June Questions & Answers
The following questions are taken from emails and are printed below exactly as I received them. Names and contact information has been removed. The answers are in note form (sorry for any of my grammar errors) to be studied through. You’ll have to examine each Scripture below to see the points. Please be mindful that there are often circumstances and details to every question that could potentially change the answer.
1. “I have been listening to sermons at your church and and agree with them But out of 4 sermons they never preached on love or forgiveness. what are your thoughts on that? We all fell short of the glory of God and God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son.”
First, let me clarify, the sermons you are listening to are off of my personal website. They are preached in the assembly of the church in El Paso, TX. The church is not mine, it is the Lord’s (Colossians 1:12-18 and Hebrews 3:1-6). The church was purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28 and Ephesians 5:25).
Regarding how I select what to preach… As a preacher of the Gospel of Christ I am required, by the Lord, to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:20; 26-27). This means, as Christ told the Apostles, I must teach those whom I am capable of teaching to observe all things instructed by the Lord (Matthew 28:18-20; cf. II Timothy 4:1-5).
I teach on love, forgiveness, and all other things revealed in the Scriptures. What I focus on most is what is needed here locally in El Paso, TX among the saints I work with. The Lord expects me to teach what the people I am working with are ready to learn, capable of learning, and in need of learning. Study the following Scriptures and they will reveal that pattern of teaching to you: Mark 4:33, John 16:1-12, I Corinthians 3:1-3, Hebrews 5:8-6:3, and Jude 1:3-4
If you would be fair and really want to properly judge what is taught here in El Paso (John 7:24), you should look over the articles and class materials too. Therein, all things (including love and forgiveness) are and have been taught publicly. On Sunday evenings I teach a regular class on the Old Testament. On Tuesday evenings, we are covering New Testament books verse by verse. Thus, as often as the Lord and the Apostles taught on love or forgiveness is how often I am doing so.
Do you understand love? Do you realize that even corrective lessons are “preaching on love” (Revelation 3:19)?
Regarding your statement that “we all fell short of the glory of God”… How can you lay that charge at people you don’t know? Please, do not run to Romans 3:23. Consider the context of Romans 3:9-31. In that context the Lord, through Paul, was letting both Jews and Gentiles in Rome know that in the past they (now Christians; then lost under the Law of Moses) needed a Savior. The book of Romans shows several contexts wherein the Jews and Gentiles needed to understand that being a Jew did not make you better than a Gentile and vice versa (i.e. Romans 11:1-32).
For further studies on this, please consult the following and study the Scriptures therein: http://www.wordsoftruth.net/wotvol13/wotbulletin06092013.html
Yes, God loved the world and sent Jesus to die so that people can be saved (John 3:16-21, I John 2:1-2, etc.). What’s your point?
That same God who loved the world enough to send Jesus for salvation is also the same God who has taught that few will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 13:23-24, and I Peter 4:17-19). He is the same God who will see that Jesus returns to judge those whom do not obey Him (II Thessalonians 1:8-9). Therefore, I follow the pattern of faithful teachers in trying to prepare people for the Judgment Day so that they will be saved rather than condemned (Colossians 1:23-29).
There is much more that can be said. Would you consider a study with me?
2. “Can you tell me what religion is the Church of Christ affiliated with?”
The church of Christ, that was founded by Christ (Matthew 16:13-18), is not “affiliated” [attached to; in unity with] with any “religion” in the way that terminology is commonly used.
I, and those whom I labor with in Christ, are members of His church through the action of the Lord (Acts 2:38-47).
The church that the Lord Jesus Christ established is headed by Him(Ephesians 1:22-23) and the headquarters are in Heaven (Hebrews 12:22-28).
The church that the Lord Jesus Christ established will never have any affiliation with any religion of men for such fellowship is strictly forbidden (Romans 16:17-18, II Corinthians 6:14-18, Ephesians 5:6-11, and Colossians 2:6-23).
