Saturday, 13-May-2017

Does the Trinity doctrine stand up to reason?

How can anyone explain the essential nature of God? The God of the Bible is unlike anything else in human experience.

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Thoughts and words are the currency of the spirit

What makes mankind different from animals? It is our God-given ability to think rationally and communicate verbally. How, then, should we think and speak?

The Gospel

The Bible Gospel message is very simple: God loves you so much that He died for you on a cross, gaining victory over sin and hell on your behalf.

This good news is found throughout the Bible, in both Old and New Testaments. A concise summary appears in I Corinthians 15:3 and 4, the Apostle Paul speaking:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

Sometimes human teachers take away from the Gospel saying, for instance, that our sin is not the reason Jesus died. More often they add rules and regulations to it, furthering their own agendas. But the true Gospel is very simple, and believing it brings new life.

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Every day is a good day to praise God. What about formal worship?

Rey asks: What is the correct day of worship and why? I was brought up attending sunday church, later in life i was told that it was not the correct day of worship, which is it and can you give me any evidance from the bible?
Question about A Point of Doctrine: The Sabbath
Motivation - Student: Doing research
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 25, Monday, 08-Aug-2011]

The Day of Worship

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16ff [KJV]

In the middle of chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul rattles off a string of commands to church goers. They appear in the box at the right, and they are commanded without regard to time frame. We are to execute these commands continuously, living a godly life and acknowleging His goodness to us at all times.

So, based on these instructions, and hundreds more like them in the Old and New Testaments, every day is the correct day of worship. We worship God at all times.

Men, as usual, tend to cloud the issue. If a person or a religious group makes a big deal over a single day of the week for worship (usually Saturday or Sunday), and if the issue becomes so consuming that it detracts from daily, continuous worship, it directly violates the Second Commandment:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. [Exodus 20:3, KJV]

Instead of getting hung up on 'correctness' of worship, why not praise God at all times, praying, listening, and obeying Him with your whole being. This, most certainly, is God's will for all his creatures.

In a passage known as doubtful things, the apostle uses an example of two Christians who regard different days differently:

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.
- Romans 14:5ff [KJV]

For those who follow Jesus Christ and the New Testament, it is biblical to set aside certain days for certain spiritual activities, or not, according to one's own personal preference. This is true, according to Romans 14:6, only if it is done unto the Lord, that is, through faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

So, Rey, if you go to church on Saturday, that's great. If you go to church on Sunday, or Friday, or Tuesday, or any day of the week, that's just as great. The New Testament gives you free leeway to choose one or many days of worship as you see fit. Be persuaded in your own mind that you are choosing your days in faith, and that you follow the commands of 1 Thessalonians without ceasing. And, by all means, do not choose zero days for worship each week. That's not great!

Such spiritual freedom was not always the case. In Old Testament times God's people worshipped according to a precise, God-ordained timetable of daily, weekly, and yearly celebrations. Jews and some Christians today operate on such a schedule. As long as personal motivation for the Jewish timetable does not cross the lines of Exodus 20:3 or Romans 14:6, everything is fine. There is a comprehensive explanation of the Jewish calendar at the Judaism 101 web site. It is fascinating and edifying to study the Jewish calendar. Every Bible student should do it.

Be careful, however, of any 'Bible professional' who wants you to prefer one day over another according to his or her Bible-based guidelines. One can easily interpret various passages in the Bible to make it look like you are falling short unless you tow the line and worship only on a particular day. Romans 14:5-6 is the passage that neutralizes such strategies, which often have hidden agendas on the part of the 'professional.'

No Bible-based discussion of days of the week is complete without mentioning God's wonderful gift of the Sabbath day.

God's Sabbath

The Sabbath Day (Friday evening to Saturday evening on our modern calendars) ties God's act of creation to all people, not just Jews or Christians, via the fourth Commandment:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
- Exodus 20:8ff [KJV]

Jewish commentator Dr. J. H. Hertz says Jews are to treat the Sabbath 'as a day unprofaned by workaday purposes. In addition to being a day of rest, the Sabbath is to be a holy day, set apart for the building up of the spiritual element in man (Philo). Religious worship and religious instruction -- the renewal of man's spiritual life in God -- form an essential part of Sabbath observance ... The Sabbath has thus proved the great educator of Israel in the highest education of all; namely the laws governing human conduct.'

Since Jews do not subscribe to the New Testament, they are not free to attend formal worship by their own preferences as allowed by Romans 14 (and several other passsages). Only under the New Covenant is worship more free. Nevertheless, one-in-seven days set aside for personal spirituality, which may or may not include formal worship services, is a strong biblical pattern, and Dr. Hertz's advice is well-heeded by all people, Jews, Christians, and everyone else.

