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WEEK 1 Q&A

QUESTION:  

What does Jesus mean in Luke 14:26 (NRIV) when he says, “Anyone who comes to me must hate their father and mother. They must hate their wife and children. They must hate their brothers and sisters. And they must hate even their own life. Unless they do this, they can’t be my disciple.”



RESPONSE:


This verse is not about truly hating your relatives but about the cost and sacrifices that we must be willing to make to follow Jesus.


Jesus often used hyperbole in his parables and proverbial statements.  That is, he gives an extreme example or makes an extreme statement to make a point.  This was a customary way of teaching in the First Century.


To understand his meaning here we note that this passage is introducing a conversation that Jesus is having with the crowds that have been following him.  Verse 25 says that “great crowds” were following him.  They were along for the spectacle of it and hoping to gain something for nothing.  Jesus, recognizing they were not interested in being faithful to his teachings or serious about his calling to follow him, used this proverbial statement to instruct them on the true cost of devoting their lives to him.  A true, devoted follower will not need to be hateful to their relatives in order to be obedient to Jesus, but they will need to be prepared to sacrifice whatever it takes to put Jesus first and all else second.

Putting this verse in context we go back to Luke 9:23-27 where Jesus taught “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” There are sacrifices we may be called to make in order to be obedient to Jesus and follow him.  It is not necessary to really hate our loved ones to wholeheartedly follow Jesus, but it may seem like it sometimes when we must leave them behind to go where he calls or to do what he desires.


Also, go back to Luke 5:1-11 and reread Jesus calling of his first disciples.  Verse 11 says, “they left everything and followed him.” Following the disciples travels and dealings all the way through the New Testament we see that they did not really give up everything, but it was the action of putting Jesus first and all else second.  Peter kept his wife and home because we know they returned there often to eat and sleep. Peter’s mother-in-law was healed by Jesus in Luke 4:38-39.  They remained in Peter’s house even after Peter left them to follow Jesus.  And the disciples had to continue to fish to eat and exist after following Jesus, so they still had their nets even though it says they left them behind to follow him.  It was the sacrifice needed to demonstrate their obedience and complete devotion to Jesus.


Are you willing to give up everything to follow Jesus?  What is it that holds you back?

WEEK 2 Q&A

QUESTION:


In Peter's discourse at Solomon's colonnade (Acts 3:22) and Stephen's recitation of the history of Israel (Acts 7:37), both cited Deut. 18:15 which states, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, brethren. Him you shall hear." (NKJV). I know Moses is speaking of Jesus. In what ways are they alike?9/23/2019 5:52 PM


RESPONSE:


Jesus and Moses were alike in several ways.  Here is a list from gotquestions.com*


Moses

Jesus

 

 

Moses was a Prophet and lawgiver

Jesus was widely accepted as a prophet who spoke the word of God and he regularly gave commands for his followers to obey

Moses mediated the Old Covenant

Jesus mediated the New Covenant

Moses escaped King who wanted to kill babies

Jesus escaped the murdering plans of Herod

Moses was the adopted son of King

Jesus is the Son of the Most High

Moses spent 40 years as a shepherd

Jesus is the Good Shepherd

Moses led God’s people out of physical bondage

Jesus leads people out of spiritual bondage

Moses performed many miracles

Jesus also performed many miracles

Moses held intimate conversations with God

Jesus often spoke to his Father in solitude

Moses constantly interceded for his people

Jesus stands to intercede for us at the right hand of God

 

While Moses and Jesus are alike in many ways – Moses being a type of savior for God’s people in the Old Testament – Jesus is the Almighty Savior of His own people for all time.  The writer of Hebrews says he Jesus is a better High Priest, Prophet, and King.  His atonement was also better than the Old Testament Priests once a year atonement.

  

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ[b] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Heb 10:11-14).


Moses’ ministry was a “… only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come… (Heb 10:1).  Jesus fulfilled all the requirements for salvation and the mediation between man and God is completed.  

Have you been washed in the blood of Jesus?


*https://www.gotquestions.org/Moses-and-Jesus.html

WEEK 3 Q&A

QUESTION 1:


In First Corinthians chapter 11 verses one through 17 Paul talks about the cutting of hair and wearing caps on the head for men and women. How does this apply to Christians in today’s world? 9/24/2019 4:21 PM


RESPONSE:


This is actually a very good question because there are many Christian church groups today who follow these guidelines in their fellowship as a test of holiness and even salvation.  It is very confusing for most Christians when some believers honor these passages while others do not.


