Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Mission Plan

Friday, January 05, 2018
Hello.  Are there organizations that I could go on mission trips with even if I don't belong to a certain church?  I really feel like God is pulling me toward missions, and I would love to reach out to others and share God's love. Thanks much.

Sincerely,
Wanting to Reach Out

Dear Wanting To Reach Out,

The church is God’s organization for spreading the good news.  We applaud your zeal to spread God’s Word, so let’s see if we can give you some information that can help focus that zeal in the most effective way.  God tells us that zeal is only effective when combined with knowledge (Rom 10:1-2).  There is no such thing as a christian that isn’t a member of a congregation – even the apostle Paul was a member of the Antioch congregation (Acts 11:26).  The great evangelism efforts that Paul and Barnabas spearheaded all started from their work with the local church in the city of Antioch.  The church is God’s tool to protect and spread the good news of Christ (1 Tim 3:15).  In fact, we are warned against forsaking the assembly of the church (Heb 10:24-25).  Christians aren’t meant to function without the support of the church.  We would be happy to point you toward a congregation in your area that is faithful, evangelistic, and ready to use your zeal to spread the good news.  If we can help, just e-mail us at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org.

For Safety Of Hearth And Home

Thursday, January 04, 2018
Is using deadly force ever justifiable in defense of self or family?  If there were ever a situation where there was complete societal breakdown (no government or police), food and water became scarce, and armed looters and gangs searching for food became a real threat to your family, would you be morally responsible to defend your family by any means necessary?  Would God expect you to turn the other cheek or fight for survival?

Sincerely,
Getting Prepared

Dear Getting Prepared,

When the Bible commands us to not kill, the word used for ‘kill’ is the word that we would use for ‘murder.  Some of the most faithful men in the Bible were soldiers and had to kill people in the defense of their country.  David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14), and yet David killed many people as a soldier.  Jesus marveled at the faith of a centurion soldier (Matt 8:8-10).  The first Gentile convert was Cornelius, a well-known Roman soldier (Acts 10:22).  When a group of soldiers asked John the Baptist what they needed to do to live a faithful life, he told them to be honest and faithful… but he never told them to stop serving in the military (Lk 3:14).  These are all examples of the difference between murder and self-defense (or war-time killing).

In the Old Testament, God made specific rules that allowed an individual to kill if they were defending their home or family (Ex 22:2).  In Lk 22:35-39, Jesus tells His disciples that persecution will begin after He leaves and that they ought to “buy a sword” – this is certainly an endorsement of self-defense.  All of these point to the fact that God distinguishes between defensive force and vigilante murder.

Knights Templar

Wednesday, January 03, 2018
Who are the Knights Templar?

Sincerely,
Historian

Dear Historian,

The Knights Templar was an order of knights that were endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church in 1129 and fought during the Crusades.  They were also known for building large fortifications across Europe.  There is a modern mystique surrounding the Knights Templar because they were a very secretive religious society… but all historical sources point toward them going out of existence centuries ago.

In any case, the Knights Templar have absolutely nothing to do with the Bible.  The Bible was completed over a thousand years before the Knights Templar were created by the Catholic church.  The Crusades and the Knights Templar are both good examples of how the Catholic church did (and does) things that have zero connection to the Word of God.  God tells us to never add or subtract from His Word (Rev 22:18-19).  All faithful churches take that command very seriously.

Polishing The Resume

Tuesday, January 02, 2018
If my job requires me to take care of a person who is a heavy drinker and curses a lot (and has people around her that do the same things), and I’m a christian, am I wrong to continue to work for her?  Should I seek other employment that does not have those things around me on a daily basis?

Sincerely,
In Dicey Company

Dear In Dicey Company,

Every circumstance is different, but there are two Bible principles that can help you prayerfully decide to stay or seek other employment.

  1. God says that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor 15:33).  The people we spend time around do influence us, and if we are constantly choosing to fill our lives with people that have low moral standards, it will hinder our spiritual growth.
  2. As long as we are in this world, we will always be surrounded by a certain level of iniquity and sinful behavior.  The apostle Paul said that it is impossible to get away from all worldly people (1 Cor 5:9-10).  Jesus went so far as to remind faithful people that unbelievers are spiritually sick and need the example and truth that faithful people have to offer (Lk 5:31-32).  We are supposed to let our light shine in this dark and weary world (Matt 5:16).

As you can see, it all comes down to balancing these two principles.  Make sure that you are exerting an influence on your employer… not the other way around.  If the situation is really too bad to deal with and it is pulling you away from God – make plans to change jobs.  However, if you feel like there is good left to be done and you aren’t being corrupted – stay and let your light shine.

Two Sides Of The Tale

Monday, January 01, 2018
There are two passages that some people say don't go well together.  In 2 Samuel 24:1, God incited David to take a census, but in 1 Chronicles 21:1, Satan incited David to take the census.  How can this be?  Some people say that either God Himself morphed into Satan or the author of Chronicles calls God "satan" because God's anger acts as an adversary to David or people say this is just a biblical error and don't know why it's there.  At first, I thought these were two separate events, but no, these two verses describe one event.  What do you say, and how would you explain this?

Sincerely,
Head Count

Dear Head Count,

Those two verses describe two sides of the same coin.  2 Sam 24:1 says that God was upset with Israel, and 1 Chr 21:1 says that Satan fought against Israel.  Both are true.  God was upset with how Israel was behaving, so He took His protection away and allowed Satan to fight against Israel by tempting David.  God often does this.  We are protected as long as we turn to Him and place our faith in Him, but when we wander into ungodly living – all bets are off.  The great lion, the devil, hunts for wayward sheep that have strayed from the Great Shepherd (1 Pet 5:8).

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