September 27, 2021

Ep.: How many wives did Adam have?

The mythology of Lilith is first mentioned in ancient Babylonian demonology as a class of winged female demons that attacks pregnant women and infants. The myth migrated to the world of the ancient Hittites, Egyptians and Greeks.
The earliest surviving mention of her name appears in the Sumerian epic poem, Gilgamesh, a hero who slays monsters and assists a goddess.  A dragon and “Zu-bird” appear as well. Her appearance in various folklore goes on, and sometime in the Middle Ages around the year 1000, a new twist was added to the mythology by Jewish sources – that she was Adam’s first – and terrifying – wife who left Eden because she was treated as man’s inferior. Unwholesome sexual practices are linked to Lilith as she powerfully embodies the demon-lover myth.
None of the Patriarchs made mention of Lilith, nor do Jesus or the apostles.  The Apostle Paul, arguably the chief of Gentile conversions, never even hints at the idea of Adam having a bitterly-estranged wife who inhabits the darkness and is responsible for the primal deception of mankind.
Lilith is found in Jewish mysticism, the sort one would find in the Zohar, because these are the doctrines of Kabbalah–the Synagogue of Satan mentioned in Revelation 2:9.
Kabbalah absorbed the ancient mysteries of Babylon.  Kabbalistic doctrines and practices are so pervasive in modern culture, you can find them in movies, literature, and even corporate logos—all of which devout Christians avoid.
The point is: traditions such as Lilith were adopted by Jews who practiced witchcraft and sorcery, Jews who would later deny Christ and clamor to have him killed, as Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16. Kabbalah is a different religion, one that the Bible specifically forbids, along with all of its myths and traditions.
Just as you should not be deceived by stories of Zeus and Aphrodite, or the Babylonian gods of Anu, Enlil or Shamash, or their many demons we should  stay away from the satanic mythological stories of Lilith and any other entities or principles that are unscriptural and dangerous to your spiritual health.
To learn more about what the Bible says about demons listen to, “How Do Demons Influence Our World?”

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September 27, 2021

VIDEO: Are the Dead Really Dead?

Yes. The Bible confirms this.  Have your children watch this short animated video to learn more about death and the resurrection of ALL mankind.

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September 27, 2021

Ep.1197: Can Christians Be Cursed and Curse Others? Curses Series (Part III)

Determining what curses are real through a New Testament lens

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View Series

CHAPTERS

[00:13:09]
Did Jesus ever curse anyone? Did he ever teach us to curse anyone?


[00:32:02]
What did the Apostle Paul say about curses?


[00:45:37]
How should Christians deal with curses?


Theme Scripture: Mark 11:21

The word “curse” is overused and under comprehended. Cursing can mean using words that are not acceptable to repeat in public. To curse can mean to call upon a perceived other-worldly power for the purpose of harming someone or something. Cursing can also mean the expression of great disdain and loathing for people or things. In Part II of our 3-part Curses Series, we observed in great detail how to properly understand cursing, especially the curses of God in the Old Testament. Today we dive into curses in the New Testament to find the differences and similarities with the Old Testament. Several people “cursed” in the New Testament, including Jesus. What does it all mean to us here and now? Are curses real today and if so, what should we do?

Continue Reading

Jesus cursed!

The idea that Jesus “cursed” people or things can be a disturbing one.  To understand what is meant by this, it is important to focus on the usual areas of concern, definitions and context.  The Jesus uses when he talks about curses is a convincing one. It means to “execrate” (to have great loathing for) by analogy, to doom. It comes from two Greek words that include a sense of calling down harm upon someone or something. In the pagan Greek and Roman culture of Jesus’ day, this word would carry a sense of gods and magic being involved. In Jesus’ case, it had everything to do with God’s will and God’s judgments.

What about that fig tree?

The day after Palm Sunday when Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, he saw a fig tree and proclaimed it to become fruitless from that day forward. The following morning the tree was withered. Jesus, by the power of God’s spirit, “cursed” this tree to dramatically show that Israel (symbolically represented by the fig tree) would lose their favor with God, as they would reject and crucify Jesus. There are several other times Jesus uses this specific Greek word for curse.

The Apostle Paul also wrote several times about curses. He referenced Israel and the “curse of the Law,” as well as referencing curses regarding Christians who misrepresent or walk away from the gospel. What did he mean? Check out our September 27, 2021 podcast, “Can Christians be Cursed and Curse Others?” Curses Series (Part III) for more. We carefully categorize which words for curse mean what so that we can understand the messages behind them.

