Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

WORSHIP

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Sunday Scheduling

Monday, February 19, 2018
The Corinthian church had a lot of problems that Paul had to correct.  One of their deviations from the truth was the way they were taking the Lord's Supper (or communion).  1 Corinthians 11 tells us they weren't treating it as the holy memorial that it is.  In verses 21 and 33 of that chapter, they were rebuked for not waiting for each other or, in other words, for taking it at different times.  It seems like a tradition in the church to have communion more than once on the first day of the week.  Is this a scriptural practice we have authority for, or is this a problem we should change?  I hope my question was clear.

Sincerely,
Multiple Problems?

Dear Multiple Problems,

This is an issue that many good brethren wrestle with.  Does a congregation have the right to offer the Lord’s Supper twice on Sunday?  Is it biblical for a local church to offer communion in the morning and then offer it again at a Sunday evening service?  We believe so, but we also believe that there is room for disagreement on this issue, and if a brother or sister doesn’t feel comfortable with a second serving of the communion, they should abstain.  We must all seek to serve God with a clear conscience (1 Tim 1:19), and if you can’t do something in faith, you shouldn’t do it (Rom 14:23).  Having said that, here are our thoughts on the subject of offering the Lord’s Supper twice on Sunday.

The Bible never tells us the amount of times that a congregation must offer the Lord’s Supper; it only tells us that it must be taken by the saints sometime on Sunday (Acts 20:7).  This leaves us a twenty-four hour period in which a christian can gather with the church and fulfill this command.  The specific times we choose to meet are an expediency… simply a matter of preference.

1 Cor 11:33 says that a congregation must “wait for one another”.  1 Cor 11:21-22 clarifies that the problem in Corinth was that they were eating the Lord’s Supper as a common meal and not waiting to do it solemnly together.  The problem in Corinth was that they were eating communion for the purpose of filling their bellies instead of remembering the Lord’s death (1 Cor 11:34).  The goal of waiting for one another was to provide a scheduled time to fulfill this command together.  It didn’t mean that every christian needed to be present (otherwise, a congregation couldn’t partake of the Lord’s Supper unless every member was accounted for), and it didn’t mean that they couldn’t schedule multiple times to wait for one another.  It simply meant that they had to treat the Lord’s Supper as a holy and spiritual meal of remembrance.  The church is responsible for doing things in a decent and orderly way (1 Cor 14:40).  Offering the Lord’s Supper in the morning and evening fulfills that command for order and decency.  The congregation is providing specific orderly times for members to fulfill their command to gather with the church and take the Lord’s Supper.

The church is commanded to provide opportunity for christians to take the Lord’s Supper with the church, but the individual is responsible for taking it.  If a congregation offers the Lord’s Supper in both the morning and evening, it is doing its job – providing opportunity.  It is the same as the command to take up a collection.  Most congregations provide opportunity for individuals to give financially at both the morning and evening services – which matches exactly with the command in 1 Cor 16:1-2.  No one bats an eye when a congregation offers the collection basket twice.  In fact, we would probably be shocked if a congregation refused to take someone’s contribution because they missed morning services.  Yet, this is exactly the same as offering the Lord’s Supper twice.   It is a matter of expediency.  When a congregation offers the collection and the Lord’s Supper at both services, it is simply trying to provide opportunity for all (even those who were unable to attend in the morning) to fulfill God’s commands to give and take the Lord’s Supper on Sunday.

Weekend Warrior

Friday, February 16, 2018
I want to join a new church, but this church has church on Saturday and Bible study on Tuesday; I thought church must be on Sunday and Bible study on Wednesday, or does it matter?

Sincerely,
Calendar Keeper

Dear Calendar Keeper,

We can study the Bible whenever we want (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, etc.), but the church is commanded to come together on Sunday to worship.  Acts 20:7 gives us the example that the church took the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, and 1 Cor 16:1-2 shows us that the church should take up a contribution on Sunday.  The church must come together on Sunday to do these two things if nothing else.  We have further evidence that the church used Sunday as a day of worship because John used the term “the Lord’s day” in Rev 1:10.  Numerous early christian writers and historians refer to Sunday as the Lord’s day.  Sunday is a day that God has set aside for christians to come together, remember Jesus’ sacrifice, contribute to the work, sing songs of praise, pray, and study God’s Word.  Any church that doesn’t meet on Sundays isn’t taking the Bible seriously.

