Ask Your Preacher
Why do we take the Lord's Supper?
Dear Not Hungry,
Christ told us that whenever we take the Lord’s Supper, we should do it in remembrance of Him (Lk 22:19). In the book of Acts, we see how often the church observed the Lord’s Supper. In Acts 20:7, we see that christians ‘broke the bread’ in remembrance of Christ on Sundays. That is when they did it, so that is when we do it.
Paul says that we are to take the Lord’s Supper when the church is gathered together (1 Cor 11:20). Taking the Lord’s Supper is an act of worship done by every congregation of the Lord each Sunday. When we take a look at all the teaching on the Lord’s Supper, we get the truth (Ps 119:160). Christ commands that we do it in remembrance of Him (1 Cor 11:23-28), the church gives us the example of doing it on the first day of the week, and Paul teaches that we should do it when we are assembled as a church.
What does the Bible say about present-day demon possession?
Afraid Of The Dark
Dear Afraid Of The Dark,
Evil spirits are real, but they were cast out and their powers greatly reduced by Christ and the apostles. Demon possession ended not long after the days of Christ. Jesus made it clear that one of His jobs was to bind the devil and take His strength away by casting out his demons (Matt 12:28-29). When Jesus’ disciples had come back from their evangelism trips and related to Him that they had cast out many demons, Jesus told them that they were defeating Satan by getting rid of Satan’s demonic minions (Lk 10:17-18). When Jesus and His disciples cast out demons, they did it permanently (Lk 8:30-33) and bound Satan by their acts. We no longer have to deal with such overt attacks by the devil because he has been bound by Christ’s sacrifice (Rev. 20:2). Demon possession no longer exists; the devil must use subtler methods to deceive us now.
Where is the command, example, or necessary inference for a church owning property?
Book, Chapter, Verse
Dear Book, Chapter, Verse,
Every command that you find in the Bible has specific and general qualities to it. For example, when God told Noah to build the ark, He told Noah to use a specific kind of wood (gopher wood – Gen 6:14) and build the ark to specific dimensions (Gen 6:15-16), but He left the details of how to cut, fasten, and construct the ark up to Noah. It would have been wrong for Noah to use oak or birch, and it would have been wrong for Noah to change the dimensions of the ark, but aside from that, Noah had freedom to use his own wisdom in the engineering of the ark. The things that God was specific on, Noah had to be specific on to… but the things God was general about, Noah had freedom to decide for himself.
Another way of saying this is that anything required to fulfill a command is inherent within the command. This means that if I ask someone to fill my car with gasoline, by default, I have given them permission to drive my car and take it to a gas station of their choosing. Why? Because driving my car and going to a gas station are necessary to fulfill that command, and I didn’t tell them which gas station I wanted, so I’ve left that to their discretion.
Both of these examples lead us back to your question. The command that gives a congregation the authority to own property can be found in Heb 10:24-25 and 1 Cor 14:26. In both those verses, the church is commanded to assemble. We are told that we must assemble, or we will be displeasing to God… but we aren’t told where to assemble; that detail is left to our discretion. We could meet in homes (if we had ones that were big enough), we could meet in a park (if it were legal and weather permitting), or we could buy some property and a building to use. All of those options would be permissible, and each congregation has the freedom to decide where they wish to assemble because God has commanded us to meet regularly, but He left the details to us.
What are the duties of deaconesses that serve in the church?
Lady In Waiting
Dear Lady In Waiting,
There is no official position within the church of ‘deaconess’. The only time the word ‘deaconess’ is used is in Rom 16:1… and that is only in a couple of translations. Most translations simply translate the word ‘servant’ because that is what it means. A ‘deacon’ is a ‘servant’. The word is used numerous times throughout the New Testament and shouldn’t be viewed as a special position unless the text specifically declares it as such. For example, 1 Tim 3:8-13 discusses a type of servant (deacon) that has specific qualifications and authorities within the church. The context of that passage shows us that it is a specific type of servant/deacon. In Rom 16:1, we don’t have that sort of distinction. Phoebe is simply a christian that served others with what talents and strengths she had; it wasn’t an office within the church.
Where I meet with fellow christians, I have observed the following pattern: fifteen to twenty minutes prior to the start of class, members will be gathering, talking, and socializing. During the fifteen-minute break, there is more gathering, talking, and socializing. After the sermon, for minutes to an hour (or more), there is once again more gathering, talking, and socializing. Comparing the use of the building:
- 1 - 1.5 hours socializing
- 1.5 hours worship
Should this be concerning? How can we be more consistent?
There is nothing wrong with the pattern you have described – it perfectly matches what you would expect from a healthy, vibrant, and loving family of saints. God tells us that when we assemble to worship that all things should be done decently and in order (1 Cor 14:40). That means that we need to plan a time to meet and be diligent to organize services in a way that is cohesive, beneficial, and above all, biblically accurate. Your congregation’s leadership has decided that in order to do those things to the best of their ability, it takes one and a half hours.
Whenever you create a routine, there will be people that show up early to be on time (a sign of commitment) and people who stay after to take advantage of the time with others (a sign of devotion to others). What you have described is a sign that not only are people committed to attending, they are committed enough to show up fifteen to twenty minutes early, show up for both classes and services, and remain afterwards to spend time with others because the people matter so much to them. This is exactly the sort of attitude you would expect of those who are faithfully committed to the Lord and His people (Heb 10:24-25).