Also, we get practical for today’s world. Directly confronting the idea of curses existing today, we lay out what that means for Christians. This is tougher than you might think, because there are many scary and erroneous views that have influence in Christian culture. Can Christians be cursed?  Do Christians have the authority to curse others? These important questions can only be answered by comprehensively understanding what the Scriptures really teach. Join us as we uncover the Bible’s truth on curses in the New Testament and what we as Christians need to know and do today!

 

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September 25, 2021

Ep.: Is it a sin to play violent video games?

This speaks to a bigger question of how we can most profitably spend our time in order to be pleasing to our heavenly Father.
If your conscience is picking up that something is not right, that even by not participating in the overtly sinful parts of a game (probably difficult to do if you want to have the full immersive experience) your conscience is telling you that you are in the wrong place, this may mean it is something that is sinful.
While we all need time to relax and recharge from the cares of the world, in our free time we are still to honor God and respect Him and His creation.  If you choose to spend your free moments gaming, there are many, many games that can allow our minds to be creative, challenged and inspired without exposing ourselves to evil parts of some video games.
This is not a godly way to spend time that would build up your Christian character.  Exposing yourself to such things is definitely imprinting on your brain and allows Satan to have victory by bringing you farther and farther away from righteous thinking.
The Bible uses the phrase “redeeming the time” in two places: Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5.  We are to “redeem the time” because the days are evil, and we are to walk in wisdom. This means we are to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good.  Buy up the time you have to use in God’s service, because it is in very limited supply and we do not want to waste the moments we are given.
We need to watch everything we do, say and think because the temptations around us are more subtle and yet outrageous than ever before.
A good test of using your time is found in Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
To learn more about how we should spend our free time listen to, “Can Good Things Ever Be Bad?”
To learn more about sin listen to, “Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?”

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September 25, 2021

Ep.: How can I break bad, sinful habits?

Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15-20 says,
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
We all have this struggle of being in our human, sinful bodies and minds and yet wanting to come up higher and be spiritually-minded and pleasing to our heavenly Father.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 describes us as being a “new creation.”
  • Romans 6:6 says we want to no longer be enslaved to sin.
  • Romans 6:4 says we are to “walk in newness of life.”
  • Ephesians 4:22-24 admonishes us to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
There is a battle going on within our own flesh that we must acknowledge and fight on a daily – and sometimes minute-by-minute – basis.
While God does look at our heart-felt intentions, our growth in these areas is of utmost importance.  We have to constantly be striving to improve and show the fruit of the spirit in all aspects of our lives – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
For the dedicated Christian striving to do God’s will instead of our own, we are promised that Christ is our “advocate,” (1 John 2:1) who is able to cover our sins and allow us to have a relationship with our Father.  However, this does not mean we can keep intentionally sinning.  As the Apostle Paul said in Romans 6:14-15 – just because we are under grace – “God forbid” that we keep sinning.  Please read the entire chapter 6, to see Paul’s whole argument about letting sin not reign in our bodies with us obeying its lusts.  We are now servants of righteousness.
Some practical ideas:
1 Thessalonians 5:22:  Abstain from every form of evil.
Easier said than done, as evil is all around us.  We are so submerged in its subtlety that it can be hard to detect after we have identified all of the obvious problems.  First, go to the Lord through His son Jesus in prayer.  Be clear about what you are struggling with in both the big things and the small.  Ask to be cleansed from your “secret faults” per Psalm 19:12 – even those tiny things you might not be consciously aware of that are not in harmony with God’s will.
Consider then also going to a trusted Christian friend or advisor who knows you well.  Ask what they see as an issue with how you act, talk, spend your time, who you chose to keep around you.  What are their impressions as to how you are leading your Christian life?  They may have some insights for you that you did not even realize. There is an old but wise saying, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
Remember, true Christianity is “come as you are,” but it is NOT “stay as you are.”  We need to be constantly striving to keep ourselves walking in the pathway of light.
Ephesians 5:15–16 (KJV) “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  (also see Colossians 4:5)
The more we spend studying the Bible, finding ways to serve God, worshipping with fellow church members, fellowshipping with those of similar values and faith – the less time we have to think on and act on things that are not good for us.  The more time we spend on matters of the Lord’s business, the less time we have for us and our desires.
Some questions to ask yourself:
How are you spending your spare moments?
What are you searching for on your computer?
What kind of influence are you on others?
Do you understand the gospel message and are you communicating it with others?
Are you living a life of honesty and integrity – even when no one is watching?
How much of an influence are others on you?
Are you making good choices?
Do people know you are a Christian?  Can they see evidence of it?
You’ve heard the expression “garbage in, garbage out.”  We need to “feed” ourselves with truth and the fullness of God’s word in order to constantly be better.  At some point you will find that you no longer want to live that old life, as it is not satisfying – like having a meal full of sugar every day.
The Lord is merciful.  Don’t give up – the path of righteousness is always the better path, even if it seems difficult in the moment.
To learn more about how to create better habits and walk a new life in Christ listen to, “Am I Failing as a Christian?”
“Does Being a Christian Have to be Difficult?”
“Can Good Things Ever Be Bad?”
“How Do I Deal With Enticing Temptations?”
“So, Where Do I Start?”
To learn more about how we can better spend our time listen to the hour long discourse “Redeeming the Time”: https://christianquestions.com/cq-videos/videos-bonus-videos/redeeming-the-time/

