January 2014 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. “After Jesus died he said he did not yet return to his father when he was talking with Mary. Where was he when he was dead for three days? If he just ceased to exist what does that mean for everyone else until his second returning?”
What you are referring to is: John 20:16-17.
What we know is, Jesus spent three days in Hades [unfortunately translated “hell” in the KJV] (Acts 2:22-34; cf. Psalms 16:9-10) which is also called Paradise (Luke 23:39-45).
This too is where the bodily dead are (Luke 16:19-31), until Christ returns the second time (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Once you exist, you will not cease to exist (Ecclesiastes 12:7 and Philippians 1:21-24).
2. “If someone is obedient to the Gospel plan of salvation (believes, repents, confesses, and is baptized), but assembles for fellowship with a group/congregation which does not bear the name "Church of Christ" on the outside of their building, is that person a part of the body of Christ that the Scriptures talk about?”
Your question is too vague for a real accurate answer. Frankly, I have had people ask questions like this to try and set some form of “trap” by being unclear (Luke 11:53-54).
One could use your reasoning to teach denominational conversion to Christ, which is impossible, since one must be taught about and understand the kingdom/church prior to conversion (Matthew 13:19 and Acts 8:12).
However, it MAY be that you are asking a question wherein what “seems” to be a twist is not (cf. Proverbs 18:13). Therefore, I’ll try my best to give you some things to consider without assuming too much.
A person obeys what they’re taught (Romans 6:17). You must be taught right to be converted (John 8:32, Colossians 1:5, Colossians 1:23, and I Peter 1:22-25). False doctrine does not produce Christians (II John 9).
There does not need to be any name on a building for the people inside worshipping to be Christians (Acts 20:7-8, Romans 16:3-5, I Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, and Philemon 1-2). Therefore, the name “church of Christ” on a building does not make one a Christian.
Yet, that is not to downplay the necessity of understanding in whom and by whom you are saved. This ties directly to being identified to the right name (Acts 4:10-12; cf. Ephesians 5:23).
On another RELATED note, regardless of the name on the building, whom you assemble with does have an impact on that person’s salvation (Psalms 1:1-2, Psalms 26:4-5, Proverbs 4:14-15, Proverbs 9:6, Jeremiah 15:17, I Corinthians 10:20, II Corinthians 6:14-18, Ephesians 5:11, I Timothy 6:5, II John 9-11, and Revelation 2:12-16).
3. “My wife and me are Christians. I am a Chicago Bears fan and my wife is a Packers fan. We both prayed to God for our teams to win. Why did he answer my wife’s prayer instead of mine? How does he choose which one of us to give our wishes to?”
He didn’t answer either of you because He’s not your carnal “genie” (James 4:3).
Most of what man thinks God is behind, He is not (Ecclesiastes 9:11).
Whether it is something like you’ve asked or many other things, we must all back up a realize that we are not puppets controlled by God, even when it comes to something He wills or does not will (I Samuel 8:1-10, Ecclesiastes 7:29, Acts 2:40, Philippians 2:12, etc.).
4. “I heard you say in a sermon something like if you were going to be a sinner you would be really bad. That’s dumb. Why would a preacher say anything like that?”
I really cannot directly reply to what I said, seeing as how I do not know what sermon you are referencing and what context I made a statement in.
What I do know is, I have made similar statements when discussing how there are the same consequences for sin whether we think they are small or great (James 2:10-12; cf. Revelation 21:8).
Godly men (preacher or not) know that God wants you to fully choose Him or sin (Joshua 24:15, I Kings 18:21, and Revelation 3:14-19).
Therefore, if you are going to choose Hell through sin, “go all in” because being a “good sinner” (foolish idea - good sinner) will do you NO GOOD (Matthew 7:21-23).
5. “Is there any such thing as a heavenly mother?”
The three that bear record in Heaven are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (I John 5:7).
They are all referred to as males (Acts 3:13, John 14:26, and Matthew 1:21).
Mary cannot be called such (Matthew 12:46-50).
Therefore, there is nothing saying that we have a “heavenly mother” to believe such.
6. “Should Christians use cell phones and tablet pcs for bibles. It seems wrong. They should have a book bound copy.”
First off, it is the word of God that matters, not the media in which we get it from (John 6:63, Romans 1:16, and James 1:21).
The word of God has been taught by mouth from the heart (Deuteronomy 6:6-7), written on stone (Exodus 24:12), written on sticks (Ezekiel 37:16-20), tables and books (Isaiah 30:8), paper and ink (Jeremiah 36:18 and II John 12), roll of a book (Jeremiah 36:1-2), roll with men’s pen (Isaiah 8:1), verbally in speech (Acts 2:14), etc.
Your doctrine would forbid any form in which you currently read the Scriptures for even our printed Bibles today are far advanced from anything used in the days of Moses through Christ. Therefore, consider your judgment of others (Matthew 7:1-5).
7. “In Genesis 11 God caused confusion among people but then the bible says elsewheres that he is not the author of confusion. This is a contradiction.”
Where does it say God caused confusion among people in Genesis 11?
He did confound [mingle, mix] their language as a punishment to them (cf. Psalms 33:10). In this, we see that continual biblical truth that you reap what you sow (Isaiah 3:10-11, Jeremiah 32:19, and Galatians 6:7-8).
The source of confusion is sin (Leviticus 18:23, Isaiah 30:1-3, and James 3:16).
The “elsewhere” you are referring to is something you’re twisting to assert that there is a contradiction. The truth remains, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints" (I Corinthians 14:33). So, where’s the contradiction?
8. “Can blasphemy of the Holy Spirit be forgiven today?”
I am not sure your question is correct. Maybe you should ask if blasphemy of the Holy Spirt can happen today. If it can, then it cannot be forgiven (Matthew 12:31).
I cannot tell you, from the Scriptures, what blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is. In the first century there was a different situation than we have today. They had the Holy Ghost giving miraculous gifts (I Corinthians 12:3-11), through the laying on of Apostle's hands (Acts 8:12-24), which no longer happens today (I Corinthians 13:8-10). Thus, I am not sure how those Scriptures could apply today.
Therefore, to some degree, James 4:17 applies here.
On a related subject (blasphemy against God)… You CAN speak foolishly about/to God and be forgiven (I Timothy 1:12-16). They mocked and killed Jesus in ignorance (Luke 23:27-46). Later, they were able to be saved (Acts 2:14-41). Jesus is God (Romans 9:1-5). The Lord promises that if we repent of our sins and be converted we can forgiven (Acts 3:19 and I John 1:9).
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© 2014 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