Having said all of that, there is a group of churches that identify themselves as “churches of Christ” which are part of an erring religious affiliation. Most that falsely claim to be churches of Christ today are tied to a human movement called the “restoration movement”. As a dangerous denominationally minded body, they often teach many truths which make them hard to expose (cf. Matthew 7:15-20 and Jude 4). However, their allegiances to human institutions [colleges, bookstores, societies, preaching organizations, publications, etc.] and their other common human traditions eventually expose them. These groups often only require that one be “baptized for the remission of sins” to be a member, regardless of what they have been taught or believed leading up to that. I have, on numerous occasions, mistaken some of these “churches” as my brethren and thus urge all to be cautious.
Being called “the church of Christ” does not mean that local body actually belongs to Christ. Those in Christ are identified by what they do/do not do, not just by what they call themselves (II John 1:9).
When churches are affiliated with error, regardless of what they call themselves, they are erring themselves (Revelation 2:14-16).
You are incorrect. This is the setting of the context and explanation: "(34) Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: (35) That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. (36) Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (37) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. (39) For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (1) And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. (2) And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (3) And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world" (Matthew 23:34-24:3)?
If you pay attention to what was going on above, they were in the temple. The Lord said one stone would not be left upon another. Then TWO questions were asked. "When shall these things be" was the first question. The second question was, “what shall be the sign of thy coming and the end of the world”. Jesus answered the questions in order.
The first, the temple being destroyed with Jerusalem, would be in their generation (Matthew 24:4-34). The second, there is no sign of His coming or the end of the world because no one knows that (Matthew 24:35-25:46). It is simple. If you cannot understand that, there isn't much more to say. If you think the whole chapter is about the destruction of Jerusalem then you have Jesus saying here are the signs, but wait, I don't know either. That is contradictory.
You asked: “How can Jesus have talked about anything about coming again there?” I don’t understand your confusion. Again, if you read Matthew 24:35-25:46, Jesus is clearly talking about His return and the Judgment Day.
4. “Do you think the Jews understood Ephesians 5:19 to mean they could not use instruments like they had in the past?”
No Scripture indicates whether or not Ephesians 5:19 was understood by anyone whether they be Jew or Gentile. The book of Ephesians was penned to Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-17, Ephesians 3:1, and Ephesians 4:17).
Concerning the understanding of people to whom things were written in the first century… In the first century (especially early on), even the Apostles themselves did not have a full understanding of what they were saying, teaching, or being taught. They only knew in part as all things were not fully revealed all at once (I Corinthians 13:8-13).
Peter is a prime example of this in how he taught that the promise in Acts 2:38 included “the afar off” (Acts 2:39) [meaning Gentiles; Ephesians 2:11-17], but he himself had to learn the Gentiles were granted the opportunity of salvation (Acts 10:1-11:18).
Before Christ ascended to Heaven the Apostles were still expecting an earthly kingdom (Acts 1:1-8), which was incorrect (John 18:36).
As the Scriptures were being written, things were being revealed. Thus, no one had a full understanding of things at the time Ephesians 5:19 was penned (see: Ephesians 4:7-14). They couldn’t have as all things were not yet revealed.
The Jews struggled with understanding many things in the first century. Even those who were obedient to the Gospel struggled in understanding that the Old Law and the things written therein were done away with (i.e. the churches of Galatia [Galatians 1:1-6:18). Congregations were divided because they did not fully grasp the divisions of the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ (Acts 15:1-35).
When you study the letters to the Romans and Hebrews you can see how the Jews struggled with understanding the spiritual nature of the words of Christ versus the carnal law that was given by Moses. James was written to early Jewish Christians (James 1:1; cf. Acts 8:1-4) who were clearly struggling in being converted to a spiritual mind in Christ (James 1:18-5:9). So, again, most disciples of the Lord did not understand much of what was taught as they only had bits and pieces of the big picture. This is why they all needed direct help from the Spirit (I John 2:27).
