Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Doing Our Best

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
     I understand you cannot work for your salvation or do anything but believe in Christ, confess Him, be baptized for remission of sins (calling on His name), and repent from your former conduct.  But does a person have to work for their final salvation?  The Bible teaches Christian conduct, and some have said it is everything.  Now this scares me to an extent because how perfect and holy does one have to be to ensure their salvation if it is based on Christian conduct and obedience?

Sincerely,
Imperfect

Dear Imperfect,

You are correct; we have free will, and you do have to work to maintain your relationship with God.  Faith doesn’t mean God takes control, and you become incapable of falling away.
  The Bible says that we are saved by faith (Eph 2:8), but it never says that we are saved by faith only.  The Scriptures mention a lot of things that are involved in our salvation.  We are saved by hope (Rom 8:24).  We are saved by baptism (1 Pet 3:21).  We are saved by the love of the truth (2 Thess 2:10).  All of these things are involved in your salvation.  In order to understand a topic, we must look at the sum of God’s Word on that subject (Ps 119:160).
  Faith is hearing what God says (Rom 10:17)… and then acting upon it.  It is impossible to be a faithful person and live an unrepentant life.  Faith is more than belief; even the demons believe in God (Jas 2:19).  Faith is belief combined with action.  We must be hearers and doers of God’s Word (Jas 1:22)… it isn’t about living a perfect life but living a life loyal to God and His Word.  A loyal Christian will still stumble, but they are always attempting to live a life that would please God.  God has given us an immense gift – one we could never pay for ourselves.  However, He expects us to reach out and seize that gift.

Hidden Sins

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
     I am having a problem.  I have friends that I introduced to my church two years ago.  Some are doing ministry work, and one couple had their wedding vows renewed yesterday, so they could do it this time under God’s blessing, but I know at home, they are hanging out, and they drink every day of the week (not that they are drunk, but very high), and they have my pastor and everyone else fooled.  It is really bothering my husband and I, and we don’t hang out with them anymore because we don't drink anymore and haven't in a while, and they don’t even act like we are friends anymore, but I am wondering: should I say anything or just let God handle it?

Sincerely,
Former Friend

Dear Former Friend,

When we know that someone in the church is actively leading a sinful life, we are supposed to go to them and talk to them about it in hopes of restoring them.  If that doesn’t work, we should bring others with us so that the seriousness of the issue can be addressed properly (after all, maybe you are wrong.  Impartial witnesses help all people involved).  And lastly, if that doesn’t work, the church leadership should begin the discipline process.  All of these steps are outlined in Matt 18:15-17.

It sounds like you and your husband have previously made your sentiments known to these individuals.  Now it is time to get someone else (probably the church leadership) involved.

On a separate note, it sounds like your congregation has only one pastor; you might want to read our article “Two Are Better Than One” on the necessity for multiple pastors in a church.

Does It Really Matter?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Could God have created our universe out of the existing matter (at His disposal) by just speaking to it?

Sincerely,
Seeing Stars

Dear Seeing Stars,

He could have, but He didn’t.  Jhn 1:3 makes it clear that nothing that was made was ever made without God creating it.  God is the beginning of all things, and there is no matter or physical creation that existed before Him (Rev 22:13).  God didn’t just rearrange the existing molecules to create our universe; He created those molecules.

Sinking In The Carpool

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I want to ask.  My husband and I go to different churches, but we are both Christians (just a difference in styles), but our churches are not too far from one another.  Well, I don't drive, so my husband takes me on Sunday morning.  My church starts at 10 AM; his also starts at 10 AM, but he gives a ride to some of his church members… which I don't mind at all, so I go at maybe 9:30, so he will have time to pick them up, but he wants to drop me off at 9 with no one there, but I don't want to stay that early with no one at the church yet.  I just want to know: am I asking him to put me before God

Sincerely,
Asking Too Much?

Dear Asking Too Much,

Your family’s religious struggles are deeper than just figuring out how to carpool.  The problem is with the idea that the differences between churches are merely “style” differences.  There was only one church in the first century, and today there are well over 33,000 different denominations all professing to belong to Christ.  This is not only tragic; it’s wrong.  Christ died for one church, and He gave us one doctrine (Eph 4:4-6).  Christianity can only be preserved in the “unity of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3).  This means that the only way we can have unity is to use the standard the Holy Spirit has given us – the Bible.

All the denominations have their own creed books, statements of faith, organizational structures, and opinions.  Christ’s church has none of those.  It has one book, the Bible, as its rule and standard for all behavior.  It is our guide for all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3).  It is the book that was handed down once and for all to the saints (Jude 3).  We cannot have faith without hearing this Word (Rom 10:17), and we cannot please God without obeying its commandments (Jhn 15:14).

The Catholics trust their Vatican leadership, the Protestants reform a broken system, and the community churches pledge loyalty to their communities and social programs.  The only solution to the religious confusion is a radical step… restoration of Bible-only principles.  Let us go back to the Bible for everything that we do, and if we cannot find Bible authority for something… we must refuse to practice it.  A church that finds its roadmap and structure in the Bible alone is the real solution to the division that exists in the religious world.  When the Bible speaks, let us speak – and when it is silent, let us be silent.

Everything a church does (worship, membership, how they teach to be saved, how they spend their money, even their name) needs to have Bible verses backing them up (1 Tim 3:15).  A church needs to be able to explain the reasons for why they do what they do (1 Pet 3:15).

Our congregation here in Monroe goes by the name ‘Monroe Valley church of Christ’ because ‘church of Christ’ is a Biblical name for a congregation (Rom 16:16).  We worship by singing (Col 3:16), studying the Bible (1 Tim 4:13), praying (2 Thess 3:1), taking communion (only on Sundays – Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection (also only on Sundays – 1 Cor 16:1-2).  We teach that you must hear God’s Word (Rom 10:17), believe God’s Word (Jhn 3:16), repent of your sins (Mk 6:12), confess Jesus as your Savior (Lk 12:8), and be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21).  We do all these things because they are practices found in the Bible.  We can help you and your husband find a church that does these things and settles for nothing less than total adherence to the Bible.  Just email us at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org and we’d be happy to get you in touch with someone that can study with you.

Fresh Start

Monday, June 25, 2012
     I did a very bad thing today.  I was baptized about two years ago.  I made a promise to God that I would never go to the strip club again.  I haven’t in two years until, on my birthday, my friend sidetracked me to go.  I felt so horrible about going and that I let God down.  I knew it was wrong and still went anyways.  My question is: I know the Bible only says one baptism, but I will feel a lot better if I get re-baptized, so I can start clean and find new friends.

Sincerely,
Ashamed

Dear Ashamed,

Good for you for recognizing the sin, accepting that you need to start clean, and realizing you need to find friends that strengthen you, not corrupt you (1 Cor 15:33).  In your newfound effort to do what God says, let’s start with baptism.  As you said, if you were already baptized, the Bible teaches that once is enough.  It is important to do what God says in all areas of our life.  You may feel like you need to be re-baptized, but you also felt like you needed to go to that club with your friend.  Feelings are fickle; the Bible is steady.  Go ahead and make that fresh start and find those new friends.  No need to find water.

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