March 2013 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.
1. “should a Christian be facebook friends with a non Christian? i am thinking about James 4:4 and other verses. would i be correct to admit i was a facebook ‘friend’ to a nonChristian? should i ask a nonChristian to to be my facebook ‘friend’? what about romans 16:17-18?”
Š I am not familiar with Facebook. I have never used it and I don't have any plans to do so in the near future. Thus, my answer will have a level of ignorance in some ways.
Š The problem is in defining what a “friend” is. In James 4:4 the Greek word translated “friendship” means “fondness” (Strong’s #5373). Fondness means there is “affection” in some way. The word “friend” in James 4:4 means “one who finds pleasure in a thing” (Strong’s # 5384; defined by Thayer). In regard to friendship with people of the world (i.e. James 4:4)…
o There is a difference between having close relationships (a friendship; John 15:13) and having acquaintances.
o Jesus kept company with sinners and was identified as a “friend” [same Greek word as used in James 4:4; Strong’s 5384] with sinners (Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34). Obviously, Jesus was not sinning by eating with, associating with, and keeping some company with people of the world in that He never sinned (Hebrews 4:14-16, I Peter 2:21-22, and I John 3:5).
o Understand that, even in the Scriptures, some terms have “loose meanings” (so to speak). I.E. calling a person a brother in the sense of being from the same ethnic background (Acts 13:26 and Romans 9:3) and then calling someone a brother in a spiritual sense (I Corinthians 1:1, II Corinthians 2:13, Philippians 2:25, and I Thessalonians 3:2).
Š The Scriptures do authorize us to have contact with and even spend time with people of the world (I Corinthians 5:9-13 and I Corinthians 10:27).
Š The Scriptures even permit a Christian to be married to a non-Christian (I Corinthians 7:12-15).
Š The balance is in not have a close relationship with those people (II Corinthians 6:14-18) and not sharing in sinful things they are part of (Ephesians 5:11). You cannot be fond of worldliness or those who practice it (Psalms 119:115).
Š That is not to say we should go out and fully embrace worldly people.
o We need to understand that, at some point, either you or the person of the world is going to change. Who is converting whom? We need to be cautious (I Corinthians 15:33).
o We need to be sure we are not acting worldly or conforming (Romans 12:1-2).
o We need to understand that, at some point, there is going to be problems in any relationship between a Christian and sinner (Proverbs 29:27 and Matthew 10:34-37).
Š Jesus Himself associated with all manner of people, but drew the line in that He defined those who were close to Him as those who kept the words of His Father (Matthew 12:46-50). There is a difference between someone who is a friend in the loose meaning of the term and those who are truly our friends (John 15:13-14).
Š In regard to Romans 16:17-18 you are talking about warning others of spiritual predators, not just every person of the world. An example of the application of Romans 16:17-18 can be found in I Timothy 1:19-20, II Timothy 2:14-18, and III John 9-11.
Š If you put all of that together, here is what you get: If a Facebook friend is someone you are fond of, supporting the causes and actions of, etc.; you should avoid it. If a Facebook friend is an acquaintance, the Scriptures allow for such with caution of being influenced for negative.
2. “Did anyone other than John call Jesus the son of God?”
Š Matthew 8:28-29, Matthew 16:16, Matthew 17:1-5, Mark 1:1, Luke 4:41, Acts 3:13, Acts 3:26, Acts 8:37, Romans 1:1-3, I Corinthians 1:9, II Corinthians 1:19, Galatians 2:20, Hebrews 4:14, and II Peter 1:15-19.
3. “Where is the verse that says not to call a man a priest now that the Mosaic law has ceased?”
Š There is no verse that says such. All Christians are priests (I Peter 2:5; 9 and Revelation 1:5-6).
Š You may be looking for the verse that would show Catholic “priests” are wrong in being called “Father” (Matthew 23:9).
Š The priesthood changed when the Old Law as done away (Hebrews 7:11-28).
Š As you indicated knowledge of, we are not under the Law of Moses, but the Law of Christ (Romans 7:1-7 and Ephesians 2:11-17).