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September 24, 2021

Ep.: Does the Bible teach universal salvation?

In Christian theology, universalism is a belief that all humankind will eventually be saved. As described in Episode 1191, (Are Christians Supposed to Convert the World?) we are not universalists.  However, we believe the Bible teaches a “universal opportunity.” We believe most of humanity, after experiencing sin and death and all it entails, once given a choice between righteousness and sin, will choose righteousness.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

A voluntary living belief in Jesus is what will determine salvation.

“For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22

Every human being ever born in Adam will be resurrected.
Jesus describes two phases of resurrection in John 5:28-29: (NASB) ”Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life [a heavenly resurrection], those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” [a resurrection on earth].
So,  this complete opportunity for salvation is in two parts:
First the resurrection of life, a resurrection to a heavenly reward, which is the resurrection of those who respond to the call now to be faithful followers of Christ. Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter by the narrow gate…for the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.”
This narrow way open now is in contrast to the second part of salvation, “the Highway of Holiness” in Isaiah 35, (the resurrection on earth) which will provide the amazing opportunity for salvation to every person who did not respond to the ‘narrow gate invitation.’ The Highway of Holiness that will be very accessible to all, and Satan, the “roaring lion,” will not be there.  He will be bound during a 1,000 year time wherein man will be rehabilitated and reconciled back to God (Isaiah 35:9; Revelation 20:1-3).  This second phase of opportunity for salvation will include physical healing of the body and spiritual healing of the heart and mind (Isaiah 35:5-8).
All who choose to use these earthly resurrection blessings to have a living belief in Jesus will have perfect life on earth forever.  But the Scriptures show us that some will rebel.
“And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for war…And they came up on the board plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them”  Revelation 20:7-9.

All those who rebel are described as being thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, symbols for a permanent and irreversible judgment of death—of permanent non-existence.

God loved the world so much he was willing to sacrifice His beloved Son for ALL who die in Adam.  He created an opportunity for a heavenly class, the spiritual seed of Abraham, which will bless all the families of the earth through the resurrection of judgment and the Highway of Holiness (Genesis 12:2-3, Galatians 27-29).

God created an amazingly complete opportunity for salvation, and voluntary living belief in Jesus is what will determine salvation. The Scriptures show some will exercise their freedom of choice to rebel and He respects the freedom of choice that He created us with.
To learn more about salvation listen to, “Are Jesus’ Ransom and Our Salvation the Same?”

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September 24, 2021

Ep.: What is the resurrection on earth?

