Ask Your Preacher
In Acts 14:14, Paul and Barnabas are specifically referred to as "apostles". They both don't seem to fit the qualifications of being an apostle from Acts 1:21-26. Can you explain?
The word ‘apostle’ means ‘one sent forth’. We associate the word apostle with the apostles of Christ, but technically speaking, anyone sent forth by another is a type of apostle. Paul was an apostle of Jesus because Jesus specifically sent him forth to preach to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15), and the Bible often refers to him as an apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:1, Gal 1:1). However, there is debate over whether or not Barnabas was an apostle of Christ. Acts 14:14 is the only place that Barnabas is referred to as an apostle, and we are still left with the question of who sent Barnabas. Acts 13:3-4 says that Barnabas and Paul were sent forth by the church in Antioch and the Holy Spirit to preach throughout Cyprus and Galatia. It is most likely that “sending forth” that is referred to in Acts 14:14. That would make Barnabas an apostle of the church in Antioch, but not Jesus’ apostle.
My husband is a good christian and a kind man. He is an attorney and works very hard, but he just can't seem to attract a steady flow of income. My mom and I pray for him every day. It makes me wonder, after twenty-four years of marriage, why God does not answer our prayers. I don't know what to do if we are somehow blocking God's blessings somehow. I don't know how to help my husband. Obviously, God must be waiting for some good reason, but it is difficult when the lights go out or we can't afford even the basics. He will get good clients for a while and then have a long dry spell. Do you think the Lord is trying to teach him something? So many thoughtless people have money and security. It seems the Lord is looking the other way (although I praise Him for His blessings every day). What can I do?
Dear Lawyer’s Wife,
We all have our struggles, and it sounds like this one is your family’s. It would be easy to give you advice if your husband was unwilling to work, but as you said, that isn’t the case. Sometimes, good people struggle with burdens that seem very unfair. After all, the righteous David had to hide in caves and mountains while wicked Saul lived in luxury.
In Ps 73:3-12, the psalmist, Asaph, ponders why it is that wicked people prosper and the righteous are downtrodden. The question vexed him deeply because his enemies succeeded while he, a godly man, was constantly in pain (Ps 73:13-14). Eventually, Asaph went to the temple and thought about the end of a wicked man’s life (Ps 73:16-17).
A life of wickedness is a slippery slope – one lie leads to another until all you have is a tangle of lies and deception (Ps 73:18). The wicked man has no peace because he is totally dependent upon his own strength and wiles for success… every moment of life is lived upon a precipice (Ps 73:19).
Contrast that life to one of a righteous man. God holds the hand of the righteous, so they will not despair (Ps 73:23), and God is a righteous man’s counselor and friend (Ps 73:24). Ultimately, the righteous go to heaven, and the wicked spend eternity in hell (Ps 73:25).
It may seem like wicked people prosper, but eventually, their wickedness becomes their downfall. Sometimes, their sins take years to catch up with them (pay attention to some of the latest headlines in politics and Hollywood), but they always do. If a man becomes wealthy through evil… he may have money, but he won’t have peace. As Pr 15:17 points out, a wealthy feast filled with hatred isn’t nearly as enjoyable as a humble meal eaten with loving friends. Financial prosperity is not synonymous with happiness.
You are doing the right thing. Continue to encourage your husband. You are learning one of the most valuable lessons in life – to be content with what you have and place your trust in the Lord (Php 4:11-13).
What is the gift of the Holy Spirit that christians are promised by Peter in Acts 2? I don't think it's God's Word since faith comes by hearing, and you must hear the Word of God before you can believe and become a christian. Also, not all christians at that time or today had/have access to the inspired Scriptures. I followed Peter's instructions, but I don't have any "spiritual" gift. I get very confused when it comes to the Holy Spirit's role after the perfect has come.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is salvation. In Acts 2:38, Peter offers the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who are baptized. The problem is that in this verse, Peter doesn’t specify whether the gift is from the Holy Spirit or the gift is the Holy Spirit. We need to compare Peter’s sermon in Acts to other verses. What do other verses say you receive when you are baptized?
- Mk 16:16 says you will receive salvation.
- Acts 8:16 shows that several people had been baptized but hadn’t received the Holy Spirit – which means that the Holy Spirit can’t be what the gift is.
- Acts 10:47 shows several people receiving the Holy Spirit before baptism, also proving that the gift of baptism isn’t the actual Holy Spirit.
- Rom 6:4 says you are given a new life through baptism.
- 1 Cor 12:13 says that you become part of the church when you are baptized.
- Col 2:12 says you are raised with Christ in baptism.
- Gal 3:27 says you put on Christ when you are baptized.
- 1 Pet 3:21 says baptism saves you.
The truth can always be found in the sum of God’s Word (Ps 119:160). Baptism washes away your sins, and you receive the gift of salvation. The gift of salvation is a heavenly gift offered to us by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God (Heb 6:4, 1 Cor 2:11-13).
Is it alright to give money through the mail to a church for a prophecy?
Paying The Price
Dear Paying The Price,
Televangelists that promise healing miracles, local preachers that profess to have visions, and any others of their ilk are charlatans and liars. They are no different than Simon the magician who tried to buy the gift of God for money… they are diseased in heart and enslaved to iniquity (Acts 8:19-23). The word of God is in the Bible and free and available to everyone… anyone that tries to sell it to you is a false teacher. Accept nothing but the Bible; don’t let anyone add to it, and don’t let anyone take away from it (Rev 22:18-19). We have everything we need to know about life and godliness within the pages of the Scriptures (2 Pet 1:3). There is no need for additional prophecy because God has handed down to us once and for all His Word to the saints (Jude 1:3). Don’t give a penny, or even a greeting, to those who would use the Gospel for greedy gain (2 Jn 1:10-11).
Temptation and trials – what is the different between the two? Who gives us trials or do we put ourselves in them? Who gives us temptations or do we put ourselves in them? Why do we go through both? Is it a test for us to pass or to build us up spiritually?
The Bible says that God never tempts us to do evil (Jas 1:13). God never purposefully puts us in a situation with a desire for us to sin. The devil wants to devour you with sin, but God never does (1 Pet 5:8). However, God does put us in situations in order to find out what we are made of. God tested Abraham when He asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Gen 22:1). God put Abraham in a position where he could succeed or fail – but the key is that God wanted him to succeed (Gen 22:14-18). Abraham was tried by God (Heb 11:17), so God could bless him. God may put us in circumstances that are difficult, but His desire is always to benefit us.
On the other hand, the devil tempts us for the purpose of destroying us – just like he did with Jesus in the wilderness (Matt 4:1). That is why God promises us that He will never allow the devil to tempt us beyond what we are able to handle (1 Cor 10:13). The devil tries to set us up for failure, and the Lord tries to set us up for success.