The following is a summary of the conversation with the intent to educate, inform as well as encourage meditation and studying of the Word of God, encapsulated in the Holy Bible.
Q - Why did Jesus have Apostles ?
Is it because Jesus was instituting a clergy? Surely if there were no need for priests or bishops He would have simply trusted all of his followers or 'disciples', as a whole, to have carried out his message.
A - The simple answer is to set an example. Whenever it is required to build something, words help but more so, examples accomplish greater things. People listen but more do when they see an example, because examples provide credibility, integrity and attitudes. Every plan has similar components which include vision - "I will make you fishers of men"; then the how - "by leading, teaching and serving"; which are the three offices of Jesus and all followers of Christ like the apostles. Finally, comes leveraging - "spread the gospel", which was Jesus' last direction and example.
Q - To whom and why God gave the Sabbath ?
Why is this day so important and why churches have this on different days and to who and why God gave the Sabbath ?
A - The Sabbath is not about taking a break as many people think it means, for when in Genesis it says, 'God rested on the seven day' This is more referring to God having completed creation, He looked at it and was satisfied. God doesn't take vacations. The law twisted what God ordained to be a day of observing God and His works. As when one go to Temple or church. Sabbath is not for man to rest but for God to be honored, revealed and celebrated. That is why Jesus said, man is not created for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man. Man is to control the Sabbath and not the other way around. The actual day of Sabbath by law is broken because Jesus clarified the purpose of it. To take time away from works and remember who gives the power to create wealth, prosperity etc. We can honor God everyday but God asks us to keep one special day for this honoring called the Sabbath. To give Him undivided attention. Adam did not work to create his garden but was given it by God and told to tend to it on the sixth day. God then on the seventh day ordained it to be a time to marvel at God's creativity and power. At this time Adam has no concept of laboring requiring a physical rest. Man in himself does not have the power to create but is ordained to be a steward of God's will to aid to create in the same manner God demonstrated, by speaking life. Before God could teach Adam how creation is done, they fell from grace and was kicked out of the garden. Then by toil did they learn to survive and thus requiring rest as mankind defines today. It is why right after the tree of knowledge is placed in the garden, satan comes, because he has no power to destroy what God did in the first six days. He needs man to do it for him. The story of creation is also a spiritual example of how we today must operate not by toiling but by Faith and stewardship enter into the rest (confidence) of God being the one who provides, protects and orders
Q - How is Grace different from the Law ?
My understanding is that the law is more important than Grace, because Grace allows for sin and the law keeps us on our toes so that we are justified before God.
A - When the law, starting with the commandments were given it was God's way of a check list for the jews not to sin, because up that time there was no guidance as to what God ordained, especially since the jews were coming from a pagan society with the Egyptians. The problem became compounded because the jews missed the whole point of the law and made them a chain around their necks. In other words they made the law higher than the intent for it, which was to bring them into Holiness. It took for Jesus to try and clarify how the law was to held by stating the summary of the ten commandments under the new commandments to love God first and your neighbor as yourself. Because these are done from the heart rather than an outward show. Why? because God is not looking for robots, or compliance out of fear but an appreciation and an inward revelation of keeping the commandments and law. When the law is followed by the wrong attitude, then we are condemned, but when we do our best with the right intentions but still sin, then Grace is available to us as we seek forgiveness and work towards not sinning anymore. Grace is not earned or cannot be attained by any laboring on our part. It is because God loves us that Grace is made available to us. Having Grace is not an excuse or free jail card to sin. God is not mocked by our actions whether inwardly or outwardly but will reward each for their attitude in keeping His laws, commandments. We are in the Grace period now, but this will pass at the judgement time.
Q - Am I condemned because of sex before marriage ?
Before becoming a Christian, I had sex with someone. Now having accepted Jesus. am I condemned because of sex before marriage ?
A - The sanctity of marriage is scared to God as is the relationship between Christ and His bride. In that relationship, Christ is pure while His bride meaning us is filled with past history. When we come to Christ as in accepting Him as personal Savior and Lord over our life; we have to come remorsefully for the forgiveness and removal of sin from our lives. Having sex before marriage is no different than any other carnal sin. So by becoming a Christian one has put away the carnal flesh and work towards the things of the Spirit; with the knowledge that old things have passed away. Christ's blood paved the way for a new beginning with the understanding that having accepted the blood we no longer seek or repeat the things of the flesh which cause us to sin.
Q - How important is a church's denomination ?
Every church seem to have there own theology and say that their denomination is correct, how important is this ?
A - God will not ask your denomination affiliations or your theology at the judgement seat, but did you follow His and Jesus' decrees, commandments and directions as outlined in the bible, which is "seek the Kingdom". For how can you be judged if not by a foundation and examples that speak to what is required. This is why Paul, says that the Kingdom of God is more than meat and what is needed and why the claim to be a follower of Paul, Peter or Apollos (otherwise known as denominations) is wrong, for how can Christ be divided.
Q - Why aren't the churches like Jesus' ministry ?
When I compared today's churches and to what the bible describes as Jesus' ministries there is little or no comparison. Is it that His examples no longer have any value today?
A - The answer may lie in the purpose of most churches as "care takers" of the word and people. Jesus' ministry was never about taking care but of "driving a sword" with miracles, power and word with the Holy Spirit. He also was about setting the example. If the church sets an example of sitting in pews only on Sundays, then why would you expect your congregation want to go to minister to the world. Jesus was a leader in showing rather than talking.