The rhythm of the seven day week, i.e., the creation week of Genesis chapter 1, is also remarkable. Hertz continues 'The proportion of one day's rest in seven has been justified by the experience of the last 3,000 years. Physical health suffers without such relief. The first French Republic rejected the one day in seven, and ordained a rest of one day in ten. The experiment was a complete failure.'

Christian theologians analyze the Old Testament calendar in light of New Testament revelation. The daily sacrifices of ancient Israel tie to Paul's pray without ceasing injunction, the yearly Jewish feasts couple well with New Testament fulfilment of prophecy, and the weekly Sabbath ties directly to belief in Jesus Christ in Hebrews chapter 4:

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
- Hebrews 4:9ff [KJV]

Summary

Most Christians want to honor the Lord with the firstfruits of their time:

Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. [Proverbs 3:9, KJV]

To do this, they go to church on Sunday, the first day of the week. Some want to follow the Old Testament pattern of Sabbath (Saturday) worship. The important thing is to love and worship God, King of the universe. If you have placed yourself under the New Covenant by surrendering to Jesus Christ, your specific worship schedule is up to you.

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Pending Question

Chuck M asks: Where do we go when we die? When I went to a Catholic grade school many years ago, the Sisters taught us that when we die, we go to purgatory. I don't see anything about purgatory in the Bible.
Question about A General Question: Meaning of a passage
Motivation - Curiosity: Sincere curiosity
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 248, Sunday, 26-Mar-2017]

Hi Chuck -- That's a KEY question, isn't it? All religions have an answer for it. Many religions teach that we are re-incarnated, i.e., brought back to life in a different body. Some say we become infused into the cosmos in an mysterious, enlightened state. Others say we simply cease to exist. Since you believe the Bible, the important answer is the one from the Bible.

First, the Bible teaches that mankind is fundamentally different than the animals. Man is made 'in the image of God' (Genesis 1:26) and animals are not. There are many distinct differences between man and animals. Attributes such as wisdom, compassion, truthfulness, faithfulness, love, abstract reasoning, mercy, acting counter to instinct, use of tools, written communication, pursuit of happiness, righteousness, creativity, burying of dead, wrath, free will, art, music, humor, morality, rationality, trade, and a sense of beauty are 'supernatural' attributes that do not occur in animals, only in mankind. We call the supernatural part of of man or woman his or her 'spirit,' which is distinct from his or her body.

The Bible says that when we die, our body rots away, but our spirit continues to live. The most understandable passage about what happens when we die is found in 2 Corinthians:

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. - 2 Corinthians 5:8

This scripture says that when our spirit is not with the body, it is with the Lord, in His presence. What is not clear in this passage, or any other passage, is the precise timing of the event.

Most Protestants say that the absent-then-present event happens immediately, and there are scriptures which support this view. Most Catholics say that there in an intermediate state between absence and presence, known as Purgatory, and there are scriptures which support this view. There is no sure-fire way to tell which is correct, because the Bible does not have a sure-fire answer.

I am a Protestant. I respect my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ, and I know personally many Catholics who demonstrate their love for Jesus more than I do. Therefore I will not completely dismiss Catholic doctrine. But I will tell you why I believe the doctrine of Purgatory is faulty.

The Catholic doctrine of Purgatory stems from the Catholic doctrine of venial and mortal sin. Venial sins are ones that are not so bad, and these can be cleansed during a stay in Purgatory. The idea of a sin that does not fully condemn immediately, or is not fully cleansed by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, is foreign to the Bible. Sin is breaking God's Law, and God's Law is a unit. If you break it at one point, you break it at all points:

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. - James 2:10

Hence, to my way of thinking, Purgatory does not exist. But there are many Christian people who subscribe to the idea.

Seeking Bible truth is a good thing. But arguing over religious doctrines holds questionable value. Better is demonstrating love for God and love for others, for

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. - Matthew 22:37ff

Does the Bible prohibit collecting interest on loans?

Is it ok to charge interest on commercial loans? The Bible says 'yes.'

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If your wife is angry and domineering, it may be her fault. But it's probably you, her, and Jezebel.

If you are living with a contentious spouse, we have several steps you can take:

  1. Understand what is going on spiritually
  2. Enlist professional help
  3. Seek God about this specific issue

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What the Bible says -- concisely.

The Bible makes it clear that once an embryo reaches the biblical stage of unformed substance, adoption, not abortion, is the proper way to avoid a grievous sin and minimize the effects of unwanted pregnancy. The precise time of unformed substance is not specified in the Bible, but it is surely early in the pregnancy. Further, the Bible is full of encouragement for loving parenting of young children. Remember: God is for you. He loves you beyond measure.

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Buying Gold and Silver

Mon, 26-Jun-2017 03:45:16 GMT, unknown: 642335 ABHr/aORIpG76
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