?  I know they are there, but I can't find them.

Sincerely,
Hetero

Dear Hetero,

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.

War And Peace

Thursday, June 08, 2017
Why does God command the people of Israel not to kill, but then He orders them to kill enemies of Israel… even the women, children, and livestock?  Then Jesus tells His disciples to "turn the other cheek."  I haven't been a christian for very long, but I've always been confused about this.

Sincerely,
Double Standard

Dear Double Standard,

The Hebrew word used for ‘kill’ in the Ten Commandments literally means ‘murder’.  There is a difference between killing someone in self-defense and pre-meditated, intentional murder of another human being.  The Bible has plenty of examples of faithful people going to war (David killed Goliath in battle – 1 Sam 17:49-50).  The Bible is also full of examples of capital punishment for certain crimes (Num 15:35).  Num 35:15-16 makes a distinction between accidentally killing someone and premeditated murder.  A police officer may have to kill someone while serving the community, but that isn’t murder.  There is a difference.

It is wrong for an individual to purposefully seek to harm another unless they are acting as an agent of the government (God has given national governments the authority to use ‘the sword’ of punishment – Rom 13:4) or reacting in self-defense.  God commanded the nation of Israel to kill in times of war, but He condemns vigilante murder.  The teaching of “turn the other cheek” (Matt 5:39) is an individual command that applies to everyday living.  The context has nothing to do with war-time actions.

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