Ask Your Preacher
According to Hebrews 6:4-6, is there no hope for someone who has fallen out of the church to come back to God?
Looking For Hope
Dear Looking For Hope,
Heb. 6:4-6 says that it is impossible for others to renew to repentance a brother who has fallen away. It is always possible to come back to the Lord after falling away (1 Jn 1:9), but when someone has already been enlightened by the truth (Heb 6:4) and heard the Word of God (Heb 6:4), there isn’t any new teaching that can sway him from living a wicked life. If someone falls away from Christ, it means their heart has been hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3:13), and it is up to that individual to soften their own heart and return to the Lord.
I don't belong to a church. I grew up in church but stopped going, but I still seek God every day; I always look for Him. And sometimes I dream, and He's in my dreams, guiding me, telling me He's taking care of me from this day forward. And in my most recent dream, He let me into heaven, but I never really saw His face. Is He talking to me?
Dear Hearing Voices,
If we want to know God’s desire for our life, we must use the Bible to get our instructions. Faith comes from the Word (Rom 10:17), and the Bible contains all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). If we want to understand what God wants for us, we can find the truth in the sum of His Word (Ps 119:160). Prophecies and visions are no longer given to people directly (1 Cor 13:8). Instead, God speaks to us through the teachings of His Son (Heb 1:1). It is normal for our emotions and desires to send us conflicting messages; that is exactly why God tells us to not trust ourselves (Pr 3:5).
Now let’s address the issue of not belonging to a church. The Bible teaches that we shouldn’t forsake the assembly (Heb 10:24-25). God designed the church so that each individual would be strengthened by the power of the whole (Eph 4:16). God never wanted christians to try and serve Him without the support of a local church; that is why He commanded the church to assemble. It is impossible to do God’s work without being a part of a local church. If you would like help finding a faithful congregation in your area, e-mail us at email@example.com or read “Finding A Church” for biblical parameters for finding a congregation.
How does God talk to us? I have been a christian for several years now; I pray to Him everyday; I read my Bible and go to church, but I do not hear God. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
Dear Feeling Deaf,
God speaks to us through His Word. If we want to know God’s desire for our life, we must use the Bible to get our instructions. Faith comes from the Word (Rom 10:17), and the Bible contains all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). If we want to understand what God wants for us, we can find the truth in the sum of His Word (Ps 119:160). Prophecies and visions are no longer given to people directly (1 Cor 13:8). Instead, God speaks to us through the teachings of His Son (Heb 1:1). It is normal for our emotions and desires to send us conflicting messages; that is exactly why God tells us to not trust ourselves or any "voice" that some churches tell us to listen for (Pr 3:5). Trust God’s Word, and it will be a lamp to your feet (Ps 119:105).
When the Bible doesn't directly condemn something, but we are left with applying principles to determine whether the thing is right or wrong, whom are we putting our trust in? Do I trust myself that I have correctly applied the principles, and how will I know?
Dear Conceptual Thinker,
When we take Bible verses and combine them together to understand larger principles, we are doing exactly what God intends for us to do (Ps 119:160). In Acts 15, we see the apostles do that very thing. When the issue came up regarding the circumcision of Gentiles, the apostles listened to the evidence (Acts 15:12), studied the Old Testament Scriptures (Acts 15:15-18), and came to a conclusion (Acts 15:19).
God tells us to be wise in that which is good (Matt 10:16). The way we gain that wisdom is by studying God’s Word and applying it to the best of our abilities. When we do that, we are placing our faith in God.
Where does Israel currently stand with the Lord? I ask this because many christians support Israel. Some of that support is for political reasons; Israel is an allied nation and a democracy, but most of the support comes from their belief that God still holds Israel as His chosen people. Some of this belief, I know, stems from Premillennialism and the belief that the Lord will raise up Israel in the end times. The popular Left Behind series pushed this concept. I do not subscribe to that view, so you don't need to respond to that belief. I can't help but to believe that God has had a role in the history of Israel. No other culture has withstood the destruction of their cultural center and identity (AD 70 siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple), been scattered, persecuted, almost wiped out, and managed to come back and re-establish their nation and culture.
So my question is: does God still hold Israel in His good graces? Or is He just protecting them out of His obligation to Abraham? Or is He protecting them at all?
Dear History Buff,
The nation of Israel lost God's protection when they rejected God's Son. Jesus says that christians are His royal priesthood and chosen race (1 Pet 2:9). Under the Old Testament, the Jewish people were God’s nation (Deut 7:6). The Jewish nation was warned that if they rejected God’s Son, they would be rejecting God, and God would make a new nation out of those who believed in Christ (Jesus explained this to the Jews in the parable of the vineyard – Lk 20:9-19). In that parable, Jesus also explained that the Jewish nation would be destroyed and abandoned by God (Lk. 20:15-16). The vast majority of Jews didn’t believe in Jesus, and therefore, they never became a part of Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus’ chosen people are those who love Him and keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15). The Jewish people rejected God because they would rather have their traditions than God’s Son (Mk 7:9).
Now, it is true that there is a nation called Israel today, but just because they occupy the same territory doesn’t mean that the Jewish nation that was destroyed in 70 AD has been re-established. The current nation of Israel has none of the things that made it special – it has no high priest, no priesthood, no Levites, no temple, and no record of genealogies to properly rebuild tribal lineages. It would be impossible for Israel to even follow the commands given by God in the Old Testament. Modern Israel is kind of like tearing down Buckingham Palace and then putting a double-wide trailer on the same property – just because you call it ‘Buckingham’, doesn’t mean it is. The name ‘Israel’ doesn’t make it the same nation.