Q - What is the purpose and importance of work ?
Is work just to cover expenses and what purpose it serves and how important is it ?
A - The idea of work is biblical with the first employment given by God to have Adam tend and expand the garden. Work is the method were by we earn seed to sow as in tithes, offerings and alms, so that God in turn gives us a harvest for us to reap and then sow again, keeping the cycle going. What happens is most people use their seed for short term thinking, hoarding it, which affects the harvest God wants to give. This is shown with Abel and Cain and with Jacob and Esau. The bible says God "worked" six days, but does not say number of hours, so one technically can work 24 hours for six days. The work is not the issue but the weight of the work, for if you enjoy your work then it's not stressful but if it becomes stressful, causing body, mental and spiritual distress, then this can affect your Salvation and others around you, causing strife and where this exist ever evil work. Earning your way is also troublesome, for God says, "all your needs are supplied" and "delight in me and I will give the desires of your heart", which covers any and everything. Adam was given a garden of paradise but by "earning" to be independent, not relying on God ended up reaping a harvest of toiling. No job or amount of money can replace God's abundant provision but by our correct view and attitude to things that "gather moth" do we have a revelation of work, money and a job (business) for our life and God's will.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" - Hosea 4:6.
When we become Christians we essentially become a follower of Jesus Christ and ultimately God. Because the gift of Salvation is not earned but by Grace, God has in His Mercies and Compassion made it possible for our Redemption through and by the Blood of Jesus by His Sacrifice on the Cross. This Salvation can be lost or toss around like a boat on a raging sea if we do not build on the very foundation of our Faith with Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding of God, The Word, The Spirit and our place in the Kingdom. - Selah.
Q - Is it right for a christian doctor to perform an abortion ?
Some say that causing death to a fetus is not as serious a crime as causing death to a person. Is it right for a Christian doctor to perform an abortion ?
A - The right of a woman's body is hers. For how can "Christians" force what God has given as Free Will. This is God's first gift to mankind. The only thing God has stated that with this comes consequences. The question for the woman is not about law or secular rights, but Why? This can vary from unwanted pregnancies, health reasons and even money. What reason is given will determine the consequences of such actions. We know life is precious at any level and even more the potential of that life. A Christian doctor must also ask the same question of, Why. For by Faith and Grace, he knows how precious life is to God as with examples like Moses, who is a founding father of the Nation of Israel; who without intervention may have altered God's plans. No simply reason can ever justify a lost of life. Now, he has both a moral and professional consideration whether or not to perform an abortion and only he in the sight of God can justify his decision. An abortion does not have to lead to the lost of life, and a doctor more than any can determine, direct the saving of a life that is no longer wanted by the mother. He does have personal choice in the matter and hopefully his reasons will be based on love, compassion and the word of God; for did not God Himself allow all the first born of Egypt to die. Whether a fetus or born child, the taking of it brings sorrow, distress and agony which can last for years. Every doctor knows that conception is the start of life, for isn't a man's seed life and a woman's egg also; both requiring blood which is the essence of life. When blood does not flow then there is no life. I think a larger question is "are we to admonish those who should know better". The answer again is with the question, Why?
Q - Is Christianity a Religion ?
When I go to church, many of what is being done seems repetitive and unmeaningful. Many times I don't feel as if I am really being a good Christian as these rituals don't make me feel any better than when I first became a Christian and started attending my church.
A- The simple answer is no. Christianity is not a religion. When the church was original started as in the Judeo-Christian movement it had no rituals but because the people (gentiles) who were being converted used ritualistic formats, some of these rituals were kept. When the law was established by God it was to help the Jews to discipline themselves for Holiness. Unfortunately, today many have fallen into a groove of complying to rituals, rather than walking from the heart and with Grace. The former being an outward walk and the latter an inward walk. Paul spends extensive time to try to free the church from enslaving themselves to rituals, laws and doctrines. Ultimately, when we stand before God, He will not ask what was our ritual but did we obey His commandments to first love Him and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Q - What is the Holy Trinity ?
Can someone explain to me what is the Holy Trinity and why some churches do not believe this and is there reference to it in the Bible ?
A - The Holy Trinity is the understanding that the God Head has three main components to it just as a government would have different parts to it for it to function. There is God who is the "commander in chief", providing decrees, declarations and directions; then The Word, Jesus who sets the example and then the Holy Spirit, that provides support/counsel, like an ambassador does, for God's will to be done. The bible does not clearly state the "Holy Trinity", but by experience, history which is supported by wisdom, knowledge and understanding there are many occurrences where this Trinity is revealed. Bible verses indicate God is not singular as He refers to "us" in different scenarios. Also, Jesus constantly refers that He and God are one; but puts into perspective that as God sits on His Throne, He, Jesus has been sent. The bible also makes reference to the Holy Spirit being sent for mankind and will guide us. These three distinct roles are repeated through the bible, reflecting a position of commanding, setting the example and aiding what has been willed. The word trinity was coined by scholars as a way to explain God's authority and having the same goals, mind and outlook determined that they act in unity, supporting and stabilizing the God Head. Just as a three legged stool, each having equal importance to support, stabilize the seat (Throne) of God. Numbers signify roles and number 1 means in dependence = God; 2 means unity = Jesus; 3 means complete = Holy Spirit; when combined we have the Holy Trinity.
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