4. “You mentioned in a sermon that anger is not bad in itself. You mentioned a quick verse to prove that, but could you expand a little on that subject?”
Š You can be angry and not sin (Ephesians 4:26).
Š Jesus proves you can be angry (Mark 3:1-5) and such is not a sin (Hebrews 4:14-16 and I Peter 2:21-22).
Š Anger can cause bad situations to escalate (Proverbs 15:18).
Š You can control your anger (as God has; Psalms 78:38) and slow the process (Proverbs 14:29 and James 1:19-20).
Š If you are to be indignant, let it be a righteous indignation (Jeremiah 15:16-17; cf. John 2:13-17).
Š The key is, don’t allow anger to cause you to err (Proverbs 14:17 and Ecclesiastes 7:9).
5. “Can a deacon be divorced and still be a deacon?”
Š No, I Timothy 3:8-13.
6. “Was Paul of Hebrew descent?”
Š Yes, (II Corinthians 11:22 and Philippians 3:4-5).
Š That does not matter at all though (Romans 3:29-30, Romans 9:24, Romans 10:12-13, and Galatians 3:26-29).
7. “Is God talking about Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 44:24 like he talked about Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5?”
Š In Isaiah 44 God is talking about Israel as a whole (Isaiah 44:1-2; Isaiah 44:21). He is telling His people that He will send Cyrus to see that Jerusalem is rebuilt after Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 44:26-28).
Š Israel was born of God (Isaiah 46:3-4).
8. “On Sundays many of the members of the church here go out to lunch together. We all arrive at different times so some people start eating before others. I have noticed a troubling thing. Many of them do not pray before they eat. I have taught a lesson on it. I have not noticed a change though. What does that say about our congregation? What should I do?”
Š First off, prayer is not always obvious nor does it need to be (Matthew 6:5-6).
Š You may be judging based upon what appears to you to be someone not praying. Don’t rush to a judgment based on what something appears to be or not be (John 7:24).
Š Having said that, if Christians are not giving thanks for their food, that is a direct violation of a command from God (I Timothy 4:1-5). Not obeying an instruction from God carries eternal consequences (Colossians 3:6 and II Thessalonians 1:7-9).
Š We need to give thanks for our food (Matthew 14:19-20, Matthew 15:36, Luke 24:30, John 6:11, Acts 27:35, and Romans 14:6).
Š Besides the obvious Scriptures we’ve read through above, the fact is, we’re supposed to be a thankful people (I Thessalonians 5:18). Whether eating or not we should be thinking about our blessings and glorifying God in all things (Psalms 34:1, Philippians 4:6, and I Corinthians 10:31). The Psalmist said: “Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare… So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations” (Psalms 75:1 and Psalms 79:13).
Š What you should do is not answer a matter before you know it is a problem (Proverbs 18:13).
Š If you think that someone is not praying for his or her food, go to him or her about it WITHOUT a preconceived judgment (Matthew 18:15 and Galatians 6:1). If it needs to be dealt with further, then do so (Matthew 18:16-17).
9. “In Matthew 5:22 it says not to call a brother a fool. Did Paul sin when he did it in Galatians 3:1?”
Š Paul was an inspired man (I Corinthians 2:9-13) writing the commands of God (I Corinthians 14:37 and II Timothy 3:16-19). Therefore, he did not err in what he wrote.
Š When the disciples lost their way, Jesus called them fools for not knowing Him (Luke 24:13-25). Jesus also called some of His “Jewish brethren” fools (Matthew 23:17, Matthew 23:19, and Luke 11:40). We know Jesus did not err (I John 3:5).
Š Consider that a brother is one obeying the word of God (Matthew 12:46-50). When one sins they leave the camp of the faithful and become follower of Satan (I John 3:8-10).
Š For us to learn the proper usage of the term fool and who to call such, consider some of what the Scriptures describe as fools: Psalms 14:1, Psalms 92:6, Psalms 94:8, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 8:5, Proverbs 10:8, Proverbs 10:21, Proverbs 14:9, Proverbs 14:16, Proverbs 15:5, Proverbs 15:14, Proverbs 28:26, Matthew 7:26, and I Corinthians 3:19.
© 2013 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