July 2011 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. YouÕll have to examine each Scripture below to see the points.
1. ÒWe are all born in sin due to Adam's fall. No man was ever perfect. I suggest you read Romans 5:12 for a start. Ezek 28:15 is referring to Lucifer when he was created and was an archangel in heaven before he challanged God, not referring to us.Ó
á Sin is something you do (Romans 14:23, James 1:13-16, I John 3:4, and I John 5:17).
á Everyone who has been born has been perfect (Ecclesiastes 7:29 and Matthew 18:1-4).
á Moreover, the Scriptures list several who were perfect at one time or another (Genesis 6:9, Job 1:1, and Job 1:8). We often hear the, ÒJesus was perfect but no one is JesusÓ excuse. True, Jesus was perfect in being sinless. What is not true is the idea that weÕre not supposed to be like Jesus in perfection (I Peter 2:21-22, Luke 6:40, and Matthew 5:48). **For more on this point, see this sermon outline (especially to understand that IF a Christian sins they are made perfect again through repentance, confession, and the blood of Christ): http://www.wordsoftruth.net/maderighteousratherthanselfrighteous072011byeager.htm
á Now to the Scripture you want me to consider. Romans 5:12 says: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Where does this verse say that SIN is passed on from Adam? Death is passed on as all die (I Corinthians 15:22; cf. Hebrews 9:27). However, sin is not something that is passed from one generation to another (Ezekiel 18:20).
á In regard to Ezekiel 28:15 you might want to back up and read from verse 11. It is the king of Tyrus (Ezekiel 28:12) under discussion in that context. The language comparing him to a fallen angel no more makes that text literally about Satan than Matthew 16:23. When one sins they are taking on the character of Satan (John 8:44 and I John 3:8-10). Thus, a study of Ezekiel 28:12ff. will clearly show it is not literally Satan, but figuratively the king of Tyrus under discussion in that context.
á As for Satan being an archangel, I am not aware of the Scripture that says that. I do know that Michael is referred to as Òthe archangelÓ or chief angel (Jude 9). Satan is a fallen angel (Luke 10:18 and Revelation 9:1-2).
á For more on the fact that we do not inherit sin, please consider this link as part of your studies: http://www.wordsoftruth.net/wotvol10/wotbulletin02142010.html
2. ÒAmish lets young people seek to fulfill desires before taking adult duties in their Church. Do you think if we did there be more young people staying in the Church of Christ?Ó
á To be frank, this is really an ignorant question. The Amish are not the standard of authority for Christians (Job 32:8, II Timothy 3:15-17, and II Peter 1:3).
á Whether young or old, the Scriptures tell us to avoid temptation (Proverbs 4:14-15, Matthew 26:41, I Thessalonians 5:22, and I Peter 2:11).
á If someone teaches someone this is okay and that person follows it, both are lost (Isaiah 3:12, Isaiah 9:16, and Matthew 15:14).
á Furthermore, we have no authority to issue a get out of Hell free card to anyone so that they can experience sin (Romans 6:1-2 and Galatians 2:17). Sin has one result regardless of who says itÕs okay to do it (Ezekiel 18:4, Romans 6:23, and Romans 8:13).
á Finally, keeping people in Christ is done through Scriptural instruction (Acts 20:32 and I Peter 2:1-2) and through godly examples (I Timothy 4:12 and Titus 2:1-7).
á If you could even consider asking such a question you are neither instructed in the Scriptures (Isaiah 8:20; cf. I John 1:3-7) or a godly example (III John 11)!
3. ÒOur congregation is not learning much. We have a lot of mature members but the lessons we seem to be getting are full of basics, no meat. There are occasionally a few that give me something to ponder and think about throughout the week and there are some that we have not heard in a long time so they are a good reminder. It's frustrating that we don't get more meat and not so much milk. I find it hard even if I'm being an active listener or active in the congregation. I've been listening to your sermons so I can learn something. I talked to the elders. IÕve asked my husband to do something about it. Nothing is changing. What more can I do?Ó
á Listen, I cannot give you complete Scriptural advice only knowing one side of this story (Proverbs 18:13). Thus, what is said from here forward has to be considered as somewhat INCOMPLETE counsel.
á It may be that the preacher there is focused on teaching the weak and meat would just cause them to choke (I Corinthians 3:1-3 and Hebrews 5:8-14). It is not wrong to spend most effort in teaching toward the weak (I Corinthians 12:22-24 and I Thessalonians 5:14).
