August 31, 2020

Ep.1141: Does Christianity Preach the Gospel?

Critically examining the basic principles of what the gospel teaches

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:33]
There are so many kinds of Christians. Can we agree on what the gospel teaches?


[00:36:52]
What is our role in the gospel message?


[00:49:39]
Was the gospel message described in the Old Testament?


Theme Scripture: Romans 10:15

Every Christian group proclaims what they believe to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as we all claim to follow his leading and his life. The problem arises when we compare our doctrine, principles and life objectives with one another. Simply stated, it all just does not line up. There are SO many variations of Christianity; it is safe to say that we can find disagreement on just about any aspect of what Christianity is. The age-old question is, who's right? How do I know that the view of Christianity I adhere to is sound? How do I know that what I stand for is truly a God-honoring belief system? The only way we can think to answer these questions is to look at Christianity solely based on Scripture. Let’s put aside tradition and try to eliminate our bias and see how God’s word describes the Gospel of Jesus!

Continue Reading

The gospel did not start with Jesus

While there is no question about his central role in it, the good news was put in place when sin entered. In proclaiming consequences for sin, God in a veiled way told Satan that the seed of the woman would destroy him. The New Testament book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus will do exactly that. The point is that God proclaimed the remedy for sin before Adam and Eve had a family. Because Adam sinned willfully and Jesus died for him, we can see that the unborn family of the sinful Adam was already under the blood of Jesus. There are MANY Scriptures supporting this concept. All of humanity will have a legitimate opportunity for life!

Traditions

Throughout the history of Christianity, traditions have grown. In many cases, they have replaced the core values of the original message. Facing this debacle presents two challenges.  First, we need to be courageous enough to willingly and thoroughly examine the original gospel. The Scriptures must be allowed to stand on their own message. Second, we need to be willing to let go of any teaching or tradition that according to Scripture we conclude is false. This is hard in light of Christianity’s long denominational history of belief systems.  Why would we even question their adherence to the gospel?

The most direct answer to this comes from the New Testament itself. Jesus, Paul and Peter, Jude and John all warned about the message being corrupted over time. They warned us to be diligent in our adherence to truth. Check out our August 31, 2020 podcast, “Does Christianity Preach the Gospel?” for more.  We examined and challenged several common Christian teachings in light of the Bible. Then we looked at things like speaking in tongues, healing and financial support.  Analyzing the way these things were exercised in the early church, we compared their use today. We also looked at the teachings of hell and prosperity, seeking the New Testament for clarity. Do you have the courage to examine such things? This journey is not for the faint of heart!

 

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VIDEO: Does Christianity Preach the Gospel?

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Ep.1140: Does My Church Leadership Have It Right?

Uncovering what biblical church organization and leadership look like

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CHAPTERS

[00:11:33]
What's the difference between a pastor, elder, bishop and overseer as described in the Bible?


[00:30:16]
How were pastors chosen back in the New Testament?


[00:45:41]
Is each congregation supposed to guide themselves?


Theme Scripture: Mark 9:35

How is Christianity supposed to be organized?  If you look at the countless denominations we have today, you will see a wide variety of interpretations regarding leadership. With some, it all boils down to one individual leader. With others, it is a committee of several. In many cases, those in authority have the responsibility of delegating who is to oversee each of the local congregations. With so much variety, have you ever wondered if there is actually a right way to do all of this? If we’re able to go to church and feel blessed, does it even matter?

Continue Reading

What did the early church do? How did they decide which church leaders would lead where? Did the apostles give us a God-sanctioned system to perpetuate leadership for the flock all down through the age until now?

Jesus set the example

The first and perhaps most important aspect of Christian leadership is what Jesus himself dramatically instructed. The night before his crucifixion, his apostles were discussing amongst themselves who would be greatest in the kingdom. When they sat down to eat, Jesus as their teacher and master, humbly washed their feet. His message was simple: I am greater than all of you, and yet I am humble before all of you. Any greatness you may strive for or achieve requires you express this same kind of humility.

Jesus would teach them many things that night, but no other lesson was so profoundly demonstrated as their feet washing.

The New Testament describes Christian leadership by using a variety of words. We read about pastors, bishops, overseers, elders and shepherds.  We first ask if these all represent different positions within a hierarchy in the church. Most of Christianity has adopted this approach, but what if this system was not the intended result? What if the New Testament writers (Paul and Peter specifically) had something else in mind? To find out, we need to see how these responsibilities are written about and their requirements.

What is meant by "ordain"?