The real question here is, “do Paul’s instructions apply to us just as they did to the Corinthians, and if so, how?”

The short answer is, “Yes,” and “No.”  More confused?  I will explain.


The tall grass of this passage is because Paul is dealing with very specific practices in a very specific locale and at the same time a very broad and universal principle that is not culture or location bound.  To understand what Paul means in this teaching and how to apply it to our lives today we need to separate the two. To do this in one page I will be brief.


To the very specific situation which Paul is addressing in this passage we need to understand the nature of the city of Corinth.  Corinth was a very multi-cultural and multi-religious hub of commerce.  Atop the mountain overlooking the city was the Temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.  As part of the worship of Aphrodite, men would engage in sexual acts with both women and effeminate men.  The cohorts of Aphrodite, both men and women, wore long loose hair as a sexual attraction. This was not for entertainment and preferences, this was a part of their worship.


As these men and women began to be converted and come into the worship services of the Christians they entered as they were and without any covering for their heads.  When they would stand to prophesy before the assembly the Jews would be distracted and even offended by their loos and long hair.  So, Paul, concerned about the fellowship within the congregation, invoked the long tradition of the Apostles in Judaic worship that instructed men to have short hair and women to cover their heads by either putting their hair up as a covering or wearing a veil or some such cover.  The purpose was to display a distinction between the worship of Aphrodite and the Worship of the One True God, Jehovah, and to preserve open and healthy fellowship among Jew and Gentile believers.


As to the universal principle, the Corinthians were creating great distractions in their worship services in more ways than one (e.g. speaking in tongues out or order, improperly honoring the Lord’s Supper).  But here, Paul was addressing the issue of both men and women wearing long loose hair in worship thereby creating a sexual distraction for the Corinthian believers.  When gathering for worship Paul wanted all attention to be on God and Jesus, the source of our spiritual life and salvation.


So, what is the principle for us today?  It is certainly not to dictate hairstyles and head coverings.  However, if our appearance in any way presents a sexual distraction in the worship service (really at any time) it is inappropriate dress or style for the Christian.  We do not need to be frumpy in our appearance or legalistic about our practices in any way.  We do, however, need to be aware of drawing more attention to our own appearance and dress than to the presence and worship of Jesus in the community.


Are you presenting yourself to God in worship in a way that brings honor and glory to him?  Do you value the fellowship of believers who may not have the same traditions as you?

WEEK 3 Q&A

Question 2:


In Galatians and especially on page 168 of our book Paul says that the flesh and the spirit that will battle continually in the Galatians. How does the spirit and flash both exist in a Christian at the same time?9/26/2019 12:00 PM


RESPONSE:


In Galatians 5:16-26, Paul discusses the contrast of the life controlled by the flesh and the life governed by the Spirit.

Let’s start by looking at the term “flesh” which Paul uses 18 times in Galatians.  He uses the term for sin only 3 times.  The scholar, F. F. Bruce* tells us that Paul uses the term “flesh” in four different ways.


First, he uses the term “flesh” to mean “bodily flesh,” or when referring to the body (his “thorn in the flesh,” and when speaking about circumcision). 


Next, he uses “flesh” in the sense of human descent or relationship.  For example, “the Jews are referred to as Paul’s “kinsmen according to the flesh’ (Rom. 9:3).


Third, Paul uses the term “flesh” in the sense of “mankind,” as in Galatians 2:16.


Finally, he uses the term “flesh” in the sense of “human nature,” as weak and unregenerate human nature, as in 5:16 – “…you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”


If we are in the human body on this earth, we will have a human nature.  While, as believers we have been regenerated (forgiven for our sin and made a new creation) and sanctified (set apart for God’s purposes) by Jesus’ death and resurrection and the Spirit’s work in us, we are still human beings.  We will have to deal with temptations and testing.  These are the “lusts of the flesh” that Paul speaks of in verse.  Paul describes the human life as believers by contrasting “walking in the Spirit,” and “fulfilling the lust of the flesh.”  In Gal. 5:19-21 Paul catalogs the “works of the flesh.”  This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers most of human sin.


In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul catalogs the “fruit of the Spirit.”


As believers we have the daily choice to either “walk in the Spirit” by practicing the things of the Spirit or “practicing those things which the “flesh,” our weak and unregenerate human nature, desires.


