Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

WORSHIP

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Annoying Prayers

Saturday, August 04, 2012
Does God want us to ask Him for things over and over or just once and leave it with him?

Sincerely, Don't Want To Bother Him

Dear Don't Want To Bother Him, He wants you to ask over and over - until He gives you an answer.  David prayed vehemently for the life of his child until the child died (2 Sam 12:22-23).  Paul prayed for his sickness to be removed three times until God told him to accept the pain (2 Cor 12:8-9).  Cornelius' prayers were constantly before the Lord until Peter was sent (Acts 10:4-5).  Even our Lord prayed in the garden repeatedly that He might not have to die on the cross (Matt 26:39).  The key in all these circumstances was that the requests ceased when God answered. Once God made His decision apparent, whether it be yes or no, acceptance began. God never gets tired of hearing from His children.  Christians are to constantly seek Him in prayer.  The most direct example of this is Christ's parable of the unjust judge in Lk 18:1-5.  Christ taught that parable so that "men ought always to pray, and not to grow weary".  God wants to hear from His people.  So don't stop asking for help, He is listening.

Sacraments

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Did the first century church celebrate special events that commemorated each person's journey of faith?  In several Christian denominations, there are events like that called 'sacraments'.  I am wondering specifically about the sacrament of marriage and how it fits into the first century church and also what the Bible says is proper practice for this type of event.

Sincerely, Practices Made Perfect

Dear Practices Made Perfect,

The Bible doesn’t have any sacraments – but it does teach there are some important events in a christian’s life.The term ‘sacrament’ is not a Biblical word - it is a Catholic one.The Catholic Encyclopedia describes ‘sacrament’ thusly:

Noun, a visible sign of an inward grace, esp. one of the solemn Christian rites considered to have been instituted by Jesus Christ to symbolize or confer grace: the sacraments of the Protestant churches are baptism and the Lord's Supper; the sacraments of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches are baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, matrimony, penance, holy orders, and extreme unction. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Using that definition, we could loosely say a sacrament is equivalent to an event that is commanded by God for every christian to partake in.There are some scheduled events like that in the Bible:

  • Baptism to become a christian (Rom 6:4)
  • weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7)
  • weekly contribution (1 Cor 16:1)

These are the only things even remotely close to a ‘sacrament’ (although that still isn’t a Biblical term) ever seen in the New Testament church.Marriage wouldn’t be on that list because marriage is not required of every christian.

This does not mean marriage isn’t instituted by God.  It is - as early as Adam and Eve (Gen 2:24).God has never laid down specific rules for the marriage ceremony.  He has left those details up to individual cultures.God’s concern has always been about how we act within the sacred bonds of matrimony (Col 3:18-19).  He leaves the 'wedding feast' to our discretion.

Nothing Left To Say

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Is it in God’s Word to pray for people who have died?

Sincerely,
Funereal Friend

Dear Funereal Friend,

1 Jn 5:16 talks about not praying for a sin that leads to death, but that doesn’t really deal with dead people; it pertains to people who are purposefully turning their backs on the Lord.  We are told not to request that God forgive people who aren’t seeking to live faithfully.

Your question deals with people that are already dead, and that is an entirely different issue.  Heb 9:27 says that people die and then face the judgment.  There is no room for someone’s fate to be changed once they die.  If your goal through prayer is to make it so someone who already died can go to heaven instead of hell, that won’t work.

Stuck On Saturday

Sunday, July 29, 2012
     We were having a discussion at work with regards to which day is the Sabbath day, and what we picked up on Google is that Saturday is the Sabbath day, and if so, we would really like to know why it is now on a Sunday and which verse in the Bible states that Saturday is the Sabbath day.  Thanks for your time in educating us in the Word of the Lord.

Sincerely,
Weekend Wonderer

Dear Weekend Wonderer,

Saturday is the Sabbath day… but Christians don’t have to worry about keeping the Sabbath.  The word ‘sabbath’ means ‘rest’.  The Sabbath day was a day that the nation of Israel was told to rest, stop working, and make holy to the Lord (Ex 31:15).  This rule was so strict that a man was once stoned for collecting firewood on Saturday (Num 15:32-36).  However, this was a Jewish command, not a Christian one.  The Sabbath was part of the Old Testament law – a law that Christians are no longer under (Gal 3:23-25).  We are specifically told not to let anyone bind the Sabbath on us (Col 2:16).  Christians worship Christ on the first day of the week – Sunday (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:1-2).  If you’d like more information on the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, we have a video tutorial on the subject here.

A Lack Of Slacks

Thursday, July 26, 2012
     Do some churches have a "dress code" for men who stand in front for prayers, etc.?  Our church has many men wearing old t-shirts and shorts and going to the front!  I feel it is disgraceful; what do you think?  We also have women wearing the same thing.  I don’t believe our preacher likes it, but he is an elder, and it has not been addressed in the elders’ notes.  Just wondering what other churches do.  Thanks.  I enjoy this site.

Sincerely,
Attire Aware

Dear Attire Aware,

Some elderships do ask the men who are in public worship roles to have a certain level of formality to their dress; others leave it up to the individual to assess their attire appropriately when leading.  There isn’t a right or wrong way to handle the issue, but there are some definite principles that should be considered.

The Bible is clear that we shouldn’t honor a rich man that can afford to buy fine suits over a poor man that has more humble attire (Jas 2:1-4).  Our judgment should never be based upon such things.

However, the Bible also states that we should serve God with reverence and awe (Heb 12:28).  Financial concerns aside, how we choose to dress often reflects our attitude toward the occasion.  If someone shows up to worship God in the same clothes they would wear to paint their house or work on their car… that says something.  We take great pains to present ourselves respectable before men; we ought to think the same way when approaching God.  Once again, if all you can afford is a pair of old jeans, that is one thing… but most folks in America have other options.

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