Ask Your Preacher

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Haven't You Heard?

Thursday, December 19, 2013
Does a person who has never heard of God or Jesus go to hell or heaven?

Sincerely,
Curious

Dear Curious,

God is the only one who can judge where someone’s eternal destination will be.  The Scriptures give us an insight into how the Great Judge will decide our verdict.  Here are some Scriptures to consider:

  1. Just because someone is ignorant, doesn’t mean they aren’t at fault.  God tells us that anyone who seeks the truth will find it (Matt 7:7-8).  The Bible is the most widely available book on the planet – just because someone hasn’t read it, doesn’t mean they didn’t have opportunity.
  2. People go to hell because of their sins (Rom 6:23), not because of Jesus.  Jesus’ death on the cross is a cure for mankind’s self-inflicted spiritual death sentence.  It is the same as a disease outbreak – the disease kills people, not the lack of a cure.  If Jesus had never come, and none of us had ever heard of Jesus, we would all have been lost.
  3. God tells us that everyone has been given enough information to seek Him.  Rom 1:20 says that the very beauty of the created universe speaks of God’s existence and leaves mankind without excuse.  God has provided an “all call” message anyone can hear through the wonder of His creation.
  4. God doesn’t desire anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9).  God won’t make any mistakes on the Day of Judgment, and no one will accidentally end up in heaven or hell.

As we said, God is the final judge.  We will all face Him when we die (Heb 9:27).  The best thing we can do is make sure we are prepared for that day.

Don't Overthink It

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I am in the process of beating a sin.  However, though I try and pray for strength, forgiveness, guidance, and help each day, I keep having these wrong sinful thoughts.  I keep praying they will go away, but they never do completely.  Can you help me get rid of this evil?  Thank you for your words and wisdom; God bless, and God help.

Sincerely,
Mind Over Matter

Dear Mind Over Matter,

Thinking about sin isn’t the same as sinning.  It is only when we dwell upon sinful behavior and eventually act upon those ideas that we sin.  For example, Satan put the thought of betraying Christ into Judas’ mind, but Judas didn’t sin until he took that idea, dwelt upon it, and then acted (Jhn 13:2).  Jas 1:12-15 explains that sin occurs when we allow wicked ideas that pop into our heads to become wicked lusts, and then those lusts turn into wicked actions.  You will face temptations to sin and opportunities to sin your entire life; the key is to endure the temptation (Jas 1:12), look for the way of escape (1 Cor 10:13), and master sin (Gen 4:7).  Don’t let the thoughts of sin discourage you… just make sure to subdue those thoughts and turn your mind back to God.

A Controversial Truth

Monday, December 16, 2013
This is a very controversial topic, so feel free not to answer if you see fit.  I don't believe homosexuality is right.   I feel it is sinful and wrong.  I was just wondering, as a religious official, what is your opinion?  And how could someone overcome such a battle?

Sincerely,
Taking A Stand

Dear Taking A Stand,

People may give mixed reviews on homosexuality, but the Bible is very clear – a homosexual lifestyle is a sinful lifestyle.  Rom 1:27 makes it clear that homosexuality is one of the deepest forms of depravity in this life.  Jude 1:7 makes it clear that God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because the people “went after strange flesh”, i.e. homosexual behavior.  From the beginning, God designed romantic and physical relationships to be between one man and one woman – for life (Matt 19:4-6).  Any other type of relationship is wrong.

Homosexuality is such a controversial issue because modern society teaches that people are born homosexual, but this simply isn’t true.  Nobody is forced to have a sinful homosexual relationship.  The argument of the homosexual community is that they are born desiring people of the same sex and that they have no choice.  That simply cannot be true.  God makes it clear that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able (1 Cor 10:13).  Even if someone is born with a predisposition toward homosexuality – they aren’t forced to act upon it.  We always have a choice.  There is always a way of escape from sin.  We often use 1 Cor 10:13 as a proof text that no one is born “gay”.
Homosexuality is like all other sins; we sin when we act upon the lust.  God does not tempt us to sin (Jas 1:13).  It is our own lusts that entice us to do the wrong thing (Jas 1:14-16).  One person has a tendency toward anger, another has a tendency toward alcoholism, and some may in fact have a tendency toward homosexuality – but that tendency does not force them to sin.  We need to put away all filthiness of the flesh and be doers of God’s Word (Jas 1:21-22).

Find A New Habit

Saturday, December 14, 2013
I’m so torn up inside!  Why can’t I stop sinning?  I really do try, and I succeed for a while, but then I fall right back into it.  I feel as if I’m slowly escaping this sin, but I still feel burdened by it, and I’m scared God will stop forgiving me.  I know it says in the Bible that God’s grace is endless, and that’s the only thing that leads me to succeed when I do.  I refuse to give up, and feel I am slowly winning the battle, but when I fall, I feel soooooo terrible.  Any advice?

Sincerely,
Repetitive Sinner

Dear Repetitive Sinner,

When a sin becomes so entrenched in your life that you are enslaved to it (Jhn 8:34), you are dealing with an addiction.  Addictions are formed by habits, and habits are formed by repeatedly making the same choices.  James describes this process in Jas 1:13-15.  All sins begin with a mental decision.  If you want to remove an addiction, isolate the choices that are putting you in the position to commit that sin.  If you change the environment and circumstances that lead you to a sin, you change the future playing field.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to let someone else know about your struggle (Jas 5:16).  There is strength in numbers (Eccl 4:12), and exposing a sin takes its power away (Jhn 3:20).

Job's Adversary

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
In Job 1:6 and Job 2:1, if these sons of God are people instead of angels (because it literally translates in Hebrew as "sons" or "children"), can the same thing be said about Satan here because "satan" here literally translates in Hebrew as "adversary", so this Satan is just a person and not the supernatural being that we know of, right?

Sincerely,
Adversary Aware

Dear Adversary Aware,

The word ‘satan’ does mean ‘adversary’, and it takes specific context to tell us what type of adversary it is.  If you were talking about a football match, the adversary would be the other team.  In this case, the adversary is someone that had the power to supernaturally destroy Job’s physical possessions (Job 1:12-19) and to strike Job with sickness (Job 2:7).  The context of this scenario makes it clear that the adversary is the devil.

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