August 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.
First, you are taking two Scriptures WAY out of context. The book of Romans is written to a congregation that had division amongst Jewish and Gentile members with each thinking themselves better than the other (Romans 2:1-11:36). Romans chapter nine is not a context explaining about what happened to Pharaoh. Those statements were made to reprove the erring view the Gentiles had toward the Jews and vice versa. The overall point is that if God wants to offer salvation to someone, that is His choice. His choice was for Jews and Gentiles alike to be able to be saved. The context (Romans 9:1-33) reveals that God had a plan for Israel, He chose through whom to act, upon whom to have mercy, and that none can reply against Him.
Concerning your question from your reading of Romans 9:17-18; cf. Exodus 9:16-35...
Pharaoh had a choice, as do all men, whether or not to harden his heart. If you study Exodus 1:1-14:31 you see that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart through signs and wonders (Exodus 7:3). The deceitfulness of sin hardens hearts (Hebrews 3:13). God did NOT force Pharaoh to do things. God did not literally enter into Pharaoh and close his heart from the truth.
Having an open or closed ear/heart, with Pharaoh and everyone else, is always that person’s choice (Deuteronomy 5:29, Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Joshua 24:14-16, Luke 8:4-15, Acts 2:37-41, and Hebrews 3:1-4:12).
The Philistines were later told this regarding Pharaoh and Egypt: “Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed” (I Samuel 6:6)?
Under the Old Law God always had a purpose in what He did that often included His foresight concerning the ultimate salvation of all men (Isaiah 46:10; cf. Galatians 3:8-29). As the context of Romans 9 discusses, God had made a promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18 and Acts 3:25) and His actions throughout the Old Testament were about keeping that promise.
God has purposed things at times in men or women to bring about His cause (Isaiah 10:5-34, Isaiah 45:1-4, Jeremiah 27:6-7, and Acts 23:1-11).
The purpose in what He did to Pharaoh was to show His power and it be declared everywhere (Exodus 10:1-2, Exodus 14:17-18, and Joshua 2:1-10).
The word of God hardens some people (Acts 28:17-28 and II Thessalonians 2:10-12).
Regarding your second question… Romans 9:18 is referring to God’s Judgment under the Law of Moses (Exodus 33:19). It is in a context in relation to Israel of old that was to be converted to Christ. Regarding mercy upon the faithful, all you can rely upon is that it is not in God’s nature to lie (Titus 1:2). He has promised salvation to those whom are faithful to His will (I Peter 1:3-9 and II Peter 3:10-14).
Having said all of that, what God chooses to do is completely up to Him. Who can challenge that (Job 40:1-42:6)? Don’t take His Judgment lightly (Hebrews 10:26-31).
2. “After sin becomes public knowledge can a person be forgiven of it because it really cant be removed from public knowledge?”
Paul serves as an example that public sins can be forgiven (I Timothy 1:12-16).
Forgiveness for saint and sinner alike includes confession of sin (I John 1:9), repentance from sin (Luke 13:1-5), and conversion to or back to Christ (Acts 3:19 and James 5:19-20).
Repentance includes bringing forth fruit meet for repentance (Acts 26:18-20). Therefore, with public sin comes the need for evidence of change.
We see that Paul committed horrible public sins (Acts 8:1-3 and Galatians 1:13). He also very publicly showed repentance (Acts 9:20-31).
3. “Is the Sunday School System scriptural?”
There is no such thing in the Scriptures. Thus, a “Sunday School System (whatever that is); is without God’s authority and as such is wrong (Galatians 1:6-9, Colossians 3:17, I Thessalonians 5:21, Revelation 22:18-19)!
What there is authority for is Christians assembling on the first day of the week and being taught as well as teaching, edifying, and comforting one another (Acts 20:7-11, Colossians 3:16, I Thessalonians 5:11-14, and Hebrews 10:22-25).
4. “How do I win a friend to Jesus without using the bible because he doesn’t want to be taught the bible?”
The desire to win souls is a good thing (Proverbs 11:30).
Apart from the Gospel, being a good example goes a long way (Proverbs 4:18, Matthew 5:14-16, Philippians 2:14-16, and I Peter 3:1-4).
