November 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. “Why do members think Sunday morning is more important that Sunday night and Wednesday night? Anytime the word is taught it should be more important that anything else.”
Before I proceed to answer, let me be clear about two things. First, nothing I am about to state should be used to think it is okay for a member of any congregation to fail to assemble whenever the congregation assembles. It is sinful to do so (Hebrews 10:22-25) and such would have to be dealt with if not properly repented of (II Thessalonians 3:6; 14-15). Secondly, nothing I am about to state is intended to downplay the importance of learning and studying the Scriptures to grow as a Christian (John 5:39, Acts 17:10-11, II Timothy 2:14-18, II Timothy 3:15-17, I Peter 2:1-2, and II Peter 3:15-18). Furthermore, continual mediation upon the word of God is significant for all believers (Psalms 1:1-2, Psalms 119:15, Psalms 119:97-105, Colossians 3:16, and I Timothy 4:15). Now to your question...
I am assuming you are speaking of the common practice of congregations assembling on Sunday morning, night, and Wednesday night. I cannot speak for why “members” where you are think what they think or members elsewhere. Here in El Paso, we do not currently meet on Sunday morning or Wednesday night. Therefore, the beginning of your question really needs to be asked in your local place of assembly. In the past, I have observed that in many places, Sunday morning, night, and Wednesday night assemblies are all just human traditions. Such mindsets are wrong and lead to other problems (Mark 7:1-9 and Colossians 2:4-23). If this is the case...
The Lord’s body must assemble on the first day of the week [Sunday] (Acts 20:7 and I Corinthians 16:1-2). However, the time or times of that assembly are to be determined based upon when the saints are able to be together in that assembly (I Corinthians 11:33). If you carry on the “tarry for one another” principle, the congregation should not be assembling when members cannot, reasonably, be there. Truth and reason says each member is necessary for proper collective work (I Corinthians 12:14-27 and Ephesians 4:16). Meeting at times wherein a congregation KNOWS people can’t reasonably be there is not expedient.
To be clear, AGAIN, I am NOT SUGGESTING or STATING that Christians are permitted to forsake assembling with the saints. Such is a sin (Hebrews 10:22-25) and those guilty of such must be rebuked (I Timothy 5:20) and if unwilling to repent must be withdrawn from (II Thessalonians 3:6; 14-15).
Having said that, when so-called “brethren” formulate times of assembly that they know cannot reasonably be met by their brethren, are they not casting stumbling blocks before them? Think about that. Outside of the first day of the week, each assembly saints CHOOSE to have is a liberty. Yes, it is often a needed liberty, but it is a liberty (not a necessity to please God). Therefore, the principle of Romans 14:19-21 should be honestly considered. Christians should try to spend much time studying together, if possible. Daily work is often necessary (Hebrews 3:13), but does not necessarily demand a congregational assembly.
Regarding “anytime the word is taught...” I wholeheartedly want to agree with your statement. Your thoughts seem noble. I think of the point in Luke 10:38-42. However, there are several things wrong your statements. The basic premise that “anytime the word is taught” is “more important than anything else” is not correct.
As an example, what if a brother or sister are at odds with another saint. Isn’t fixing that more important than being taught or even worshiping God (Matthew 5:23-24)?
Another example, what about the principle of leaving the flock to save a stray (Matthew 18:12-14)?
Then there is the whole point of BALANCE (Matthew 23:23-24 and I Timothy 5:21). How can I say it is greater to learn than to take time to apply what you have learned (Romans 2:13). Learning the truth is certainly of great importance, but having the time aside from learning to live it is too (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4, James 1:21-27, James 2:14-26, and Revelation 22:14).
Can’t you see how your statement can be troublesome? I get the point that I wish was right. However, the conclusion cannot be carried out consistently.
Consider consistency and your judgment. If “anytime the word is taught” it is “more important than anything else” will you forsake other instructions to be in a Bible study? Would you quit your job (II Thessalonians 3:10), forsake your marital duties (I Corinthians 7:1-5), forsake parenting (Ephesians 6:4 and Titus 2:3-5), forsake eating and sleeping (Mark 6:31), etc. EVERY TIME some Bible study is ongoing? If not, you’re judgment of another is going to cause you to be lost (Matthew 7:2). What if there was a Bible study 10 hours per day, every day, amongst the people you are in fellowship with? Would you ALWAYS [meaning no exception] be there and participating? No recovery from illnesses? No work, rest, sleep, leisure, etc.?
Much of this is left to qualified (I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9) shepherds of the local church (I Peter 5:1-4). They have the ability and authority to rule in the congregation (Hebrews 13:7; 17) that NO ONE (including evangelists) has in these and other areas. In most congregations, very sadly, we are left weak in this regard because we do not have shepherds to help with these matters.
In conclusion, there is also the point that there can be too much learning to the point of mental exhaustion (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Think on that. Balance is key! There is not some GREATEST ABOVE ALL ELSE, singular act God expects of us (James 2:10).
2. “why is a norm or practices for churches of Christ pray one person per time during worship? And NOT everyone praying on his / her owned ( why not mass prayer during our assembles?)”
Like question # 1, I cannot speak for other churches of Christ.
What I can answer is why someone leads prayers publicly. Publicly led prayer was established amongst disciples by our Savior Himself (Mark 14:22-25).
At the very least, we must continue to follow that pattern (I Corinthians 11:23-26).
