Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Back To Good

Saturday, October 19, 2013
I was baptized at fourteen.  I wandered away and committed sins for several years.  I came back to God with a truly repentant heart.  I love the Lord with all my heart.  Will He have me, as unworthy a sinner as myself, back?

Sincerely,
On The Right Road

Dear On The Right Road,

Before you ask the question, “Am I still saved?” – let’s take the time to make sure you properly sought God’s forgiveness the first time.  We highly recommend you read “What Must I Do To Be Saved” and thoroughly examine whether you properly obeyed God the first time around.  If you did – WONDERFUL!  If you didn’t… now is the time to do things right.

That being said, let’s address God’s willingness to forgive.  God says that He finds more joy in one sinner returning to Him than in ninety-nine who don’t need to repent (Lk 15:7).  God also says that there should be no limit to forgiveness when someone repents (Lk 17:4).  When we turn back to God, He promises to show us mercy and to remember our sins no more (Heb 8:12).  It is very normal for us to still feel guilt when we dwell upon our previous lives of rebellion against God, but we can’t let that guilt consume us.  God forgives us; therefore, we can turn that guilt into gratitude (Rom 6:17).  If you repent, He is ready to forgive.

Founding Fathers

Saturday, October 19, 2013
A lot of people say that Abraham was the first Jew, so can he be considered the founder of Judaism?

Sincerely,
Tree Tracing

Dear Tree Tracing,

The entire Jewish nation descended from Abraham.  The Israelites considered Abraham to be their father (Lk 1:73).  Jesus referred to Abraham as the father of the Jewish nation (Jhn 8:56).  Ultimately, God was the founder of Judaism because it was His law and provision that built the nation (Deu 7:6-8).  However, Abraham was the first member of that nation.

Day 209 - John 13

Friday, October 18, 2013

5 minutes a day
5 days a week
1 New Testament in a year

There are 261 weekdays in a year, and there are 260 chapters in the New Testament. By reading one chapter, Monday through Friday, you will read the whole New Testament by the end of the year. The Daily Cup series is to help with that goal.

Happy Studying!

"The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup." -- Psalm 16:5

Click here for a pdf of the study schedule - CLICK HERE

Going For Pope Pt. 2

Friday, October 18, 2013
Based on your response regarding the authority to interpret the scriptures under the heading “Going for Pope”, I was hoping you could clarify a few things.  How can two local congregations, relying on Scripture alone for all matters of faith and practice, still be diametrically opposed doctrinally?  This is from my father-in-law’s local independent Baptist church under the “what we believe” section of their website:

  • The Bible (KJV) to be the infallible, inerrant Word of God (II Peter 1:20,21)(I Peter 1:23-25)
  • The Bible is to be the sole source for all matters of faith and practice (II Timothy 3:16)
  • There is one true and living God revealed to us as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three separate personages in one divine being (I John 5:7)
  • The only way of salvation is by grace through faith in the atonement and righteousness of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8)
  • It is the duty of all to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:9)
  • Nothing can separate true believers from the love of God and they are kept by His power through faith unto salvation (I John 5:10-13)
  • In the pre-millenial return of the Lord Jesus Christ, that the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment but the righteous unto life eternal (I Thessalonians 4:15 18) (Revelations 21:8)
  • In the autonomy of the local church, and that it is to be self-supporting, self-governing, not dependent on any ecclesiastical organizations; solely dependent on the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:16-19)
  • The church is the divine means of spreading the gospel and it is our duty to support missions at home and abroad (Matthew 28:18-20)

The pastor of that congregation has studied the Bible for over forty years and can provide scriptural support for every doctrine that he teaches.  They consider themselves a model New Testament church and believe they are lead by the Holy Spirit when interpreting Scripture.  They rely on no creeds or traditions and go as far as teaching that any other congregation that doesn’t hold similar beliefs are not truly “saved” christians.  In direct opposition to what your local church of Christ congregation teaches, they believe baptism is symbolic only and not necessary for salvation.  Once a believer is saved, they are always saved. You must tithe ten percent or be cursed by God.  They practice communion once every four months.  They use musical instruments in worship service.  They believe in a pre-tribulation rapture of the church. They use all the same criteria you mentioned in your previous responses (Bible as the sole rule of faith), and yet, you would disagree with them (using the very same Scriptures)!  Can you elaborate on your previous answer given this scenario?

