Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

DOCTRINE

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Escaping Temptation

Friday, June 05, 2015

One of my friends just left her husband for another man.  It has become a big problem between us.  She said that their "attraction was too great to deny."  She has always been somewhat of a flirt.  She says that it's just her nature.  I don't understand!  Would God make someone to be a natural cheat?  If so, do I have a "nature" that would make me do something wrong?

Sincerely, Instinctively Angry

Dear Instinctively Angry,

Your friend is using an age-old excuse for sin. There is no such thing as an “attraction too great to deny”… just people who wish to follow their lusts instead of their morals. God specifically states that He doesn’t allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear, and that there is ALWAYS a way of escape from sin (1 Cor 10:13).

We all have predispositions toward certain behaviors. Flirtatiousness, temper problems, laziness, depression, cowardliness, alcoholism, etc. are all temptations that pull stronger on some people than on others. You may never struggle with depression, but your temper may always be an issue for you. This is not an excuse for bad behavior, but simply a reality of life. Even as far back as Adam and Eve, God has not accepted excuses for sin (Gen 3:11-13). Your friend has chosen her own lusts over serving God. Instead of fighting against a predisposition towards flirtation, she succumbed to it. She had a choice, and she chose poorly (Gen 4:7).

What the Holy Spirit Does

Friday, May 29, 2015

     I know the Holy Spirit was responsible for getting the Bible (Jhn 14:26) to us via gifts of the Spirit (Heb 2:4), and I know He intercedes for us when we pray (Rom 8:26), but what other roles does the Holy Spirit actively play in our lives? 

Sincerely, I've Got Spirit, Yes I Do?

Dear I've Got Spirit, Yes I Do?,

     Since the Holy Spirit is God (1 Cor 2:11, Gen 1:2) just as much as Jesus and the Father are, He is capable of being involved in our lives in a variety of ways.  The Holy Spirit’s primary task was to bring the gospel to mankind.  As you mentioned, He is why we have the Bible, and that is how the majority of His impact is made upon mankind.  Here are some examples of things that the Holy Spirit does through the Word:

  1. He shows us God’s love for us (Rom 5:5).
  2. He teaches us how to be born again (Jhn 3:5).
  3. He dwells in our hearts (Rom 8:9) as we allow His words to lead us (Rom 8:14).
  4. He bears witness for the saved before men (Rom 8:16).
  5. He tells us what is on God’s mind (1 Cor 2:10).

     By inspiring the writers of the Bible, testifying of their divine authority by miracles, and preserving their words through all history, the Holy Spirit has made Christ’s sacrifice available to all of mankind.

     The Holy Spirit also actively does a few things that don’t directly relate to the Bible.

  1. He makes sure our prayers are understood (Rom 8:26).
  2. He intercedes for us with God (Rom 8:27).
  3. He acts as our guarantee from God of eternal blessings (2 Cor 5:5).  One way to think of this is that God sent Him to be with us- sort of like a downpayment on His promise to spend eternity with us in heaven.
  4. He grieves when we sin (Eph 4:30).

     There can be no doubt that the Holy Spirit is actively preserving and distributing God’s Word, watching over our lives with providential care, and intimately caring about how you live and where you will spend eternity.

Manly Matters

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Can a woman continue to teach a baptized christian boy after he is baptized?

Sincerely, Age Appropriate

Dear Age Appropriate,

Baptism doesn’t make you a man; it makes you a christian. The Scriptures are clear about a woman teaching a man – she can’t do it (1 Tim. 2:12). Your question doesn’t deal with a woman teaching a man. Instead, it is addressing when a male becomes a man. That issue is a much more difficult one because there is no exact answer. There are two parts to your question:

  1. When do we recognize a boy as a man?
  2. What should a congregation do in order to have harmony when a boy is baptized?

The first question is easily answered – I don’t know. The Scriptures never say. Society recognizes 18 as adult enough to be considered completely responsible for oneself. Even that is just an arbitrary number. In reality, every child matures at a different rate, and there is no magic moment of transition from childhood to adulthood. Everyone agrees a 10 year old is a child and a 20 year old is an adult, but it is the ages in between that leave us scratching our heads.