The desire to live according to the “flesh” will be overcome by the desire to please the Lord when we come to love Jesus more (“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” John 14:23) and to live our lives to his good pleasure.  Sin is like a cancer, and unless it is fed by some source, in this case our desire to continue to practice the works of the flesh, it will die. 


But perhaps the simple answer to how the flesh and the Spirit can exist at the same time in a Christian is in 5:17c which says, “…so that you do not do the things that you wish.”  Paul means that the desires of the flesh are our human nature, they are the things we wish to do because of our human nature.  The Spirit is in us to keep us from blindly following the desires of our human nature, which is opposed to the things of the Spirit.

Take an inventory of your current desires.  Are they of the flesh or of the Spirit?

 

* https://www.the-highway.com/articleAug03.html

WEEK 3 Q&A

Question 3:


We will judge Angels? (Page 128)9/29/2019 10:24 AM


Response:


For our reference here is the verse this question is referring to:


Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! (I Cor. 6:2-3, English Standard Version).


For context we note that this concept is being introduced in the center of a civil law suit among believers in Corinth.  Apparently, some believers were choosing to take their civil disputes before the local law officials rather than to deal with them among the believers.  Obviously here Paul is really upset by this and opposes those who would go to civil court before mediating any dispute in the Church.


Paul lays out a spiritual concept here that is not found any where else in scripture.  Therefore, it is hard to find a corroborating scripture to help us interpret this one.  What we do have are some clues to why Paul thinks we will judge angels.


First, we must answer the questions, “what angels are we to judge?”  Secondly, we must answer what he means by the word, “judge.”


What angels are we to judge? Isaiah 24:21-22 tells us that in the Day of Judgment, God “will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of earth on earth.”  We also see in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6 that the angels who rebelled in Heaven were kept chained in utter darkness until the day of judgment.


So, these verses tell us that the angels we are to judge will be the bad angels who “did not stay within their own position of authority (Jude 1:16, ESV)”.  These must be the angels who rebelled against God with Satan and were cast out.  It could not be the good angels who have remained faithful to God in their service to us as ministering spirits because they have no sin and therefore have no need to be judged.


The Second question to answer is, what does Paul mean by the word, “judge?”


In Heaven, believers will be elevated to a higher position, above the angels.  Although Psalm 8:5 says that God created us, “a little lower than the angels,” when we are glorified and transported to Heaven we will be raised up and seated with Christ on his throne (Eph. 2:6).  Jesus said in Matthew 19:28 that we will be seated on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.  2 Timothy 2:12 says, “we will also reign with him…”  And in Revelation 20:4, John writes, “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed.”  The picture in these verses is one of committed followers of Jesus being elevated to a position to rule over the nations and other beings with Christ in the Final heaven. 


The other piece of helpful information is to look at this term “judge” in the original language.  The Greek word for judge here is krino.  It has several meanings, but one is “to rule, or govern.”  It is most likely that Paul meant that we would rule or govern the nations and the angels with Christ when we are in the Final Heaven.

WEEK 3 Q&A

Question 4:


Women should remain silent in the churches... ? (Page 139)9/29/2019 10:39 AM


Response:


Here is the scriptural reference for this question:


 “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” (I Corinthians 14:34-35, NIV).


To be sure, this is a problematic passage in Paul’s writings.  Especially when compared to so many other passages that contradict this instruction.  One would think this makes no sense for Paul to instruct women to be silent in the churches and then four passages later write, “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.  But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” (I Cor. 14:39-40).  Why would he want sisters to be eager to prophesy and speak in tongues when he just told them to be quiet?


This conflict in Paul’s teaching to the churches has prompted many Bible scholars to believe that this passage was not in Paul’s original writings but was added by a copyist later for some reason.  While this finding is very disturbing, they have collected a mountain of evidence to this regard. There is not room to outline all their evidence here.  One can research this on their own.


The other problem with this instruction is that Paul does not mention this in any other church epistle, only here to the Corinthians.  This could be another issue that was descriptive to the Corinthian church and not other congregations that Paul founded.


There is scriptural evidence in the context of this passage (vv. 26-40) that the problem was really about persons in the Corinthian church, perhaps especially some women, who were not following the orderly rules of prophesying in the corporate meetings.  Notice, from the beginning of the context he instructs, “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation” (I Cor. 14:26bff).  He says, each one.  Does this not include the women?  Of course, because Paul in I Corinthians 11 just instructed the women who prophecy to make sure they did so with their head covered.  The women were expected to be able to speak because they all knew the passage from Joel and repeated here in Acts 2:17-18 that said, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”


Paul then ends his teaching on orderly worship by concluding, “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” (I Cor. 14:39-40).


