Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Who's Presiding?

Saturday, May 14, 2011
Men (and a woman, Deborah) like Ehud, Samuel, Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, and Othniel served as judges.  Then men (whether good or bad) like Jehu, Omri, Solomon, Pekah, David, Josiah, Amon, Saul, and Uzziah served as kings.  A king and a judge ruled over Israel, but Jehovah was still supreme over them, so in biblical terms, what's the difference between a judge and a king?

Sincerely,
Don’t Judge Me

Dear Don’t Judge Me,

Kings ruled the nation; judges delivered the nation.  When the kings were instituted, it was because the people wanted a king to guide them in place of God (1 Sam 8:4-7).  Kings were in total control of the laws, military, and executive powers of the nation.

On the other hand, the judges were sent by God to deliver the nation but didn’t necessarily rule the nation.  Take Samson for example.  Samson never functioned as a legal guardian or lawgiver for Israel, but he was sent by God to deliver the nation from Philistine oppression (Judg 13:5).  We often get confused because when we think of the word ‘judge’, we think of someone presiding over a courtroom, but that wasn’t what the Old Testament judges were.  The judges of the Old Testament were sent to bring judgment upon the nations that were oppressing Israel.  When Israel was suffering and cried to God, God sent them judges to deliver them from suffering (Judg 2:16).

 

Back On The Path

Friday, May 13, 2011
I am the one from "A Chosen Lifestyle".   First of all, I want to say I’m sorry for asking another question; I truly am, but I have nowhere else to turn.  I went to church the other night for the first time in a long time, and I asked God to change my heart; I begged and asked for forgiveness.  Here is the problem: I "fell" again and sinned against God.  I’m taking your advice, and I refuse to give up; however, at this point, I’m not entirely sure what to do or think.  I really want to change for God, and I honestly thought I had succeeded, but now I’m back to square one, but I know God doesn't work like that.  I just need some advice from a good christian.

Sincerely,
Turning The Tide

Dear Turning The Tide,

You don’t need to apologize for asking for help; Bible answers are exactly what we designed this website for.  In the future, it will probably be useful if you gave us an e-mail address to respond to because anonymous questions are hard to give quick and consistent responses to – if you are concerned about keeping your anonymity, just create a free e-mail account dedicated for this type of correspondence.

It sounds like you are already giving yourself the right advice.  Pr 24:16 is the key to long-term success over addictions – keep getting back up.  You can learn something from every failure… something that can help you succeed next time.  Look at the last time that you sinned in this area.  Where did things go wrong?  What would you do differently to prevent this from happening again?  Would you have called a friend for help?  Maybe you need to change something about your routine?  Pr 4:23 says that all the issues of life come from our heart – so examine yourself… what needs to happen differently, so you can succeed next time?  You know better than anyone else what triggers your behavior and where to start improving.

 

One True Church

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Some teach that there is only one church.  Is this true?  And if so, which church is the TRUE church... according to the Scriptures?

Sincerely,
The Truth And Nothing But The Truth

Dear The Truth And Nothing But The Truth,

The denominational world is confusing… exactly the opposite of God’s church (1 Cor 14:33).  The term ‘denomination’ comes from the idea that a church believes that it is a subgroup of a larger religious body.  Lutherans worship and teach differently than Episcopalians, Catholics, Presbyterians, etc., but they all believe themselves to be christians – this is wrong.  Jesus said that there is only one path to heaven (Matt 7:14) and there is only one true church (Eph 4:4-6).  Denominationalism teaches that how you act and worship are matters of opinion, but Jesus said that how you act and worship are matters of truth (Jhn 4:24).  The only way to find the one true church and avoid denominationalism is to find a congregation that simply teaches what the Bible says – no creeds, no opinions, no personal agendas.  If we truly love Christ, we will follow His commandments (1 Jn 5:2).

Everything a church does (worship, membership, how they teach to be saved, how they spend their money, even their name) needs to have Bible verses backing them up (1 Tim 3:15).  A church needs to be able to explain the reasons for why they do what they do (1 Pet 3:15).

