Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Sunday Scheduling

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The Corinthian church had a lot of problems that Paul had to correct.  One of their deviations from the truth was the way they were taking the Lord's Supper (or communion).  1 Corinthians 11 tells us they weren't treating it as the holy memorial that it is.  In verses 21 and 33 of that chapter, they were rebuked for not waiting for each other or, in other words, for taking it at different times.  It seems like a tradition in the church to have communion more than once on the first day of the week.  Is this a scriptural practice we have authority for, or is this a problem we should change?  I hope my question was clear.

Sincerely,
Multiple Problems?

Dear Multiple Problems,

This is an issue that many good brethren wrestle with.  Does a congregation have the right to offer the Lord’s Supper twice on Sunday?  Is it biblical for a local church to offer communion in the morning and then offer it again at a Sunday evening service?  We believe so, but we also believe that there is room for disagreement on this issue, and if a brother or sister doesn’t feel comfortable with a second serving of the communion, they should abstain.  We must all seek to serve God with a clear conscience (1 Tim 1:19), and if you can’t do something in faith, you shouldn’t do it (Rom 14:23).  Having said that, here are our thoughts on the subject of offering the Lord’s Supper twice on Sunday.

The Bible never tells us the amount of times that a congregation must offer the Lord’s Supper; it only tells us that it must be taken by the saints sometime on Sunday (Acts 20:7).  This leaves us a twenty-four hour period in which a christian can gather with the church and fulfill this command.  The specific times we choose to meet are an expediency… simply a matter of preference.

1 Cor 11:33 says that a congregation must “wait for one another”.  1 Cor 11:21-22 clarifies that the problem in Corinth was that they were eating the Lord’s Supper as a common meal and not waiting to do it solemnly together.  The problem in Corinth was that they were eating communion for the purpose of filling their bellies instead of remembering the Lord’s death (1 Cor 11:34).  The goal of waiting for one another was to provide a scheduled time to fulfill this command together.  It didn’t mean that every christian needed to be present (otherwise, a congregation couldn’t partake of the Lord’s Supper unless every member was accounted for), and it didn’t mean that they couldn’t schedule multiple times to wait for one another.  It simply meant that they had to treat the Lord’s Supper as a holy and spiritual meal of remembrance.  The church is responsible for doing things in a decent and orderly way (1 Cor 14:40).  Offering the Lord’s Supper in the morning and evening fulfills that command for order and decency.  The congregation is providing specific orderly times for members to fulfill their command to gather with the church and take the Lord’s Supper.

The church is commanded to provide opportunity for christians to take the Lord’s Supper with the church, but the individual is responsible for taking it.  If a congregation offers the Lord’s Supper in both the morning and evening, it is doing its job – providing opportunity.  It is the same as the command to take up a collection.  Most congregations provide opportunity for individuals to give financially at both the morning and evening services – which matches exactly with the command in 1 Cor 16:1-2.  No one bats an eye when a congregation offers the collection basket twice.  In fact, we would probably be shocked if a congregation refused to take someone’s contribution because they missed morning services.  Yet, this is exactly the same as offering the Lord’s Supper twice.   It is a matter of expediency.  When a congregation offers the collection and the Lord’s Supper at both services, it is simply trying to provide opportunity for all (even those who were unable to attend in the morning) to fulfill God’s commands to give and take the Lord’s Supper on Sunday.

Weekend Warrior

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I want to join a new church, but this church has church on Saturday and Bible study on Tuesday; I thought church must be on Sunday and Bible study on Wednesday, or does it matter?

Sincerely,
Calendar Keeper

Dear Calendar Keeper,

We can study the Bible whenever we want (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, etc.), but the church is commanded to come together on Sunday to worship.  Acts 20:7 gives us the example that the church took the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, and 1 Cor 16:1-2 shows us that the church should take up a contribution on Sunday.  The church must come together on Sunday to do these two things if nothing else.  We have further evidence that the church used Sunday as a day of worship because John used the term “the Lord’s day” in Rev 1:10.  Numerous early christian writers and historians refer to Sunday as the Lord’s day.  Sunday is a day that God has set aside for christians to come together, remember Jesus’ sacrifice, contribute to the work, sing songs of praise, pray, and study God’s Word.  Any church that doesn’t meet on Sundays isn’t taking the Bible seriously.