Sincerely,
Needing More

Dear Needing More,

We will admit that Baptist churches are much more Bible-centered than most of the denominational world, but just because they say that they do exactly what the Bible says doesn’t make it true.  Many of the things that your father-in-law’s congregation believes are right, but there are some glaring practices that simply ignore Scripture.  Remember, if you avoid or ignore verses, that is just as bad as adding creeds (Rev 22:18-19).  We have to take every Bible teaching, no matter how unpopular, and accept it in order to truly call ourselves a “Bible-only” congregation.  We don’t disagree with your father-in-law when he uses Scriptures; we would disagree with him when he ignores or avoids Scripture.  So let’s take a look at a couple of areas that this Baptist church is ignoring obvious Bible text.

  1. Baptism is necessary for salvation.  This is one of the clearest teachings in the New Testament.  Peter literally wrote, “Baptism saves you” in 1 Pet. 3:21.  Mark 16:16 teaches that when you believe and are baptized, you are saved.  There is not a single example of someone becoming a christian without baptism.  If a church is teaching that baptism is only symbolic… it is ignoring the text.  In fact, the Baptist church’s manual (which is a lot like a creed) specifically says, “Baptism was the door into the church; now it is different” (Standard Manual for Baptist Churches pg. 22).  Feel free to read our article “Baptism” for further Scriptures on this topic.
  2. The Bible openly teaches that you can lose your salvation.  Gal 5:4 says that people can be “severed from Christ” and “fall away from grace”.  1 Tim 4:1 also warns that people will fall away and follow false teachings.  Heb 3:12 also mentions falling away because of an unbelieving heart.  The clearest verse on this topic is Heb 6:4-6 because it talks about someone who was “enlightened” and had “tasted the heavenly gift” and yet were “crucifying Christ again”.  Once again, these are simple verses with clear and direct implications.
  3. The Lord’s Supper.  Your father-in-law’s congregation only takes the Lord’s Supper every four months.  Where is the Bible authority and support for that?  Where in the Bible does it show christians taking communion every four months?  Acts 20:7 mentions christians taking the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week.  Once again, this is a plain teaching with a simple consequence.  If we want to be like the first-century christians… we take communion every first day of the week.

This is hardly an exhaustive answer to everything that your father-in-law’s church does, but it should be enough to give you an idea that there are some clear verses that are being avoided by this Baptist congregation.  God tells us to test all teaching against the Scripture (1 Jn 4:1).  No congregation advertises that they are ignoring parts of the Bible, but many churches do exactly that.

Due to the lengthy nature of these answers and our backlog of questions, if you have further questions on this topic, please include your e-mail address, so we can contact you in a timely manner.

A Harbored Grudge

Thursday, October 17, 2013
My significant other wronged me in a way that is hard to forgive.  He was truly sorry for it, and I said that I had forgiven him (many times), however, I’m having trouble forgetting it, and I get the feeling that since I have not forgotten it, maybe I never really forgave him for it… even though I really want to.  I try to forgive him, and I cannot no matter how hard I try.  I still have nightmares and start to remember what I am supposed to have forgotten.  The nightmares affect how I act toward him in the morning, and I feel terrible about it, but I don’t know how to forget.  What can I do?

Sincerely,
In A Nightmare

Dear In A Nightmare,

If forgiveness were easy then God wouldn’t have had to command us to do it.  Forgiveness is a process that gets more difficult the deeper the wrong done against us.  Forgiveness is an act of showing love and mercy where it isn’t deserved or earned.  God forgives from the greatness of His love (Num 14:19), and forgiving others is part of showing love.  When you think of forgiving your husband (we are assuming that is what you meant by “significant other”) as an act of love, that change of thinking can sometimes make it easier.

It can also help to think about what God has done on your behalf.  When we remember that God forgives our sins, it softens our hearts to remember to forgive others (Matt 6:12-15).  Forgiveness is a heartfelt decision (Matt 18:35) that can take time, but it is ultimately worth it.  If you can’t forgive, you will become bitter… and that is a road that you don’t want to travel down (Heb. 12:15).  Persevere and don’t let your husband’s poor choice poison your spiritual growth.

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