October 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. “I have several ‘well meaning’ volunteers who are dying because of lack of knowledge. One in particular, is a very sweet old lady who continues to ask people their birthdays then parlays it into personality traits. I have asked her to stop and she truly thinks this practice is harmless. I am looking for some scriptural and simple description for her to read about astrological signs. She thinks the stars line up to mean things about lives. I am not trying to prove a point to her, but rather know that the Word of God will eventually open her eyes to her foolishness in this area.”
Š First, we should always understand that Christians (if you are one) accept the word of God as the standard to live by (Psalms 119:105, Matthew 4:4, and II Peter 1:3). Worldly people do not (Ephesians 2:1-3)! Thus, you cannot expect the Scriptures to mean to them what they mean to you.
Š Having said that, astrology is: “the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world” (New Oxford American Dictionary).
o The worship of such things is wrong (Deuteronomy 4:15-19, Deuteronomy 17:2-3, and Isaiah 47:11-14).
o The idea that your birthday or something lines up with stars to mean you find love or such is foolish (Daniel 2:26-28).
Š However, knowing of seasons, navigation, etc. can be done using stars (Genesis 1:14; cf. Matthew 16:1-4).
Š Again, God’s word is our guidebook of living, not the stars (Psalms 19:8, Luke 4:4, John 6:63, Romans 15:4, and II Timothy 3:15-17).
Š In regard to the word opening her eyes… The word is powerful (Hebrews 4:12). However, it will only be effective if she believes it (Romans 1:16; cf. Zechariah 7:12).
2. “We are very conservative, we use one cup, not to try to be argumentative, but to promote unity by doing what Jesus did. We can all read the scriptures and know Jesus took a single cup containing fruit of the vine (the cup of blessing 1 Cor 10:16). Do you do that?”
Š We partake of the fruit of the vine, using multiple cups, like the disciples did (Luke 22:15-20).
Š To make more of a cup than that content of that cup is to misunderstand the Lord’s Supper completely. The fruit of the vine symbolizes Jesus’ blood (Mark 14:24-25). It was His blood, not a cup, which was shed for the remission of our sins (Matthew 26:28-29 and Revelation 1:5).
Š To try and literally define I Corinthians 10:16 as drinking a cup would be the same as saying the next verse (I Corinthians 10:17) means Christians are literally pieces of bread.
Š For more, see this article: http://www.wordsoftruth.net/wotvol11/wotbulletin07242011.html
3. “Is it true that the more a Christian sins the less reward we will have in heaven?”
Š First off, why are you implying that Christians sin? Are we not told to stop such things (John 8:1-11, Romans 6:1-2, I Corinthians 15:34, II Corinthians 7:1, II Timothy 2:19, I Peter 1:13-16, and I Peter 4:1-2)?
Š Secondly, IF (I John 2:1) a Christian does sin, he or she can confess, repent, and be forgiven of that sin (Proverbs 28:13, II Peter 3:9, I John 1:9, Revelation 2:5, and Revelation 3:14-20).
Š That means that sin you have handled with God is forgotten (Hebrews 10:10-22).
Š Again, however, that does not mean Christians practice sin (I John 2:3-6 and I John 3:8-10).
Š The reward is not spoken of in terms of degrees nor is the punishment (John 5:28-29). Twisting (II Peter 3:15-18) contexts such as Matthew 20:1-16 is wrong to conclude there are differences in the reward. IF you sin, you’re going to Hell plain and simple (Romans 6:23, I Corinthians 6:9-10, and Revelation 21:8).
4. “Are Jews and Christians supposed to believe the same things?”
Š Yes, (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Romans 1:16, Romans 3:29-31, Galatians 3:26-29, and Ephesians 2:13-17; cf. John 12:48).
5. “I am a believer. I am a married woman. I have tried to get my husband to obey, but he seems not to care. I have given him tracts to read. The preacher here has come to talk with him. He seems not to move at anything. What more can I do?”
Š The only thing left to do is be an example (I Peter 3:1-6).
6. “Before I ask my question I want you to know that I know that I should not know what I know about what I am about to ask. It concerns giving. I count the money often. I try not to notice things but I notice. One thing I notice in every congregatin I am part of is that the preachers rarely give very much. The congregation I am with now is the same. The preacher gives little. I know he is not broke. We go to lunch and he is a big spender. I try to ignore but can not. On last Sunday he preached on giving and said it is a statement of your faith. On last Sunday he gave ten bucks. Should I ask him if he has ten dollar faith? What do I do not to have these feelins?”
Š The fact that you know you should NOT be taking note of what people give to God is good. That is between God and that person as is the reward/punishment (II Corinthians 9:6-7).
Š What to do from there really is a tricky matter. You cannot worship correctly when you have a problem with a brother (Matthew 5:22-24). There is a process to follow when there is a PRIVATE matter between two brethren (Matthew 18:15-17). Be aware though, once you start that process it will either have to be resolved or carried out fully!!!
o That is when this matter gets even more difficult. Only you know your motives. Do you notice other people’s giving? Why are you tracking his spending habits?
o Why do you mention that you notice PREACHERS (plural) don’t give right even in other congregations you attend? Why are you keeping track of these things?
o Do you really know if the preacher(s) give cash, check, etc.? Why do you know?
Š Having said all of that. I will respond as though your motives are pure, though the wording of your question gives me many doubts, a preacher should be a great example in living godly (I Thessalonians 2:10, I Timothy 4:12, and I Timothy 4:15-16)! He should practice what he preaches (Matthew 7:2, Romans 2:1-3, and I Corinthians 9:27).
Š Let it be clear, if your motives are wrong and you are looking to charge this preacher or others for impure reasons, God will sort that out (James 5:9)!
7. “Jesus said ‘In my Father's house are many mansions’. Will we all have our own mansions in heaven or will each congregation share a mansion?”
Š We should not get lost in the term “mansion” (Strong’s # 3438). You cannot understand Heaven in earthly terms.
o The term means: “a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon).
o That same Greek term is only used one other time as “abode” (John 14:23).
Š Heaven is no more a literal place of mansions than it is a city, new earth, or just a throne (in terms of physical structures as the carnal mind sees them). Yet, these are terms used in the Scriptures when the Lord is speaking of Heaven (Hebrews 13:14, II Peter 3:10-13, and Revelation 3:21).
Š What we do know is that we have an eternal place, that is not defined in terms of our current world, to look forward to (II Corinthians 4:14-5:1).
© 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