Ask Your Preacher
Why does the christian worship God on Sunday? In the Ten Commandments it says Saturday is the Sabbath day?
Trying To Believe
Dear Trying To Believe,
The ‘Ten Commandments’ were Old Testament laws, and you need to live by nine of them. The entire Old Testament law, including the ‘Ten Commandments’ was done away with in Christianity (Gal 3:23-25). The New Testament law supersedes the Old Testament one, and the law written on stone tablets (the Mosaic law which includes the Ten Commandments (Deu 4:13) has passed away (2 Cor 3:3-11).
Having said that, the New Testament reiterates nine out of the ten commands. Christians do obey nine of the ‘Ten Commandments’ because Christ thought nine of them were worth keeping in the New Testament.
- Thou shalt not have any other god before me (Ex 20:3, 1 Cor 10:14)
- Thou shalt not make graven images or bow down to them (Ex 20:4-5, 1 Jhn 5:21)
- Thou shalt not take God’s name in vain (Ex 20:7, Heb 12:28)
- Honor thy father and mother (Ex 20:12, Eph 6:1-2)
- Thou shalt not kill (Ex 20:13, 1 Pet 4:15)
- Thou shalt not commit adultery (Ex 20:14, Heb 13:4)
- Thou shalt not steal (Ex 20:15, Eph 4:28)
- Thou shalt not bear false witness (Ex 20:16, Rev 21:8)
- Thou shalt not covet (Ex 20:17, Eph 5:3)
The only one of the ‘Ten Commandments’ left out is the keeping of the Sabbath (Ex 20:8). Christians aren’t bound to keep the Sabbath holy; Jews were. In the New Testament, we are told to meet on Sunday to take the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7).
God forgives every sin, right? But what happens when you do that sin repeatedly?
Dear Do Over,
There are two pieces to the puzzle of repetitive sins:
- How many times can I ask for forgiveness for the same sin?
- How do I remove this sin from my life?
The answer to the first part is simple. You can ask for forgiveness an innumerable amount of times. Christ told Peter that we should forgive ‘seventy times seven’ (Matt 18:21-22). Paul was forgiven of his sins even after killing christians and actively persecuting the church (1 Tim 1:16). As often as we truly repent, God is ready to forgive (Lk 17:4). It is quite possible to truly repent of something and then find yourself doing that same thing not minutes later. It happens in arguments all the time! You say something mean, apologize, then find yourself upset again, and again use rash words. The repeating of the cycle is not necessarily an indication of false sorrow.
However, the second part of your question deals with stopping this cycle. God will forgive you for stumbling again into the same sin, but only if you are truly attempting to change your mind. Paul reminds us that we are to do everything we can to flee from the slavery to sin (Rom 6:1-2, Rom 6:12-13). Without knowing what sin you are caught up in, I can’t give specific advice, but I recommend getting help if it is as consuming as you say. Many sins can become addictions that are very hard to break. Here are some things to consider:
- Are you trying to change all on your own? God says two are stronger than one (Eccl 4:9-10). In the case of sin like pornography, many people try and struggle through it alone without seeking help because of the shame involved in it becoming known. This rarely, if ever, works. Telling someone, even just one trusted friend, and using things like Covenant Eyes accountability software can make all the difference in such circumstances.
- Are you putting yourself in compromising situations? People with drug and alcohol addictions are often tempted back into their old habits by drinking buddies or parties where drugs are made available. You may need to cut off certain people and habits from your life in order to escape that sort of sin. Remember, Christ said it would be better to remove even your own hand if it would free you from a sin (Matt 5:30).
Removing sin from our lives is a constant struggle. God is ready to forgive you ‘seventy times seven’ as you fight to defeat this sin, but you must look yourself in the mirror and make sure you are taking the steps necessary to change your life.
Is the leviathan in Isaiah 27:1 really Satan?
Dear Asking Literally,
Isaiah 27 is dealing with the same topic as the proceeding three chapters – the blessings that exist in Christ and His victory over sin. To be fair, the language used in this section of Isaiah is some of the hardest and most apocalyptic language found in all the Bible, so there is room for disagreement amongst good brethren. Having said that, we believe that since the topic is Christ’s victory and the blessings found in the church – Satan is mostly likely the serpent that was slain in Isa 27:1. If it doesn't represent Satan himself, it probably stands for the world powers that Satan would use to try and defeat God's plans to make Christ's church to flourish. The language of Isaiah 27:1 is very similar to what is said in Rev 12:9-11.