So, it does seem that the passage instructing women to not speak in church is out of place and really about a problem that existed only in Corinth and had to do with keeping an orderly procedure when meeting together for worship.   

WEEK 4 Q & A

QUESTION:


It seems to me that Paul’s tone in Romans is much sharper and direct than his other letters. Do you agree and if so, what might be the reason?10/3/2019 10:04 AM

 

RESPONSE:


As one reads the writings of Paul three different voices may be observed.  Often Paul speaks in a pastoral tone, as in the final chapters of Romans (12-16) where he commends them in their relationships with one another and gives final greetings from all the saints.


Sometimes Paul speaks in the voice of a disciplinarian, perhaps a parental voice, as in Galatians where he is chastising the believers for falling for the false teaching of the Judaizers.


More often Paul speaks in a teaching voice as in the first 11 chapters of Romans where he lays out the theology of the Gospel of Salvation.  Some call Romans the Magna Carta of Christian Freedom.  It is the supreme theological piece of Paul’s writings.


The tone in Romans is very formal for two reasons.  First, Paul is writing to a group of believers he has not yet met personally.  Consequently, he is introducing himself and his gospel to them prior to his coming to visit.  It is a more formal teaching voice in chapters 1-11.  Paul desires to come to Rome to use the church there as a base for his westward mission.  Basically, he is putting his best foot forward while laying out his theological beliefs.

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WEEK 5 Q & A

QUESTION:


On page 265 Jesus uses the example of the wine and wine skins. I don’t understand what the meaning is for us. How do these verses apply to Christians today?10/9/2019 12:10 AM


RESPONSE:


This is a very good question.  First, let’s make sure we understand what the meaning is for the original audience.  The original hearers of Jesus’ parable were aware of how wine was processed.  As the grapes were pressed the juice would flow into a vat.  The fermentation process began immediately in the wine vat as the heat of the day burned down.  From the wine vat the juice would be poured into an animal wine skin to complete the fermentation process.  As the wine fermented it would expand and the animal skin would stretch.  If new wine was put into an old animal skin to ferment it would likely split open and the wine would be lost.


As with all parables, Jesus main point was a spiritual lesson.  For the Jews to accept the New Covenant that Jesus was establishing their hearts and minds would need to be renewed.  They would not be able to accept any new thing with their old minds and hearts set on the things under the Law of Moses.


For our application today we also must have our hearts and minds renewed by the Holy Spirit from the old man or old self that is enslaved to sin.  Only then can we receive the new heart and mind that Jesus gives us through his salvation.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM18IHSJvZo

Section Title

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WEEK 6 Q&A

QUESTION:


When Mark says on pg 351 that Jesus was “transfigured” what does that mean? From that point on did he look or appear different?10/19/2019 11:05 PM


RESPONSE:


There must have been a heavenly glow that fell upon him for that moment in time.  The Bible does not discuss it in detail nor are there any references to Jesus looking different to any of his followers after that experience.


The dictionary defines transfigure as to “transform into something more beautiful or elevated.”  Perhaps God wanted to give the disciples a glimpse of what we would be like in Heaven.  Consider John’s vision of Jesus in Heaven:


“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[a] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Rev. 1:12-16, NIV)”

WEEK 7 Q&A

QUESTION 1:



He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” John 6:65. Also pg 402 bottom of page Does this have to do with how some believe in predestination? I always thought we choose to believe.10/22/2019 10:27 PM



RESPONSE:


Yes, this is one passage that is used in teaching “predestination” by some.


It is such a complicated doctrine that there is not time or space to deal with it fully here, therefore a brief explanation of both interpretations will have to suffice.


John Piper, a great pastor, teacher and devoted Christian, believes that this verse is all about the drawing power of God.  The theory is that God draws those who he knows will believe and those he knows will not believe he leaves in their rebellion.  Piper believes that God’s drawing power could not be so insufficient as to draw any to him that would reject him and therefore all that he draws believe and are given to Jesus for his keeping (https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/skeptical-grumbling-and-sovereign-grace).  Therefore, God’s drawing power is both irresistible and the decisive impulse to come to and believe in God’s saving work in Christ.  For Piper, there is no distinction between the drawing power of God and the decisive impulse of the believer.  This interpretation seems to supersede the free will of the individual although the proponents of this theory explain free will in a different way than Wesleyan-holiness scholars.