Now to the heart of the reason of your question… Whether those in Ephesus understood Ephesians 5:19 or not, the instruction and pattern to follow for Christians then and now (in the assembly and outside the assembly) is to sing Scripturally sound songs to God with an understanding of what is being sung (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26, Acts 16:25, Romans 15:9, I Corinthians 14:15, Ephesians 4:15, Colossians 3:16, Titus 2:1, Hebrews 2:12, and James 5:13).
5. “What did Jesus mean when he said that they did not consider the miracle of the bread because their heart was hard in Mark 5:52? What does a heart and not considering a miracle have to do with each other?”
There is no Mark 5:52. Therefore, I will answer based upon Mark 6:52 which is most likely what you were meaning.
The heart and learning have everything to do with each other (Romans 6:17). This is most easily explained through the Parable of the Sower. That parable shows that a good an honest heart is necessary for the word of God to take root and bear fruit (Luke 8:1-15).
When a person has their heart closed to the truth, he or she cannot see and hear what is presented to them regardless as to why their hearts are closed (Acts 28:17-29).
Miracles were performed to prove what was being taught was really from God (Mark 16:15-20, Acts 2:22, and Hebrews 2:1-4).
In Mark’s account of the feeding of the 5,000 and the events that followed (Mark 6:32-56), the disciples of Christ were the one’s being chastised for not opening their hearts to the miracle’s Jesus did. They were failing to see Jesus for who He really was at that point. Jesus had a hard time getting even the closest to Him to see the truth and this was perplexing to Him (i.e. Mark 8:14-21). This didn’t change during the time they spent with Him while He was living in the flesh (Luke 22:31-32).
Jesus later said to some of His disciples: “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25). He then had to teach them what they should have already seen, learned, and have understood (Luke 24:26-27). They, for various reasons, didn’t open their hearts up to who Jesus was (Matthew 8:23-27, Matthew 28:16-17, John 16:12, etc.).
6. “If there is one God and one religion what happens to the rest of the people who do not belong to that religion? Do they go to hell? Why do you want to believe that?”
Let me begin with the last of your questions. I do not not “want to believe” in Hell any more than I want to believe in cancer, heart disease, crime, etc. What I “want to believe” in regard to any fact is irrelevant. I cannot change facts because I do or do not want to believe something. Disbelief in something won’t change it if such is a reality. The end result of unbelief in the Lord and His will is sad (II Thessalonians 2:12).
Fact # 1 whether you want to believe it or not: There is one Father, Son, Holy Spirit, one faith, one hope, one baptism, and one body of believers (Ephesians 4:1-6).
One Father (Malachi 2:10, Matthew 23:9, I Timothy 2:5, and James 2:19).
One faith [belief system] (Galatians 1:6-12, II Timothy 3:14-17, and Jude 1:3).
One body [church; Ephesians 1:22-23] of believers (Romans 12:4-5, I Corinthians 10:17, Colossians 1:12-24, and Colossians 3:15; cf. Matthew 16:13-18).
The many are the lost which includes many who think they’re saved (Matthew 7:13-23).
Fact # 2 whether you want to believe it or not: Outside of the innocent whom have never known sin (i.e. Ezekiel 18:4 and Matthew 18:3), a person must obey the Gospel of Christ, be added to His body the church, and then faithful serve the Lord until physical death to be saved. This, in itself, is a massive study that may easily differ for each individual. As a starting point, consider the following Scriptures: Luke 8:1-15, Luke 9:57-62, Luke 14:25-33, Acts 2:37-47, Acts 3:19, Acts 8:5-39, Acts 16:13-15, Acts 16:25-34, Acts 18:8, Acts 19:1-7, Romans 6:1-23, Romans 8:23-24, Romans 10:8-17, Colossians 1:23, etc.).
Fact # 3 whether you want to believe it or not: Those who can obey the Lord’s will, but choose not to, will go to Hell (Matthew 25:1-46, Mark 16:15-16, II Thessalonians 1:7-9, and Revelation 21:8).
© 2017 This material may not be used for sale or other means to have financial gain. Use this as a tool for your own studies if such is helpful! Preachers are welcome to this work, but please do not use my work so that you can be lazy and not do your own studies. – Brian A. Yeager