I am leading a weekly Bible study. Yesterday was our first study, and we talked about why Jesus came to this earth. Now, I don't know how to incorporate the Gospel for new people and change the study for the people that have come multiple times. What should I do?
Bible Study Leader
Dear Bible Study Leader,
We aren't exactly sure what advice we can give you. One of the easiest ways to study the Bible is to study it expositorily. Take a book of the Bible, and study it from start to finish. This way you get exactly what God intended for mankind to learn. Being a teacher is a very solemn thing and puts us under a stricter judgment because of the power to lead people astray if we don't adhere to the Bible's teachings (Jas 3:1). If you aren't feeling that you have a comfortable grasp on the Scriptures, better to stick with an exact study of a book than to potentially veer into manmade doctrines.
I attend a church of Christ congregation that has both liberal and conservative members. We have worked hard to accommodate one another for the sake of peace, and for the most part, we have no practices that are unscriptural. However, every second Sunday, a potluck is held in a kitchen/classroom adjacent to the auditorium. The more conservative members, I being one, do not participate because we cannot find anywhere in the Bible where God authorizes potlucks in the church building. Needless to say, this has caused some debate; therefore, the topic is avoided. Is there any Bible authority or example that allows potlucks? We are a small congregation and do not have elders. Sometimes, I worry that by not attending these potlucks, the more liberal members feel I'm being judgmental by not fellowshipping during these potlucks, but I've always been taught that we must have chapter and verse for anything we do. Also, several times, conservative visitors have happened to attend on "potluck Sunday" and have voiced their disapproval. It's difficult to conceal, and in fact, it is announced at the end of services that we are having a potluck – as if everyone hasn't already been distracted by the aroma of roast beef wafting into the auditorium during services. Please comment. The bottom line is: I want my life to be pleasing to God and do not want to make an unrighteous judgment. Thank you.
"Potluck Sunday" Avoider
Dear "Potluck Sunday" Avoider,
We agree that the Lord's church doesn't have authority to use the building for potlucks, social events, etc. You are right on this issue – there is simply no biblical precedent for the church functioning as a social organization. The work of the church is simple, and anything that doesn't fulfill that work shouldn't be done. We posted an answer to a question regarding the work of the church: read "The Purpose Driven Church" for more details on that subject. There was a time when the church needed to hold potlucks because people traveled such long distances by horseback or foot that it was impossible for people to stay for the full day of worship unless they had a meal between... if they went home for a meal, they might as well have stayed home. This was an appropriate use of potlucks because they were an expediency for worship. With today's modern transportation system and the availability of restaurants, that simply is not an issue anymore. Today, potlucks are for the purpose of socializing, not furthering the work of the church. If the work of the church is to socialize, we also ought to have gymnasiums, playgrounds, movie nights, etc. The fact that potlucks are a “tamer” social event than a movie night doesn't make them any less wrong.
Having said all of that, let's now address the issue of your dissenting voice amongst the congregation. Romans 14 is very clear on the subject of stronger and weaker brethren. When one brother believes he can do something (this would be the strong brother), and another believes he can't (the weak brother), how should those two interact with each other? In this circumstance, you are the weak brother. Weak doesn't mean you are wrong or frail; it means you cannot in good conscience participate in these social gatherings. Rom 14:1-4 says that the stronger brother should accept you without condescension or mocking because you are trying to do what you believe is right. Rom 14:13-17 takes it one step further and says that the brother who believes he has the freedom to do something should restrain himself if it is causing his brother to stumble. Your scenario is a good example of this. You believe (and with good reason) that this is an inappropriate use of the Lord's funds, and you do not desire to participate. The congregation should (at the bare minimum) accept your conscientious choice and leave it at that. It is our experience that the opposite is often true. Over time, many congregations as they move toward liberalism try and pressure or demean those with dissenting views. Satan has a way of destroying good relationships by getting more liberal-minded brethren to vigorously fight for their "rights" instead of showing a gentle demeanor with those who don't believe we have the freedom to act so liberally. Sadly, we have seen it time and time again.
In short, you are seeing things clearly, and you are right to be concerned. May God bless you as you stand by your Bible-based convictions.