The other interpretation, held by most Wesleyan-Holiness believers and teachers, is that God draws all people to him but has decided that his drawing power will not override the decisive impulse (free-will) of each individual to come to Jesus and believe in his saving work.  There is a clear distinction made between the drawing power of God and the decisive impulse of every believer.  The free will to choose to accept the truth as presented by the Gospel and accept it as a belief enough to trust in God’s saving work in Christ is the choice of the believer.


There are so many scriptures which teach this view:

I Tim. 2:3-4 (NIV)
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (Bold and Italics are mine for emphasis).

John 12:32 (NIV)
“And I, when I am lifted up[a] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

Rom. 10:13 (NIV)
“…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


To read these verses at face value makes it difficult to believe that God only draws some (only those God knew beforehand would believe) and not all people to him to be saved.


Jesus’ words in John 6:65 then are referring to the drawing power of God to enable individuals to believe in Jesus’ saving work on the cross.  The theological concept is “prevenient grace.”  The doctrine is rooted in Arminian theology and “is divine grace that precedes human decision” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevenient_grace).  Through prevenient grace God gives the power to individuals to enable them to be drawn to the Gospel, hear it preached, and then have the opportunity to accept it as truth for their own lives.


Rom. 10:17 (NIV)
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”


One of my favorite preachers is Alistair Begg.  He is known for the mantra, “the main thing is the plain thing; and the plain thing is the main thing.”  This is a good mooring when trying to interpret scripture.  What is the main thing we know about this verse in John 6:65? God enables individuals to come to Jesus and Jesus is the only way to salvation.


So, which theory do you believe?


This Church of Christ Pastor explains it very well.

http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2013/09-05.html  

WEEK 7 Q&A

Question 2:

 

Please explain Jude 1:8. 10/28/2019 10:54 PM

 

Response:


Jude 1:8 says, “In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.”


Wesley Notes (https://biblehub.com/commentaries/wes/jude/1.htm) says he is talking here about the followers of Simon Magus, the Gnostics and Nicolaitans.  See Rev. 2:15 and 2 Pet 2:10 as well.


Simon Magus was Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8:9-24.  Having witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit working through the ministry of peter and John he offered to pay them money for the gift of God so that when he laid hands on people, they would receive the Holy Spirit.


The Nicolaitans were followers of Nicolas, leader of a Jewish Sect that promoted everything that the Apostles taught.  They promoted eating anything offered to idols, blood and all, but worse, they joined in the orgies and perverted practices of the idolatrous groups and brought these practices into the Church.


The Gnostics, which the Gospel of John refers to, believed that physical matter was evil and only the spirit is good.  Therefore, anything that is done in the flesh does not matter because it is not real.  Only the spiritual is real.  So, Jesus’ human body was not real and therefore his crucifixion and resurrection would not be real.  Also, Gnostics believed they possessed a higher form of knowledge not from God but from some higher mystical source.


When Jude says they pollute their own bodies he is probably referring to what they do physically and spiritually.  Because they do not have concern for the physical as reality what they do in their bodies has no real consequence.  They are marked by a rebellious attitude toward their earthy spiritual leaders and even have contempt for heavenly beings.

WEEK 8 Q&A

Question:


On pg. 437 near the end of 1 John the writer says there are sins that lead to death and those that don’t. How would you explain the difference? 10/27/2019 9:05 PM


Response:

 

Here is the verse in question:

 

“If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 

All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death” (I John 5:16-17).

 

Just to be clear, John is referring here to the sins that do not lead to death and not the sin that does lead to death.

 

The best way to think about the difference is to understand repentance.  I John is all about confessing our sin and repenting from that sin.  So, the sins that do not lead to death are those sins for which one has confessed and repented.  The sin that leads to death is simply the ones that one refuses to repent from and continues to commit. 

 

This is also referred to as the “unforgivable sin.”  It is sin that is unrepented by design.  Some believers are afraid that they may be held responsible for sin that they can not remember committing and may have not confessed.  This is not the same situation as one who contemplates and intends to commit sin in blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’s conviction.  Sin by design is sin that one has no intention of ever confessing or repenting.  Since unrepented sin cannot be forgiven then it is the “unforgivable sin.”