Ask Your Preacher
How do you know if God is telling you to do something or if it is just a thought? Thank you.
Trying Not To Overthink It
Dear Trying Not To Overthink It,
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). Prophecies and visions are no longer given to people directly (1 Cor 13:8). Instead, God speaks to us through the teachings of His Son (Heb 1:1). It is normal for our emotions and desires to send us conflicting messages; that is exactly why God tells us to not trust ourselves or any “voice” that some churches tell us to listen for (Pr 3:5). Trust God’s Word, and it will be a lamp to your feet (Ps 119:105).
The human mind is a complex and wondrous thing (Ps 139:14). It is perfectly normal for our mind to make mental connections as we pray, study, sleep, etc. Those mental images aren’t visions; they are just your own thoughts as your mind meditates upon what you have said, read, or heard.
Do angels and demons appear to people today?
Keeping My Eyes Peeled
Dear Keeping My Eyes Peeled,
There is absolutely no way of knowing whether or not angels and demons appear to people today, but we do know that they don’t make themselves evident by demon possession or angels coming with new messages from God. Gal 1:8 says that angels have no new message to provide us with, and therefore, there is no need to visit people in the unmasked fashion they once did. In the days of the Old Testament, God spoke to mankind in various forms, including through angels, but now we only need to listen to His Son (Heb 1:1-2).
If the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are considered to be one in the Bible, than why don't we worship the Trinity instead of just one God?
Dear Multiplying Worship,
There are three members of the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19). Each of the three is fully God and have all the powers of Deity. Read “The Father, The Son, & The Holy Spirit” for details on their relationship one to the other. We worship all three members of the Godhead. Jesus received worship (Matt 28:9). We are told to worship through the Holy Spirit (Php 3:3), and we pray to the Father (Lk 11:2). All members of the Godhead are worthy of praise and glory.
My pastor does not have the Holy Spirit to his admission, and he believes that it is not needed. He is a wonderful pastor, should I continue to go to this church? I do have the Holy Spirit?
Neither of you have the Holy Spirit if what you mean is that the Holy Spirit speaks to you directly or the Holy Spirit allows you to perform miracles – that doesn’t happen anymore.
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit that allowed people to perform miracles was received through the direct laying on of hands of the apostles (Acts 8:17-18). This dwelling of the Holy Spirit no longer exists because it died off with the last person that the last apostle laid his hands upon.
Christians do have the Holy Spirit dwell in them (Rom 8:9) – but not literally. The Holy Spirit dwells in christians in the same metaphorical way that Christ dwells in christians (Rom 8:10). The Holy Spirit and Jesus do not physically dwell inside christians miraculously. They dwell within christians in a figurative way because a christian’s life follows the path the Holy Spirit and Christ set for them.
The Holy Spirit dwells in those that follow the Bible and put to death their previous sinful lifestyles (Rom 8:12-14). The Holy Spirit gave us the Bible, and when we follow it, we are led by the Spirit (see this post for further details). Those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God, and the Spirit dwells in them (Rom 8:14-16).
All right, so I have always considered myself a Christian, but lately, something has bothered me. In the Old Testament, in order to make up for the things humans did, they would sacrifice things. Jesus dying on the cross was supposed to be the ultimate sacrifice, right? So, why would a loving and caring God want/need death or Jesus to die in order to make everything right? Couldn't He have just forgiven us on His own out of the goodness of His heart?
Live And Let Live
Dear Live And Let Live,
God sent Jesus to die on the cross, so He could be both a just God and a loving God. If God had simply forgiven us of our sins without paying for them, He would be a liar because God says that sin is deserving of eternal death (Rom 6:23). It wouldn’t be right for Him to simply remove our guilt without paying for it. It would be akin to a judge letting people go free simply because he liked them – a judge like that would be corrupt.
Instead, we see that God is both just and our justifier. Jesus’ blood pays the price of our sin (1 Jn 1:7). There are two ways to pay for sin. We can pay for the sin ourselves by spending eternity in hell, or God’s blood can cover the cost of sin. The Son of God came down and gave Himself to purchase us (Acts 20:28). Rom 3:25-26 says that God sent Jesus, so He could show that He was loving and still righteous.