Another critical aspect of Christian leadership is how it is decided who is put in a position of responsibility. Today when we think of church leaders, we think of individuals who are “ordained” or appointed. The Bible does say to “ordain” elders in every church, but was it by the same process we use today? Remember, there were no seminary schools in the early church. This means the logistics of finding and placing congregational leadership was entirely different. Here again, we need to understand what the intentions of the New Testament writings were.

All we have done here is raise a lot of questions! Check out our August 24, 2020 podcast, “Does My Church Leadership Have it Right?” for answers. We examine the meanings of pastor, bishop, elder and the others to see how these responsibilities dovetail together. Then we dig into the process that Paul specifically relayed to the churches about how their leadership was to be established. We find what we believe to be simple and inspiring biblical truth. Listen in and tell us what you think!

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Ep.1139: Thou Shalt Not Covet – Is It Wrong to Want?

Building a foundation for our desires to be godly and appropriate

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View Series

CHAPTERS

[00:13:59]
If coveting is a form of idolatry, how can I reframe my thinking?


[00:34:22]
What's wrong with wanting what others have?


[00:57:12]
How does coveting ruin contentment?


Theme Scripture: Ephesians 5:5

When God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, they were in a specific order. Did you ever wonder why the last Commandment was to not covet? To covet in its most basic sense is “to have a strong desire for” something. What was there about the human propensity to want that God saw fit to leave it as the final thing to remember? Because wanting spiritually good things is good, we must assume that all coveting can’t be bad.

Continue Reading

The key here is figuring out where to draw the line. Are there degrees of goodness or evil attached to what and how we covet? Fortunately, the Bible provides us with ample evidence so we can not only perceive where the line is, but we can also learn how to stay away from it.

In Genesis, when God created the Garden of Eden, it says every tree was “pleasing” to the eye. The word for “covet” in the tenth commandment is the very same word as “pleasing” in Genesis. This means God built humanity to possess this characteristic of desire, so it's natural and healthy to have it. The problem with coveting or delighting in something is not the fact that we do it; rather, it is the object of that emotion.

Coveting is a sin of the heart

It develops on the inside where others cannot necessarily see it. Biblical history tells us Satan was the original coveter. He is prophetically spoken of in Isaiah as having his mind and heart set on raising himself up to the level of God. He focused on his throne being in the place of God’s throne.  Satan, then known as Lucifer, desired something that was not and could not be his. He wanted God’s power and place taken from God and reserved for himself. This is the kind of coveting the tenth commandment warns us about.

Israel’s tenth commandment focused on not coveting several things specifically relating to our neighbor. This focus reinforces two important points:

  1.  It confirms that all desire to want or delight in things is not evil, as “coveting” is not categorically condemned.
  2. It tells us just how bad it is to want your neighbor’s house, or spouse or life. The difference here is important. It reveals how a healthy desire for something can become dangerous when that desire has jealousy and obsession attached to it.

In the New Testament, being covetous is always and alarmingly associated with the worst kinds of sins. So, how do we put all this together? Check out our August 17, 2020 podcast, “Thou Shalt Not Covet – Is it Wrong to Want?” for more.  We break down the details of what the 10th Commandment warns against. We pinpoint the pattern that always exists when we inappropriately covet and uncover scriptural remedies.  Coveting, having a desire, can be really detrimental. But it can also be a powerful motivator for good.  Learn the difference so you can live the difference! Study the rest of the Commandments with us to see how they are still valid for Christians today.

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Ep.1138: Do I Treat You as My Neighbor?

Learning the life-changing meaning of being a good neighbor

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:43]
How did Jesus use an unexpected turn of events to teach a life-changing lesson?


[00:24:56]
Why did Jesus choose the Samaritan to be the good guy in the story?


[00:45:39]
How can action-filled compassion change our lives?


Theme Scripture: Luke 10:33

We live in volatile times. Justifiable demonstrations about justifiable concerns are overshadowed and even hijacked by those who simply seek anarchy and overthrow. We are descending into a tribal approach to our issues. If you do not agree with my perspective and my group, then you are considered a bigoted outsider who deserves to be shunned and put down. As sad as this is, it is nothing new. Back in Jesus' day, similar issues existed and even served as standards for living! Fortunately for us, Jesus spoke a simple story about the Good Samaritan that shook this unholy standard to its very core. His story was a response to the simple question, who is my neighbor? It seems vitally appropriate that we relisten and relearn the lessons Jesus’ simple story of the Good Samaritan.

Continue Reading

Everyone knows the basic story of The Good Samaritan. He is a guy who, while traveling on the road, comes across a Jewish man who has been robbed and beaten. The Samaritan rescues him by taking him to a nearby inn, caring for him through the night and paying for his care for another two days. If that were the whole story, it would be a wonderful and inspiring reminder of what human compassion looks like. But there was more to this story – much more.