The second question is an issue of dealing with opinions. Realistically, when a young person is baptized, some will consider him or her an instant adult; others will recognize it as a decision that shows maturity but not adulthood. Consequently, in the case of a boy, a congregation will have some that feel he can no longer have a woman Bible class teacher, and others will think it is still appropriate. Both views are an opinion, and we can’t stand hard and fast on either view. Rom 14:13 says that in such cases, we should do whatever will not cause division or hurt anyone’s conscience. If the congregation is being torn apart by a woman teaching a newly baptized boy, put him in a different class with a male teacher. If a woman has been teaching him and no longer feels she can do it in clear conscience, she should be allowed to recuse herself as his teacher. No matter what, in issues of opinion, peace and edification should be sought above all else (Rom 14:19). Wisdom will have to be used to decide what is the best course in each circumstance.

Elders

Friday, May 22, 2015

What is the role of elders?  Can women be elders?  Why or why not?

Sincerely, Quality Control

Dear Quality Control,

Elders are the superintendents of a local congregation, and they are always men. The word elder is one title to describe the leaders of a local church. Other titles include 'overseer/bishop' (depending on translation – 1 Tim 3:1) and 'pastor' (Eph 4:11). The title of the job explains their role. They have the oversight of God’s people. That oversight only extends to one congregation (1 Pet 5:2), the local congregation that they are among. Each congregation has elders appointed in it (Acts 14:23).

Elders must meet strict requirements before they are appointed. Those qualifications can be found in 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Elders are always referred to by the pronouns 'he' and 'him' – thus making them men. Also, one of the qualifications is that they be 'a husband of one wife' (Titus 1:6) which makes it pretty clear we are talking about men. Elders also never serve alone.  All the churches in the Bible had multiple elders. Elders serve an important role of protecting, leading, and guiding the direction of a congregation. They will give an account for every christian in their congregation (Heb 13:17). A congregation should never take lightly the responsibility of appointing only completely qualified elders.

Confidently Saved

Monday, May 18, 2015

So you kind of went over this in your answer to the "Can I Lose My Salvation" question… but I was wondering about my own salvation. I fall into that other extreme where I feel like if I'm not perfect, I'm not saved. I've been praying for more trust in God and studying my Bible a lot more (which has been extremely helpful). However, I still feel even though I think that I will be saved (flaws and all) that I could be doing better. I fear that if I don't constantly keep this in mind and push myself to do better, I will be lost. I guess my question is this: is this a proper attitude, or do I need to work on my trust in God still when it comes to my salvation?  People always say you should be assured of your salvation, but how do you know if you are on the brink of being lost?  I guess I just wish there were definite parameters.

Sincerely, Confident, I think...

Dear Confident,

Your struggle is a normal one and is an issue of maturity over time. All christians begin their new lives with the fear of hell and God’s punishment (Pr 1:7)… this is a healthy thing. The church was encouraged to fear God, and they grew when they did (Acts 5:11, Acts 9:31). So fear isn’t a negative thing; it keeps us safe and spurs us to submit to God. But even though fear is the beginning of wisdom, it isn’t the end of it.

John states that fear begins to diminish as our relationship with God becomes more and more built upon love (1 John 4:18)… our love for Him and a growing appreciation of His love for us.

Yes, you must constantly push yourself to improve and grow (Heb 6:1-6). Remember, growing as a christian can become a joy and a pleasure (Matt 11:29). All parent/child relationships have an aspect of fear to them, but ultimately love is seen as the prevailing element in a healthy family dynamic. God is our father (Rom 8:15), and we are his children (1 John 3:1).

It takes maturity and time to appreciate the love of God. The greatest gift man has ever received was the sacrifice of God’s own Son (Jhn 3:16). It should not be any surprise that it takes time, study, and wisdom to appreciate how much God really wants you to spend eternity with Him. Don’t worry; even if you can’t decide whether you are going to heaven or not – it isn’t your decision anyway! Follow God’s commands to the best of your ability, and over time the confidence of your heart will grow, your confidence in your salvation will increase, and you will have more and more peace regarding your eternal home (1 John 3:18-20).

Displaying 206 - 210 of 386

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