Blasphemous Preaching Pt. 2

Monday, February 05, 2018

(This question is a follow-up to “Blasphemous Preaching”)

Thank you so very much for the quick response.  I left church early tonight and felt very guilty even taking communion to my Holy Father because I had to excuse myself right after communion, so I could leave.  I just had to get out of there.  The Sunday night service was worse than the morning.  I am beginning to think that my pastor has serious mental problems, and I don't know what to do about it.  I am teaching Sunday school, and I am able to teach one hour of truth, and I am able to sing worship songs to God.  But the preaching is making my nerves shaky.  He either tells news stories that he gets from the internet that are so far fetched it's like something from the Globe or the Enquirer, or he reads history books, or he shows videos on a big screen.  This morning, when he said what he did about Jesus, it was about the worst!  But nobody seems to mind.  If they do, I don't hear it.  I am wanting to get away and seek the Lord for wisdom as to whether or not to quit the church, but I am certain that the Lord has called me to work for Him.  I just don't know what to do about this preacher.  I e-mailed him the Scripture that proves that Mary and Joseph were married before Jesus was born, but he won't say anything about it.  Would you please pray that God will show me what His plan is and what His will is?  I need to sing, and I love teaching Sunday school.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Horrified

Dear Horrified,

We appreciate your dedication to your congregation and your righteous indignation over false teaching.  May we offer some thoughts on the issue?  You have written to us on numerous occasions because of the unscriptural things that are coming from your church’s pulpit.  You are trying to balance your desire to work for Christ and your desire to avoid false teaching.  Have you considered that by leaving and going somewhere faithful, you would be doing both?  God says that a faithful congregation should be “a pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15).  In your own words, the church you are currently a part of isn’t – and the membership doesn’t seem to care about changing that.  Your labors (which you intended to offer to the Lord) are being used to support false teaching and unscriptural practices.  Since it seems clear that the congregation is at peace with their preacher’s sermons and teachings… you are now in the vast minority and propping up a sinking ship.  Looking at the character and honesty your letters have conveyed – you simply aren’t with a like-minded group of people.  We know of faithful, biblically-sound churches all across America… churches you could feel comfortable in, grow from the teaching of, and use your zeal and energy to support.  Would you consider letting us recommend one to you?  If so, e-mail us at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org.

Blasphemous Preaching

Monday, January 29, 2018
My preacher teaches that Joseph and Mary were not married when Jesus was born, and today he said that Jesus was a "bastard".  I am sorry to write that, but it's what he said.  I teach Sunday School and had just taught that Joseph and Mary were married (Matthew 1:18-25), and I need to tell him we can not be teaching two different Bible teachings.  Would you tell me please if Joseph was married to Mary, and should I correct my preacher about using such strong language when talking about Jesus?  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Horrified

Dear Horrified,

Joseph was definitely married to Mary, and the term your preacher used was both incorrect and vulgar.  As you said, Matt 1:18-25 clearly teaches that Joseph married Mary.  Joseph planned on putting her away before their marriage because he found out she was pregnant (Matt 1:19).   Understandably, he was unwilling to continue their engagement.  An angel appeared to Joseph and explained the entire circumstance to him and told Joseph to take Mary as his wife (Matt 18:20).  After the visit from the angel, Joseph went forth and made Mary his wife (Matt 18:24).  As further proof, Jesus’ genealogy describes Joseph as “the husband of Mary” (Matt 1:16).  Ask your preacher how he reconciles his teaching with these plain Bible verses.

Hooked On A Feeling

Monday, December 18, 2017
When I am playing the piano in our worship, I hardly ever feel the presence of God.  But when I have the Sunday off, and I am worshipping, I feel God's presence.  Why is this?

Sincerely,
Not Feeling It

Dear Not Feeling It,

There are two parts to your question that must be dealt with.  Before we answer your concerns about how and when you feel close to God, we recommend you read the post “Music to HIS Ears”.  After reading that, it may make the second part of this question obsolete because it explains how using instruments as a part of worship isn’t a biblical practice.

The second half of your question deals with emotion.  The Bible never talks about us feeling the presence of God.  In fact, mankind hasn’t been allowed in the presence of God since Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden (Gen 3:8).  The angels are in God’s presence (Lk 1:19), but mankind won’t be until the Day of Judgment.  God is certainly close to us and affects our lives (Acts 17:27-28), but we don’t have direct contact with Him.  So when we talk about “feeling the presence of God”, what we are really discussing is when we feel emotionally close to God.  Emotions are fickle.  There will be times when you will feel like God is far from you… but you are wrong because He is still watching over you (Ps 9:10), and there are folks that believe that they are close to God, but they are separated from Him because they are living wickedly (Matt 7:21-23).  Simply put, we can’t trust our emotions to be accurate.  The only way to confidently know that God is near you is to live faithfully by hearing and acting upon His instructions (Rom 1:16).

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