Ask Your Preacher
Sometimes, I am asked if I am a "born-again" christian. I don't know how to respond. What is a "born-again" christian?
A born-again christian is just a christian; it is another way to say that you are saved. The terminology comes from Jhn 3:1-6 when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about salvation. In Jhn 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be born again in order to enter the kingdom (the kingdom is the church – read “A Kingdom For All Nations” for further details on that). Nicodemus asks how it is possible for someone to be born again (Jhn 3:4), and Jesus explains that we must be born of the Spirit and water (Jhn 3:5). We are born of the Spirit when we listen and obey the words of the Holy Spirit found in the Bible (Jhn 6:63, 1 Cor 2:13), and we are born of water when we are baptized (1 Pet 3:21, Rom 6:4). When we heed the Scriptures and are baptized, we are born again… and we become christians (Mk 16:16, Matt 28:19).
Jesus often described the Pharisees as “blind guides”, “hypocrites”, and “broods of vipers”. Yet, in Matthew 23: 1-4, He tells His disciples to obey them.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
Why would Jesus tell His followers to obey the very same people He railed so heavily against? Did the Pharisees have real authority passed down through the generations from Moses?
Dear Mixed Signals,
The Pharisees were the teachers and preachers of Israel (that is what Jesus meant when He said they “sat in Moses’ seat”) – but they didn’t follow the law that they preached. Jesus was telling His disciples that they should obey God’s laws… regardless of who is preaching them.
The Pharisees were blind guides (Matt 23:16) and hypocrites (Matt 23:13). The only godly authority that the Pharisees had was when they taught from the Bible – Christ told His followers to disregard everything else they said and did.
According to Numbers 22:6, Balak (king of Moab at that time) hired Balaam to curse Israel because Balak saw the great number of the Israelites and became afraid. Cursing or hexing is hurting someone or something by means of supernatural powers such as a magical spells, prayers to a god, or summoning a spirit. Throughout the Bible, I see the word "curse". Now my question is: when I see this word, does it always mean harmful supernatural powers?
Dear Hexed Out,
The word ‘curse’ does not inherently involve supernatural consequences. Balak was seeking a magical curse against Israel, but the word ‘curse’ simply means ‘to condemn or speak evil of’. In Lk 6:28 and Jas 3:9, the word ‘curse’ is used to refer to someone saying bad things to or about another human (an Old Testament example of this is Ex 22:28). The word ‘curse’ only involves the supernatural elements you mentioned if the context demands it. If God (or a prophet from God) is cursing someone, then it obviously involves supernatural power. If it is a human cursing someone – it just means they are saying unkind things.
Hello. I am sort of a "beginner" christian, raised in a non-believer society and family. Now my father, who is an unbeliever, is in a dying process. He has been unconscious for several days now, and the doctors keep giving him twelve hours more at a time to live. He keeps hanging on to the surprise of his doctors who (in their words) have not seen anything like this before. That said, I have been praying to God that He would not let him die until he reaches salvation, knowing that at the last point of his consciousness he was an unbeliever. I guess my question would be if it is possible for him to accept Jesus and receive salvation while in the dying state of unconsciousness and how could I help facilitate this (other than through prayer).
Dear Hopeful Child,
Our hearts go out to you during this difficult time; nothing is harder than feeling helpless to do anything, and there isn’t anything you can do for your father’s relationship with God. It is impossible to become a christian without a conscious, mature, and aware mind. Becoming a christian involves repentance (Acts 3:19); ‘repentance’ means ‘to change your mind’… something that simply can’t be done while you are unconscious. It involves confession (Lk 12:8-9). Both of these things require an active and mature mind. All faith is built upon hearing and understanding the Scriptures (Rom 10:17). As long as your father is in the state he is in… all you can do is accept that he is in the hands of a loving and wise God.
5 minutes a day
5 days a week
1 New Testament in a year
There are 261 weekdays in a year, and there are 260 chapters in the New Testament. By reading one chapter, Monday through Friday, you will read the whole New Testament by the end of the year. The Daily Cup series is to help with that goal.
"The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup." -- Psalm 16:5
Click here for a pdf of the study schedule - CLICK HERE