Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

WORSHIP

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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.

Church Unplugged

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
     What place, if any, does technology serve to aid in preaching God's Word?  Recently, our preacher has been using short videos in his sermons to make his point.  This is the first time I've ever seen this after over three decades of attending the church of Christ, which is why I am curious and a bit skeptical.  Thank you in advance for your wisdom on this matter!

Sincerely,
Wireless

Dear Wireless,

Technology isn’t wrong, but it must be used responsibly.  Webster’s defines ‘technology’ as ‘machinery and equipment developed from scientific knowledge’.  At one point, all the aids we take for granted today were new technology (i.e. song books, chalkboards, whiteboards, overhead projectors, digital projectors, microphones, etc.), and with every technological change, people have always had a sense of discomfort because we are all creatures of habit.  However, the discomfort isn’t created because of scriptural issues; it is there because of our personal comforts and routines.  As one person said, “We like what we like.”  Jesus used a boat as a preaching aid (Mk 4:1), and Jesus even used His miraculous abilities as teaching tools (Matt 21:19-21).  What tools we have at our disposal, we have the right to use for teaching.  There isn’t anything wrong with them.

However, that doesn’t give a preacher a blanket check to go crazy!  The Bible says that just because you can do something doesn’t mean it is wise to do so (1 Cor 10:23).  A teacher is held accountable for what he teaches, and he is held to a very strict standard (Jas 3:1).  Your preacher is accountable for whatever is on these videos that he is showing.  It is pretty difficult to find videos that are doctrinally sound (before we started making them on YouTube, we did a lot of looking!), and if he isn’t careful with the material, it can spread to false teaching quite easily.  The issue isn't technology; it is the proper wisdom in applying it.

Proper Petition

Thursday, July 19, 2012
     How do I know if God hears my prayers or if I am even praying right?

Sincerely,
Praying For Answers

Dear Praying For Answers,

The Scriptures teach that there is a right way and a wrong way to pray.  Who is praying and how they pray matters.  God says that a righteous man’s prayers do a great deal of good (Jas 5:16).  That would by default mean that an unrighteous man’s prayers wouldn’t do much, if any, good at all.  God told Israel that their ungodly lifestyles meant that He wouldn’t hear their prayers at all! (Isa 1:15)  There are other things that will stop your prayers from being heard:

  1. Treating your spouse badly (1 Pet 3:7)
  2. Praying for “show” (Lk 20:47)
  3. Praying selfishly (Jas 4:3)
  4. Praying without gratitude (Col 4:2)

There is no doubt that the Bible teaches that we should examine ourselves before approaching God in prayer.  A wrong attitude or lifestyle can seriously jeopardize our prayers effectiveness.  The flip is also true though!  Proper attitudes and behavior are rewarded:

  1. Asking for wisdom (Jas 1:5)
  2. Consistency (1 Thess 5:17)
  3. Godly living (Jas 5:16)
  4. Asking without doubt (Jas 1:6)

When we are constantly praying, trusting in God’s strength to answer, humbly seeking his wisdom, and living lives that befit God’s servants, we can expect powerful results!  Prayer is perhaps one of the greatest tools in a Christian’s arsenal (perhaps also one of the least utilized).  The Bible is how God speaks to us; prayer is how we speak to Him.  Just like a child asking their parent for a privilege – how we approach God makes all the difference.

Work Worth Doing

Monday, July 09, 2012
     I have a friend who wants to leave my church, but I think she really needs it. She thinks a lot of the people there (mostly the youth) are fake and gossipy and says it "turns her off for God."  I don't blame her.  She always wants to leave as soon as service is over.  How can I help her?

Sincerely,
Seeing Her Waver

Dear Seeing Her Waver,

Christianity is work… that is exactly why a lot of people don’t obey God.  God tells us we must hear and do what His Word says (Jas 1:22).  We do what we love, and we do things for those we love.  If we love God, we will keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15).  It is a myth that all Christians love to go to services and love to read their Bibles.  The truth is that every faithful Christian we know has had to work very hard to build the habits of attendance, study, and active participation in the Lord’s work – sometimes in spite of those around them.  It is a lifelong commitment.  The apostle Paul compares it to physical training.  An athlete exercises their body to win the race, even when they are tired or in pain… we need to do the same with our spiritual exercise (1 Cor 9:24-27).  These are the things we would talk to your friend about.  Php 2:12 says that we have to each work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.  If the only reason you are attending services is because of the people... you are doing it for the wrong reasons.  People can certainly make it more enjoyable, but ultimately, you must do what's right regardless of others.

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