In addition to that, from a context dealing with the Corinthians abusing their spiritual gifts during the worship assembly, we learn principles that shows public prayer is to continue. For example, prayers during the time saints assemble are to be offered in a way that people can understand what has been stated (I Corinthians 14:15-17).
I am not sure what you mean by “mass prayer”. In one way, everyone praying aloud at the same time, this would be an error. Again, the principle in the same aforementioned context to the congregation in Corinth shows the principles that say this disorderly conduct would be wrong in the worship assembly (I Corinthians 14:26; 33; 40).
Could there be a time in the assembly when everyone prayed to God, silently, on their own? Sure, prayers are authorized to be said everywhere (I Timothy 2:8).
3. “The Lord asked me to email you again so you will know what is about to happen to the body of Christ. He has used me to email you several times over the last 7 years but I've had NO response to my emails so the Lord just wants you to know the Fate of the Body of Christ. THE BODY OF CHRIST WILL GO THROUGH THE GREAT TRIBULATION (REV 7) WHICH IS UPON US RIGHT NOW... OPEN YOUR EYES.... WHY YOU IGNORE THIS WARNING?”
The Lord did not ask you to email me. In short, I know that the Lord communicated through men by the work of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 2:1-13, II Peter 1:20-21, etc.). Under the Law of Christ, the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the Apostle’s hands (Acts 8:12-24 and Acts 19:1-7). There were only two exceptions, wherein Holy Ghost baptism occurred (Acts 1:4-2:4 and Acts 10:1-11:18). That had ceased in the first century (Ephesians 4:5). I know there are no Apostles today. Therefore, I know God did not directly reveal anything unto you. More could be said, but that is the brief answer I will give for starters.
I have no record of having received an email from you, so I have not responded.
I also know that God has not spoken to or through you because your doctrine is false. Revelation chapter 7 was written to seven congregations of things that have long ago passed (Revelation 1:1-4). They were being told of the reward that awaited them for enduring through what they faced. Most of it is figurative. There are 24 elders in this vision, representing twelve from the past (tribes of Israel) and the foundation of the church (Apostles). The context even shifts from 144,000 of Israel (Revelation 7:4) to an innumerable group in just a few verses (Revelation 7:9-10). Later, those figurative 144,000 are male virgins who followed Jesus everywhere He went (Revelation 14:2-5). It’s a vision. It’s not literal. The lessons applied then directly, to whom it was written, not now! While we can learn from all things written (Romans 15:4), there is not a direct application in those figures for today.
The tribulation the Christians faced then, which we are not facing now in this country, was temporary (Revelation 2:10).
I am not saying “tribulation” has ceased. Tribulation [anguish; affliction; etc.] is a normal part of all faithful disciple’s lives then and continually (John 16:33, Acts 14:22, Romans 5:1-3, II Timothy 3:12, I Peter 4:12-16, etc.).
4. “Is being Baptised in the Holy Ghost only different from water baptism on the ground basics of the evidence of speaking in other tongues?”
As briefly mentioned in the answer to question # 3… The baptism of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:11) was given to the Apostles (Acts 1:4-2:4; cf. John 14:25-26 and John 16:12-13) and the first Gentile converts to show that they were acceptable to God (Acts 10:1-11:18).
Shortly, in the first century, we find “baptisms” (John’s, fire, Holy Spirit, etc.) were reduced to one baptism (Ephesians 4:4-6). Reason, since the other “baptisms” did not save, leads us to deduce all that remains is water baptism.
Water baptism, which unlike baptism of the Holy Ghost, is in part what a person must do to be saved and be put into Christ/His body the church (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-20, Acts 2:36-41, Romans 6:3-6, Galatians 3:26-29, Colossians 2:12-13, and I Peter 3:20-21).
Thus, baptism of the Holy Ghost and water baptism are very different.
5. “The verse that says Zion is too at eased. Is that about the church? What does it mean?”
The word “church” is broad in meaning biblically and otherwise. I am going to answer this question as though you are asking about the church of Christ (meaning the people of Christ from the first century to present day).
The only verse I am aware of that fits the wording of your question is Amos 6:1. That Scripture is not talking about the church. Amos was a prophet teaching people in the Old Testament, prior to the body of Christ ever existing (more on that in a moment). Notice: “The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake (*see note). And he said, The Lord will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither” (Amos 1:1-2). *The earthquake is in reference to the days of Uzziah as well (Zechariah 14:5).
Since Amos prophesied during the days of Uzziah [a.k.a. Azariah; II Chronicles 26:1-23] king of Judah and Jeroboam the son of Joash, that puts us back to II Kings 14:23-15:7.
We have no statement concerning the church of Christ existing until after Christ died, was buried, raised, and ascended into Heaven (Acts 2:47). While Jesus was on earth, His church was still in the future (Matthew 16:13-18). He had to die for His body ,the church, to exist (Acts 20:28 and Ephesians 5:25). Such is made clearer in Colossians 1:12-24. Therefore, what Amos said was not about the church.
That does not mean there are not lessons to be learned from the words of Amos (Romans 15:4 and II Timothy 3:15-17). Christians today are the spiritual Zion of God (Hebrews 12:18-28). Things Amos taught, like being complacent [at ease], are still valuable lessons for all disciples to consider and apply (I Corinthians 10:1-12).
You never want to be too at ease (Luke 12:13-21). Rather, be busy and ready for the return of the Lord (Matthew 24:42-25:46 and I Corinthians 15:58).
© 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