á Preachers are expected to be longsuffering in teaching (II Timothy 4:2). I can tell you, from many experiences, that it is very frustrating for us who preach to have to stay with the first principles.
á On the other hand, if this man is just teaching milk because heÕs lazy, ignorant, or something else, that is a big problem. You should, while keeping in your place as a woman (I Timothy 2:11-12), seek to find out why he preaches and teaches the lessons that he does. If he is an incapable teacher (James 3:1) that is something the elders will need to deal with. If heÕs dumbing down the brethren, this is another problem (Hebrews 6:1ff.). If there is a real problem that doesnÕt get handled, you may have to find sound brethren [if youÕre sound yourself] elsewhere to assemble with (I Timothy 6:3-5).
á If the situation is innocent, you may just have to continue studying the Scriptures (as you should be doing anyway) outside of services to grow deeper in the faith (John 5:39 and II Timothy 2:14-18).
4. ÒCan a man be a preacher if he refuses to say anything that will cause someone else discomfort? Also, what if the preacher just fears starting trouble and having to deal with church conflict?Ó
á Before we even talk about being a preacher, one must be willing to stand up and confess the Lord (Matthew 10:32-33) and defend His truth (Jude 3). This will cause conflict (John 3:19-21, John 7:7, Acts 5:28-33, and Galatians 4:16).
á You cannot be a faithful CHRISTIAN (not just preacher) if you want everyone to like you (Proverbs 29:27, Matthew 10:22, Luke 6:26, and John 15:18-19).
á A preacher cannot be one who is afraid (Luke 12:4-5) to speak the truth with ALL AUTHORITY at anytime (II Timothy 4:2 and Titus 2:15), regardless of the potential for trouble (Isaiah 51:7, Luke 12:1-9, Acts 5:40-42, Acts 20:17-24, II Corinthians 12:10, Ephesians 6:19-20, Philippians 2:17, Colossians 1:24, and James 5:10).
5. ÒSo, I know a congregation (another church of Christ) that has some error. I have a good friend that is going there. I have talked with my friend about some of the error there. This has not helped because my friend does not have say in what goes on over there. Am I wrong if I try to talk to the elder I know or maybe the preacher? I donÕt want to be divisive or break autonomy of that congregation. What should I do?Ó
á Similarly to question #3 (cf. Proverbs 18:13), I do not know the specifics so it is hard to answer this question with a sure answer. Thus, I will answer only in a general sense.
á Sometimes error is thought to be occurring, appearances suggest so, but facts and appearances are different (Joshua 22:1-34). Thus, be cautious (John 7:24). Get confirmation of what is really going on before you under or over react.
á IF, you know there is error going on amongst Christians you are bound to try and help them with that problem (Galatians 6:1 and James 5:19-20).
á If it is a private manner, such is dealt with beginning privately (Matthew 18:15-17).
á If it is a matter of error in which it is not a sin between just two parties, then you may address all involved based on the reports youÕve received (I Corinthians 1:10-13 and I Corinthians 5:1-8, etc.).
á To be clear, even if youÕre not a member of a congregation you are duty bound to help them come out of CONFIRMED error if such is possible. You may even include the aid of other faithful brethren (Acts 15:1-35).
6. ÒThe church is the bride of Christ. So, can we conclusively say 2 John written to the church?Ó
á The church of Christ is the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-32 and Revelation 21:1-2).
á However, II John is written to an elect lady who has a family (II John 1; 4; 13).
á The church does not have children! We are the children of God (Galatians 3:26). Thus, II John is literally written to a woman in Christ. God is not a grandfather to children the church bears.
á This is lady being addressed (II John 5).
á The term elect [chosen] does not impart any meaning other than she is a chosen one, just as we all are (Colossians 3:12 and I Peter 2:9).
7. ÒWhere in the bible do you get the crazy idea that we are to follow examples in the bible for today? Commands are commands, but examples donÕt mean we have to do them.Ó
á I Corinthians 4:16, I Corinthians 10:1-11, I Corinthians 11:1, I Corinthians 11:23-26, Philippians 3:17, Philippians 4:9, I Thessalonians 5:6, I Timothy 1:16, II Timothy 1:13, James 5:10, and I John 2:6.
© 2011 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