Our congregation here in Monroe goes by the name ‘Monroe Valley church of Christ’ because ‘church of Christ’ is a Biblical name for a congregation (Rom 16:16).  We worship by singing (Col 3:16), studying the Bible (1 Tim 4:13), praying (2 Thess 3:1), taking communion (only on Sundays – Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection (also only on Sundays – 1 Cor 16:1-2).  We teach that you must hear God’s Word (Rom 10:17), believe God’s Word (Jhn 3:16), repent of your sins (Mk 6:12), confess Jesus as your Savior (Lk 12:8), and be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21).  We do all these things because they are practices found in the Bible.  If you want to be the Lord’s church, you just stick with what the Lord says.

There are other congregations like ours scattered across the country and the world.  Most of them use the name ‘church of Christ’, but then again, many churches that use that name aren’t faithful.  A Bible name for a church isn’t enough to make it faithful.  We have helped others, like yourself, looking for New Testament Christianity find faithful congregations in their area by contacting other preachers and christians that we know.  We’d be happy to do the same for you.  If you feel comfortable, just let us know what general area you live in, and we will try and get you in touch with a congregation that lives like your Bible reads (our e-mail is askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org).  It is frustrating, confusing, and exasperating to deal with denominationalism.  Thanks be to God that there is a better option!

 

What Is Faith?

Thursday, May 12, 2011
What is faith?

Sincerely,
Faithful?

Dear Faithful,

Faith is belief, trust, and loyalty to something or someone.  If you have faith in your friend, you trust them and are loyal to them through thick and thin.  If you have faith in your car, you believe that it will run smoothly even though you aren’t a mechanic and aware of everything going on under the hood.  Faith always involves trusting something you can’t see or control (Heb 11:1).  You have faith in your friend’s judgment to give you directions; you place your faith in the author of a manual or instruction book to help you properly assemble a piece of furniture; you have faith in a traffic light to properly change colors and not direct you into cross-traffic.

In the case of God, our faith is built upon His Word (Rom 10:17).  We trust God’s Bible to guide our lives and direct our steps (Ps 119:105).  Our faith in God is shown in our actions – it is impossible to have faith without action (Jas 2:17).  If someone says they believe in God, but they don’t obey His Bible, they are no better off than the demons (Jas 2:19).  Faith in God is a lifestyle.  We hear what His Word says, and then we act upon that command.  After all, if we love God, we will keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15).

 

Vicious Videos

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Is God okay with us watching movies like Saw or similar stuff?

Sincerely,
Moviegoer

Dear Moviegoer,

There is some debate to be had over seeing a movie that is rated for gratuitous violence.  At the very least, christians should be very, very cautious about viewing anything rated ‘R’ (a rating that most horror movies receive).  According to the MPAA, an ‘R’ rating on a movie is received for one (or a combination) of five things:

  1. Adult themes and activities.  This is a generic listing, but it is fair to say that this content almost always involves subject matter that is inappropriate for anyone with morals.  ‘Adult themes’ are almost always synonymous with ‘sinful behavior’.
  2. Hard language
  3. Intense or persistent violence
  4. Sexually-oriented nudity
  5. Drug Abuse

When a christian looks at that list (and at least one of those things MUST be present to receive an ‘R’ rating), it should explain why ‘R’ rated movies can be such a bad thing.  Christians are to dwell upon things that are pure, wholesome, good, and holy – not worldly filth (Php 4:8).  When we dwell upon evil things, like what is found in ‘R’ rated movies, we set ourselves up for spiritual failure and death.  Jesus Christ wasn’t “culturally relevant” in the sense of being like others.  Jesus abhorred worldliness.  The Bible tells us to flee immorality and, instead, to live soberly and righteously in this present world (Tit 2:12).  Everyone must make their own decisions regarding what movies to watch and what movies to avoid, but before you go to that next horror movie, ask yourself, “What am I putting into my mind?”

 

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