However, a person cannot be taught and converted to Christ apart from the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16, John 8:31-32, Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-17, I Corinthians 15:1-4, Colossians 1:5, Colossians 1:23, II Thessalonians 2:14, II Timothy 3:15-17, I Peter 1:18-25, etc.).
I understand the overwhelming desire to help people be saved. However, you cannot sneak someone into Heaven. They have to be willing to come to the Father through Christ (John 14:6). Therefore, YOU or I cannot do anything to save someone apart from the Gospel.
On another note, be careful about choosing your “friends” for various reasons (Proverbs 13:20, Romans 12:9, I Corinthians 15:33, James 4:4, and II John 1:6-11).
There are many “gods” in one sense of the word that includes Satan, idols, and even material possessions (Jeremiah 46:25, Daniel 5:23, II Corinthians 4:3-4, Ephesians 5:5, etc.).
What people serve can, in many cases, be called their “god” (Galatians 4:8).
Here is a great, inspired way, of understanding this: “For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens… For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (Psalms 96:5 and I Corinthians 8:5-6).
6. “What is your congregation meet and greet process when new families arrive?”
The congregation I am a member of belongs to the Lord (Colossians 1:12-24).
There is not such thing, Scripturally speaking (I Peter 4:11), of a “meet and greet process”.
What I do when people walk in amongst the assembly of the saints here, as a disciple of Christ and an evangelist, is find out who they are and why they are among us:
As a member of the local body, I want to be sure whoever is amongst us is a seeker of the truth or a faithful brother/sister in Christ and NOT a person seeking to do harm to the local body (I John 4:1 and Jude 1:3-4; cf. Matthew 7:15-20 and Galatians 2:1-5).
As an evangelist, I am asking questions to figure out where to begin teaching this person based on what they know (Mark 4:33, John 16:12, and Hebrews 5:8-14) or if they are teachable at all (Matthew 13:15; 53-58, Matthew 15:1-14, and John 8:43-44). Many times I have to learn what people need untaught (Acts 17:16-31).
In addition, I have to try to make sure they will not be a setback to the work of the Lord I am doing locally (II Timothy 4:2-5).
Ultimately, “visitors” to the assembly of the saints here in El Paso are most often lost souls that need taught the truth. They are hardly ever faithful people. If they were faithful to the Lord, with a few exceptions (i.e. Acts 15:36, Romans 16:1-2, etc.), they’d be assembling with the faithful saints in the local congregation they are members of (I Corinthians 12:14-27 and Hebrews 10:22-25).
7. “Paul wrote as often as in I Corinthians 11:26. I think you put far too much emphasis on the Lord’s Supper. The original Lord's Supper was observed at NIGHTTIME (Mt. 26:31), and that it was NOT observed on Sunday. Jesus emphasized love over sacraments. What has you so convinced that you should emphasize the supper as you do?”
I do not understand what you are getting at with how you began your question in regard to I Corinthians 11:26.
Since your question is based upon your judgment of my emphasis of the Lord’s Supper, is it nearly impossible to answer. I think of the Lord’s Supper no differently than any other instruction God has given (James 2:10-12).
You are correct, the Lord’s Supper was NOT instituted on Sunday. It was instituted prior to Jesus’ death during Passover (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-20). Jesus was risen on the first day of the week (Luke 24:1-12), so we know it was not instituted on the first day of the week.
The pattern faithful Christians follow, since the church didn’t even exist at the time Jesus instituted the Supper and the Old Testament passover is not applicable now (Colossians 2:12-17), is based upon Acts 20:7.
Your usage of the word “sacraments” implies you are thinking from a Catholic point of view or trying to defeat Catholicism. I do not use that word and it is not in the Scriptures. You are right, the emphasis is love (Matthew 22:34-40). I wonder if you understand what is meant by love though (John 14:15, John 14:21-24, Romans 13:8-14, II Corinthians 5:14-15, Galatians 5:13, II Thessalonians 2:10, I John 5:2-3, Revelation 3:19, etc.)?
I just really have no idea what more to say to your question. It is based upon your assumption of a view I do not hold. Sorry. If you’d like to study something specific about the Lord’s Supper, let’s do so. Here are other Scriptures to consider, not mentioned above (I Corinthians 10:14-22, and I Corinthians 11:16-34).
© 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