Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Easily Agitated

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
     Where can I find Scripture about being even-tempered?  I find myself too passionate or emotional over politics and the effects of social media on our children.  I tend to want to get on my soapbox and preach.  Not good!!!  I need Scripture specifically concerning being even-tempered, please.

Sincerely,
Uneven Temper

Dear Uneven Temper,

The Bible says a lot about being even-tempered.  We are told to “be still and know that God is” (Ps 46:10).  We are also told that one of the keys to remaining even-tempered is to remember that we aren’t in control of everything, and we shouldn’t think so highly of ourselves as to put the weight of the world on our own shoulders (Rom 12:3).  Temperate behavior is so important that it is a qualification for elders (1 Tim 3:2), and it makes sense because if we want to make a difference, no matter how strongly we feel about something, keeping an even keel is going to make us more productive leaders than losing our cool.  God says that we should always be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (Jas 1:19).  Remember that no matter how bad things may seem, God is in control of the world, and we need to be sober-minded and set our hope on God’s grace (I Pet 1:13).  Remember, no matter how concerned you are about politics and the future generation, God tells us to be anxious for nothing but instead to pray about our concerns and leave them in God’s hands (Php 4:6).

Water Rationing?

Monday, October 27, 2014
    I have a friend who claims Christians must be baptized by full immersion.  I was wondering why in Luke 11:38 when Jesus ate at a Pharisee’s house, "the Pharisee was astonished to see that He did not first wash [baptizo] before dinner."  Since I'm pretty sure they did not practice full bodily immersion before dinner (tradition indicates that they just washed their hands), Scripture seems to indicate ‘baptizo’ can mean cleansing or ritual washing as well as immersion.

Also, in Ezek 36:25-27, "I will SPRINKLE clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols, I will cleanse you.  A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you... and I will put My Spirit within you..." Doesn't this Old Testament verse pre-figure baptism?

Sincerely,
Just A Dash Please

Dear Just A Dash Please,

The word ‘baptizo’ means ‘immersion’, but context tells us what is being immersed.  In Lk 11:38, the Pharisees would immerse their hands in water to wash them.  In Jhn 3:23, John the Baptist was immersing their entire bodies, and that is why he needed “much water”.  The word doesn’t ever mean sprinkle, splash, or any other type of washing other than full immersion.  In fact, the word ‘baptizo’ is the word that was used by sailors to describe a sunken ship because it had become immersed under the sea.  Your friend is right; we do need to be baptized by full immersion.

As for the verse in Ezek 36:25-27, that is a reference to how God would cleanse the Jewish nation from idolatry.  Ezekiel isn’t referring to literal sprinkling of water; he is referring to the lesson they would learn by spending seventy years in captivity.  When Israel came out of captivity, they would have learned not to worship idols.  Yes, that prophecy pre-dates the New Testament, but no, it doesn’t contradict or alter God’s command to be baptized (1 Pet 3:21, Acts 2:38, Mk 16:16).

Without A Helpmeet

Thursday, October 23, 2014
God bless you brethren.  Is it the will of God for some Christians to remain single all their lives and not marry?

Sincerely,
Single

Dear Single,

Sometimes it is God’s will that people remain single.  When Jesus was asked about whether or not it was expedient to marry, He said that there were three reasons people don’t get married.  Mat 19:12 says:

  1. They are born to not marry
  2. They are made eunuchs by men
  3. They choose not to marry for the sake of the Lord’s work.

These three reasons explain all the circumstances in the world where people abstain from marriage.  Some people don’t have the natural inclinations or tendencies toward marriage and finding a mate.  Others have either been physically or emotionally impacted so that marriage is no longer part of the equation for them.  And lastly, some people voluntarily abstain from marriage in order to be more effective servants for the Lord (1 Cor 7:32-33).  In each of these circumstances, there is a reason for the person abstaining from marriage, but only the first reason shows God’s hand.

Boo!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I would like to know the truth about Halloween.

Sincerely,
Costume On Hold

Dear Costume On Hold,

Halloween does have its roots in pagan rituals.  All Hallow’s Eve is often associated with evil spirits, demon worship, voodoo, and witchcraft.  It is, however, also associated with happy scampering children whose most wicked intent is the desire to glut themselves on candy. New Year’s Eve could be viewed the same way.  New Year’s Eve is often associated with inappropriate male and female interaction and drunkenness.  It is also associated with fresh starts, reflective new beginnings, and an evening of friendship and brotherly kindness.  These holidays can be a good thing or a bad thing.  Though the origins are pagan, many holidays have pagan beginnings that are no longer a part of the modern tradition.  How you participate and your reasons for participating will make the difference.

  1. God soundly condemns witchcraft and any magical arts (1 Sam 15:23, Acts 19:19).  Anyone participating in Halloween in an occult way is sinning.
  2. Christians are supposed to focus on pure and holy things (Php 4:8).  Many of the costumes that are worn during Halloween are macabre, violent, or ghoulish.  Christians should think very carefully before placing too much emphasis upon dark things.
  3. Christians should dress modestly (1 Tim 2:9).  Many costumes, especially those worn by adults, are immodest.  A holiday is not an excuse for dressing in an ungodly way.

Don’t participate if it will bother your conscience.  God tells us that we should always keep a pure conscience (1 Tim 1:5).  If you can’t do something in faith, it is sin (Rom 14:23).

Amazing Acts

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
The five miracles that the Scripture speaks of are: multiplying of the fish, turning water into wine, walking on water, raising the dead, and healing the sick.  Now, if a person could preform one of these miracles, should they be able to do all of them?  I know they can’t today… but in the first century.  What were miracles for, and when did they stop?  Thanks for the answers.

Sincerely,
Stumped By Supernatural

Dear Stumped By Supernatural,

The Scriptures also talk about the miraculous ability to speak in different languages (Acts 2:4-6), prophetic wisdom and supernatural recall of events (Jhn 14:26), and a host of other things.  Not everyone could perform every type of miracle.  In fact, Paul specifically said that in the first century church, different people had different miraculous abilities (1 Cor 12:28-30).  The gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to the apostles (Acts 2:1-4), and the apostles were able to pass on these gifts to others by laying their hands on them (Acts 8:18).  The apostles were the only ones with the ability to pass on the gifts.  Therefore, when the last person that the last living apostle laid hands on died… the gifts ceased to exist.  God intended for this to happen.

Miracles were needed to prove that Jesus and His apostles were sent from God (Acts 14:3, Acts 2:22, Jhn 9:16).  Miracles were used as a proof that what the disciples said was truly God’s Word (Acts 8:6).  Now that we have the perfect and complete Bible, we no longer need those miracles – which was Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians.  When the “perfect” of 1 Cor 13:8-10 happened, the church no longer needed miracles to further the message of Christ.  After the Bible was completed, the church was able to fully see God’s message of salvation (1 Cor 13:12) without further need of prophecies and miracles.

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