A deeper agenda

A lawyer stimulated Jesus to tell this story. He asks Jesus about the Jewish Law, and Jesus replies with scripturally supported clarity. But the lawyer is not satisfied, as he seems to have a deeper agenda than just conversing about the loftiness of the Law. He is the one who asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Because Jesus sees a deviousness in this lawyer’s questioning, he answers him by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Samaritans and Jews

In Jesus’ day, the Samaritan people and the Jewish people were very much at odds with one another. Even though they shared the same heritage, each looked upon the other with disdain. The two peoples had major differences along political, religious and moral lines. One Bible commentator reported that if a Samaritan man even touched a Jewish man, he would seek the nearest body of water to jump into for cleansing! Jesus spoke this parable because of the lawyer’s question. He framed the characters in the story to draw his audience into the drama. The meaning of this story is profound, for it shows a Samaritan man treating his cultural enemy as he would treat his friend.

Check out our August 10, 2020 podcast, “Do I Treat You as My Neighbor?” for more! We delve into the details of all the little things the Samaritan did to become a humble hero. We examine the reactions of other Jewish men who passed by the beaten man before the Samaritan got there. Most importantly, we assemble and dwell on the lessons of what it means to be a neighbor to our fellow human beings. This simple story of compassion can serve as a gentle yet jarring wake-up call. Who is YOUR neighbor?

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August 09, 2020

VIDEO: What Will God’s Kingdom Be Like?

We are so fortunate that God gave us vivid clues about His kingdom on earth where most of mankind will live in the future. Parents and Bible class teachers, this short, animated video will get the kids excited about what’s to come, when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes! Subscribe to ChristianQuestions.com and never miss a new video!

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Ep.1137: Is Faith Built On Reason or Is Reason Built On Faith?

Explaining how biblical faith and reason must work together

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CHAPTERS

[00:16:00]
Where does reason fit in to establishing our faith?


[00:31:52]
How does the design of our planet aid in strengthening our faith?


[00:51:34]
Where does prophecy fit in to our faith?


Theme Scripture: Jude 1:3

Religious faith is widely accepted as contrary to reason.  It is assumed to be built upon mystical and even fantastical thinking.  It is thought that religious faith, when put to a test of reasoned criticism, would fail miserably. This conclusion may be true regarding many different religious systems in our world.  We can’t speak for any faith except Christianity and Judaism as taught in the Bible.  Regarding biblical faith, it is our firm stance that it will not only stand up to a reason test but is entirely dependent upon reason to exist. These conclusions are exactly opposite from what is generally accepted as true.  To support them we will begin a reasoned look at what biblical faith is, how it is meant to work and why it brings value to life.

Continue Reading

Mark Twain once said, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”  For many, this statement sums up their perception of Christian faith.  It is basically saying, we understand that religion requires belief in what we all, deep down know is simply not real.  While this may be a widespread and popular perspective, it is also very flawed and unfortunate.  What people who are opposed to living a life of faith assume is not at all what the Bible describes as a faith-based life.

The problems begin with the definition of faith

A common English language definition of "faith" is believing in something without proof.  Contrarily, the Bible defines faith as to believe something because you have sufficient proof.  It is not fanciful, wishful or emotional; rather, it is a sound conclusion based on the weighing out of evidence.  It’s no wonder there is such a gap between the opposing sides of this argument.  We are talking about two completely different things!

Enter the concept of reason which includes duly weighing the facts and evidence of a matter. Those who see living by faith as foolishness conclude reason is in direct opposition to that lifestyle.  They see the engagement of logical fact-based analysis as a surefire way to rightfully destroy any perceived credibility of faith.  On the other hand, those who see faith as a basis for their daily life see reason as an integral part of the formula.  They see facts, logic and thoughtful conclusions as necessary ingredients to their faith structure.  Can both sides be true?

Check out our August 3, 2020 podcast, “Is Faith Built on Reason or is Reason Built on Faith?” for more.  Let's put faith and reason in perspective from a Christian perspective.  We examine how reason is traced through biblical commentary on things like the order and complexity of the universe.  Next, we look at the intricacy of the planet Earth and that of our physical being, documenting what the Bible reasons on these things.  Faith and reason need each other.  The Bible is specific as to how they work together in a Christian’s life.  Bible truth is built on reason and faith is built on Bible truth!

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VIDEO: Is Faith Built On Reason or Is Reason Built On Faith?

Biblical faith is a sound conclusion based on weighing out evidence. Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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