Ghost Stories

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Are there really such things as ghosts?

Sincerely,
Spooked

Dear Spooked,

The idea of ghosts cannot be found in the Bible.  Ghosts are supposedly the souls or spirits of those who have died.  These dead souls are presumed to be wandering the Earth interacting with the living from time to time.  The Bible tells us what happens when we die, and there is no Halloween-ish spiriting involved.  Jesus told the story of a wicked rich man and a faithful poor man named Lazarus in Lk 16:19-31.  When these two men died, the rich man immediately woke up in torment, and Lazarus was escorted to Paradise (Lk 16:22-23).  This is what happens when the righteous and the wicked die.  There is no wandering or ghostly haunting.  In fact, the rich man was specifically told that the dead aren’t sent back to the Earth to preach or effect the course of events here (Lk 16:27-31).  We die, and then we wait to face the judgment (Heb 9:27).

Saved By Choice

Monday, February 21, 2011
Is it true that billions and billions won’t be saved?  Someone told me more people will be sent down than up.

Sincerely,
Worried

Dear Worried,

Jesus said, “Enter in by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are they that enter in.” (Matt 7:13)  Most people will not be saved because most people don’t place their faith in the Lord.  We cannot be saved by our own strength.  Jesus is the way of salvation (Jhn 14:6).  God desires that all be saved (Jhn 3:16), but we must seek Him (Heb 11:6).

A House Divided

Sunday, February 20, 2011
I am a teen who grew up in the church, and both my parents were converted when they were teenagers.  Their marriage is in a pitiful and sad state.  If they weren't christians, I have no doubt in my mind they would have divorced long ago.  The main problem that I see is simply that my mother has become strongly embittered against my father, and she acts on her emotions; too often in an ungodly way.  She yells, slams doors, accuses, lies, and other things.  She scrutinizes everything about him and truly defines Solomon's teachings of "a rottenness in his bones" and her contentions "are a continual dripping."

I feel as a fellow heir that I have a responsibility to intervene and help resolve all the sinful behavior.  The roles in the house may be upside down, but I still want to honor my parents.  How do I balance the two?  Is there something I can say or do to help end the misery for everyone?

Sincerely,
Troubled Teen

Dear Troubled Teen,

There is a unique pain that is felt as we watch loved ones struggle through life… but sometimes ‘watch’ is exactly what we have to do.  Having personally spent many sleepless nights because of our own parents’ marital struggles – our heart goes out to you.  We wish we could tell you that there is an easy solution, and if you step in and get involved, it will change everything, but that isn’t true.  Sometimes, getting involved can make things worse.  Pr 26:17 says that getting in the middle of someone else’s disagreement is like grabbing a dog’s ears.  You’ll get bit every time.  Just because you feel you have the solution and see the situation clearer than your parents, doesn’t mean that they would be receptive to hearing it.  The most likely scenario is that you would add fuel to an already burning fire.

Another thing to consider is that your advice isn’t likely to be accepted by either parent because you are their child.  Jesus said that a prophet has respect except amongst his own family and in his own house (Mk 6:4).  Time has not made you equals with your parents, and you aren’t in a position to help them – it just isn’t the way life works.  This doesn’t mean you are wrong or that you are seeing things incorrectly – it just means they won’t listen because you are the child and they are the parents.  Whether or not you are correct is irrelevant.

But all of this doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do.  Jesus’ preaching didn’t affect his family, but his lifestyle did.  Multiple times in the Bible it says that Mary saw Jesus’ behavior and “treasured these things in her heart” (Lk 2:19, Lk 2:51).  Jesus’ example made a lasting impact upon His family.  When you see your parents fighting, calmly walk away.  If they ask why – tell them it hurts you.  When you have a chance to show respect to your father and love to your mother, do it.  As parents, we can tell you that mothers and fathers notice these acts of selflessness and maturity in our children more than they ever know.  Many parents have become better people because of the example of their children.  You can’t preach to them, but you can live a sermon every day.  And most of all, remember that regardless of what your parent’s marriage looks like, it isn’t your fault and it isn’t your burden.  You are only responsible for you, and someday if you get married, you can apply the lessons you are learning now to change your family tree so that your children don’t need to feel what you are feeling now.

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