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Day 216 - John 20

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year

Who's The Boss?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I am considering joining a particular church, but for some reason, it doesn't have elders.  I understand that elders are being determined, but I have had contact with this place for about a year, and nothing has happened.  I like the church and the people, but I'm not sure what to think about no one being "in charge."  What does the Bible say about this?

Sincerely, Looking For Leadership

Dear Looking For Leadership,

Elders are God’s intended leadership for a congregation, but many congregations are too young or small to have men who meet the qualifications of 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. This happened in the first century churches as well. Paul and Barnabas went around helping set up elders in congregations that had already been in existence for several years - which implies that those congregations had been functioning without elders (Acts 14:23). Paul told Titus to help appoint elders in the congregations throughout the island of Crete (Tit 1:5), also implying that they didn’t have elders.

Prior to that, a congregation would have been led by the men of the congregation because, in other verses, we see that the leadership of the church was their responsibility (1 Tim 2:12, 1 Cor 14:34). That leadership would have been bound to follow the Bible just as much as an eldership. Every congregation is “commended to the Lord and His Word” (Acts 20:32). An eldership has the benefit of being a smaller group that is able to make faster, more decisive, and wiser decisions… but a congregation can hobble along without one for a time. If a congregation doesn’t have an eldership because it is unable to find qualified men to serve in that capacity, then you can feel comfortable worshipping with them. If they simply have decided they want a different leadership structure than the one God has designed (like a board of trustees, a counsel, headquarters back in Salt Lake City, etc.), that is an entirely different matter.

Day 215 - John 19

Monday, October 26, 2015

5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year

Victim Was The Assailant

Monday, October 26, 2015

I have been told that a person who commits suicide would go straight to hell, even if they were a christian.  This doesn't seem to make sense to me seeing as the Bible never explicitly says that salvation can be over-ridden by certain actions.  While someone who wants to commit suicide needs to seek help, are there certain actions that can negate a person's salvation?

Sincerely, Eternal Salvation

Dear Eternal Salvation,

People can lose their salvation. Heb 6:4-6 and Heb 10:26-27 outline that if someone rejects God’s Word (even after becoming a christian), they will go to hell just like any other unbeliever. And that is the key to the whole thing – is suicide an example of rejecting God’s Word and sinning willfully?

The Bible never specifically addresses suicide as being worse then another sin. Suicide certainly is condemned. Suicide is murder, self-murder, and is therefore very clearly a sin (Rev 21:8). The only difference between suicide and murdering someone else is that you don’t get a chance to repent after suicide. Suicide is a final decision and leaves no room for correction or for asking forgiveness. Therefore, in most cases, it would be fair to say that suicide will send you to hell. It is a willful act of disobedience against God without opportunity for repentance.

We here at AYP only hesitate to say, “All people who commit suicide go to hell,” because God never specifically makes that statement. The final judgment belongs to God (Heb 12:23), but we certainly wouldn’t want to face that judgment with our own blood on our hands.

BFF

Friday, October 23, 2015

I have a VERY good friend, my closest friend ever, and she doesn't have a religion. She told me her parents are letting her choose for herself. I am trying to teach her about Christianity and the Bible.  I have done as much as I can to try and lead her on the right path, including taking her to the christian-based camp my parents are directors of.  She has done pretty well, but I am scared that she, in the end, won't make the right decision.  I don't know what else I can keep doing to help save her. Do you have advice?

Sincerely, Being A Friend

Dear Being A Friend,

Everything that can be done, you are doing. You are open about your beliefs, you stand by your morals, you answer her questions, and you involve her in things that help influence her in a positive way. The rest is up to her.

When God made us, He made us in His image and gave us free will (Gen 1:27). That means that everyone has the right to choose the path of their life. You get to choose for yourself… and so does your friend. You can’t make her become a christian; all you can do is light the way (Matt 5:14). Your friendship is the most important friendship in her life because you are the one showing her how to get to heaven. She may listen to you; she may not… but either way, you are doing the right thing. Keep doing what you are doing. The only other thing you could do is pray for and about her, and then trust that God will take care of everything (Mk 11:24).

As long as she is happy to be your friend (and doesn’t try and force you to stop living a moral life), then be her friend. Some people take a long time to obey God. Paul was really stubborn (1 Tim 1:16), Peter was scared (Mk 14:67-68), and Thomas doubted (Jhn 20:24-25). Eventually, all three of them came around and did the right thing. Maybe your friend will be the same way.

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