Ask Your Preacher
Why do preachers that live by the gospel give money to the gospel? And are they required by God to give as others are commanded to give?
Where’s The Wallet?
Dear Where’s The Wallet,
Congregations are allowed to support their preachers financially (1 Cor 9:14), but preachers are still just men. The rules for giving back to the Lord are no different for preachers than they are for any other christian. God tells us all to be cheerful givers (2 Cor 9:7) and to give as we have prospered every first day of the week (1 Cor 16:1-2). This is true for preachers just like everyone else.
In fact, this principle was even true in the Old Testament. The Levitical priesthood (not that preachers are priests!) made their living from the offerings received at the temple, but they were still required to tithe just like everyone else (Num 18:26).
I have gone to church all my life. I have never had an issue with my faith; I’ve always believed, but recently, with a lot of negativity towards religion and science explaining everything, I feel like I am losing my faith rather quickly. Do you have any words of wisdom that can help me believe truly again?
Need To Believe
Dear Need To Believe,
Everyone faces times of doubt in their life; the key is to strengthen the weaknesses in our resolve. Like the man who cried out, “I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24), all christians must recognize that faith must grow and increase over time.
Faith is the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). We can’t see God, but there is plenty of evidence that He exists. The whole creation cries out as evidence of God’s existence (Rom 1:20). As science and our knowledge of the natural world have increased, the proof of God’s existence has increased as well. Books like Has God Spoken? by A.O. Schnabel, Case For A Creator by Lee Strobel, and Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell are excellent resources that make clear the existence of the God of the Bible. Take the time to fill your mind with information from sources like those mentioned above, and you will find yourself more confident in no time (Php 4:8).
God tells us to come and “reason together with Him” (Isa 1:18). There are entire scientific communities such as Answers In Genesis that are dedicated to the study of the science that proves God’s existence. There are reasons and evidences that prove that God exists, and it is surprising how few people ever talk about those evidences. We have an entire category in our archives dedicated to evidences that God exists and the Bible is His Word because we here at AYP are so frequently asked about that topic.
Not only is it possible to prove God exists, it is possible to prove that He authored the Bible. The Bible is the most unique book in the world. The Bible is scientifically accurate (though written long before modern science), historically accurate (down to the last archeological detail), prophetically accurate (the Bible predicts events down to the smallest detail hundreds of years in advance), and it never contradicts itself (even though the Bible was written over the course of hundreds of years by dozens of different writers). In a world of rare writings, the Bible stands alone. For further details, read our post “Who Wrote The Bible?”.
There is no doubt that God exists – the evidence speaks for itself.
I have a question. I know the Bible says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Father, but it also says when Jesus comes back that the dead in Christ will rise first. So, if we have a new body like the Bible says, and we are already present with Christ after death, who is He going to raise if the spirit is already with Him? Or does the spirit stay with the body until the resurrection?
Out Of Body Inexperienced
Dear Out Of Body Inexperienced,
When Jesus returns, the dead in Christ will rise first (1 Thess 4:16), and their souls (which are currently in Paradise – Lk 23:43) will be united with their new spiritual bodies (1 Cor 15:51-53). When we die, our spirit is separated from our bodies (Jas 2:26). When Jesus returns, we will be given new bodies that will never see corruption.
Why did certain rules change when Jesus was around? Before Jesus, the evidence of God being present was the destruction and conquering of other religions, lands, and cities (along with some pretty amazing miracles). Some of the miracles were acts of God to actually destroy these other religions. When Jesus came around, He preached that people should love their enemies and focused His message toward their communities. This doesn't make sense. If Jesus was preaching the essence of God, and we are supposed to love our enemies, then why did God eradicate pagan religions using the Israelites? And why would He choose to use some of the people from these religions in His divine plan and lineage of Christ?
Dear Mixed Messages,
God did a lot of things in the Old Testament, and destroying pagan nations was only part of that picture. It is important to understand why God destroyed those nations. God was protecting the Israelites because they were His people, and when they faithfully served Him, He destroyed their enemies to protect them. It is important to understand that the Old Testament was a tutor to lead people to Christ (Gal 3:24-25). The Old Testament taught people about the gravity of sin, the justice of God, the sinfulness of man, and our need to place our faith in God. All of the Old Testament stands as an example of how God treats sin and how seriously we must take it. As we read the Old Testament, we get a clear picture of how much trouble we would all be in without forgiveness... but we also see that God tried time and time again to save people. In fact, the entire book of Jonah is about God sending a prophet to try and get the pagan city of Nineveh to turn away from their sin before it was too late. He also accepted the harlot Rahab when she turned from idolatry and joined the Israelites (Heb 11:31).
Jesus did teach that we should love our enemies, but He also preached railing judgments against wicked men (read Matt 23 for Jesus' feelings about the Pharisees). Jesus showed kindness to a penitent adulteress (Jhn 8:3-11), but He also made a whip and cast out all the moneychangers from the temple (Jhn 2:15). Jesus certainly taught love, but He also taught justice – the exact same things you see in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament and in the New, we see a consistency in God's character. The only difference is that Jesus brought forgiveness in a way that never could happen before He died on the cross.
Hello, I have a question about sacrifice. I have read where the Israelites had to make sacrifices on certain days to atone for their sins. I am also aware that the sacrifice of Jesus has made this unnecessary. But I do not understand how taking the best portion of your livelihood and burning it would atone for your sins. I also do not understand how Jesus' sacrifice atoned for all the sins of the world.
How does destroying the most precious things equal forgiveness from God? How does Jesus’ perfect sacrifice save us? What do these acts actually DO?
Dear Sacrificially Stymied,
The Jewish sacrifices of bulls and goats never did atone for sins (Heb 10:4); all they did was teach that forgiveness from sin came with a cost. God teaches us that when we sin, the wages of that sin are death (Rom 6:23). The Jews learned that lesson by making sin offerings. When the sinner laid their hand upon the head of the innocent animal, they symbolically transferred their sin to that beast (Lev 4:27-29). However, animal blood never was enough to truly pay for sin. It took the God’s Son’s blood to pay the price for our sin; only Deity’s blood was enough to cover the tremendous cost of sin (Heb 10:10).
Jesus had to sacrifice Himself to pay for our sins because God is both a merciful and a just God. By personally paying the price for our sins, God showed Himself to be both just and the justifier of the faithful (Rom 3:25-26). Like a father paying the price for his son’s mistakes, Jesus paid the price for our mistakes.