The main thrust of I Corinthians 15:35-55 is the heavenly resurrection. But YES, the earthly resurrection IS addressed in in 15th chapter of Corinthians, verses 21-23.
“As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22
Everyone who dies in Adam will have a resurrection.  As in John 5:28-29, there are two resurrections, a heavenly resurrection of life for the faithful followers of Christ, and a resurrection of judgment – an earthly resurrection for the remainder of all born in Adam.  Paul describes these two resurrections in 1 Corinthians 15:23: “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
“Christ the firstfuits” –  this describes the heavenly resurrection.  The faithful followers of Christ are referred to in Revelation 14:1-4 as having the Father’s name written in their foreheads, and in verse 4 as being pure and following the Lamb wherever he goes, “the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.”  They are also referred to as “the church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven.” Hebrews 12:23
“They that are Christ’s at his coming” – this phrase refers to all the remainder of our human family who die because of Adam’s sin and is a major work of blessing that Jesus return will accomplish. Who are they that are Christ’s? “The creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it…” Romans 8:20
All of the human race – all of creation, was under the power of futility (depravity) not by personal choice, but by the inheritance of the death sentence through Adam. See Romans 5:12 and Romans 5:19:  “For as through the one man’s disobedience THE MANY were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One THE MANY will be made righteous,” or in other words “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
God’s justice in this inherited death sentence had an amazing long range purpose for blessing!
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it IN HOPE that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”  Romans 8:20-21
“For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.”  Romans 8:19
The HOPE is the blessing of freedom from the slavery of sin and death because of Adam. This whole creation born in Adam waits for the manifestation of the sons of God, the firstborn class, who will with our returned Lord Jesus bring blessing to all of our human family resurrected on earth.
They that are Christ’s at his coming:  He returns to reign with his Bride, and “they will live and reign with him a thousand years.”  Revelation 20:4
”He will reign until he has put all enemies under his feet.”  1 Corinthians 15:25  After the symbolic melt-down of our present religious and social rulership, the old heavens and  earth, he will institute the new heavens and the new earth, the holy spiritual rulership  and earthly government.  2 Peter 3:10-13
“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, (the new heavens blessing the earth) made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”  Revelation 21:2
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’  And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”  Revelation 22:17
The amazing hope and blessing in this earthly resurrection is the blessing of healing of heart and mind. The physical and spiritual eyes of the blind will be opened as told to us in Isaiah 35:5-6.  There will be a Highway of Holiness – a very accessible opportunity for becoming holy, described in Isaiah 35:8   Satan, the roaring lion, will be bound and not permitted to deceive the nations, Isaiah 35:9, Revelation 20:1-3 “They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”  Isaiah 11:9
The blessing and healing that will take place through the earthly resurrection is a crowning outcome and purpose of the heavenly resurrection.
To learn more about the salvation on heaven and the salvation on earth listen to, “Are Jesus’ Ransom and Our Salvation the Same?”

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September 24, 2021

Ep.: Why did God allow Satan to harm Job?

The story of Job’s life is one that has puzzled people for a long time. Initially, Job’s initial reaction to his trying experiences was excellent. Job 1:22 says, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” But, as his burdens wore on him he finally came to accuse God. He said, “ “I cry out to you, but you do not answer me; … You have become cruel to me; With the strength of your hand you oppose me…. when I looked for good, evil came to me; … My heart is in turmoil and cannot rest.” (Job 30:20-27)

God finally answered Job in chapters 38-41. He essentially said, “Job, you do not understand who I am or why I do what I do. If you did, you would know that there is a purpose in everything I do. I have gone to great lengths in creating life. I have provided a place for life to exist. Do not question my motives, just know that I am all powerful.  I am God. Trust that my reasons are pure and good.”

This is an important principle when dealing with God. We should trust that whatever He does is for our ultimate good. Like Job, we tend to be short-sighted in our view of life and why God acts as He does. But God, who is “from everlasting to everlasting,” has a different perspective. Job was a man of faith. But his faith was untested. This is an important principle and was demonstrated even in Jesus’ life. 

Jesus himself had to experience temptation and struggle. The Apostle Paul says that Jesus “learned obedience by the things he suffered”(Hebrews 5:8). Jesus certainly knew how to obey before coming to earth. But his suffering made him stronger and more resilient. It created a deeper faith that was totally unmovable.

A common illustration to describe the strengthening of faith is how steel is hardened.  It is fired under tremendous heat. This carefully supervised process actually fuses the steel at the molecular level. It becomes harder and able to endure great pressures that it could not endure before the process was applied.  That is similar to the testing of faith. When rightly supervised and endured, great lessons are learned regarding how to trust God under adversity. With each victory, the ability to endure becomes greater and the outlook of the individual changes as he goes through experiences where he needs to trust.  This cannot occur without adversity.

Though he was a man of faith, Job was a man of greater faith after his experience. He came to understand that God had not abandoned him and was able to restore his wealth and grant him 10 more children.His life has often been used to illustrate the fall of man. When God permitted Satan to tempt Adam and Eve, God was not being irresponsible. He saw that man needed to be tested. Adam failed the test and plunged the world into sin. Along with Adam, we are learning the consequences of sin. We die because we have inherited sin. Job shared in man’s fall. Like all of us, he was already condemned to death. But that is not the end of God’s plan. It is merely the world’s instructional phase.

God has the power of life. He can raise the dead and has promised to do so in His kingdom. That means that Job’s 20 children will all be brought back to life.  God’s dealing with Job was not done on a whim or a wager with Satan. God’s plan is thought-out and loving.

A very meaningful passage is found in Ephesians 1.

“… So abundant was God’s grace, the grace which He, the possessor of all wisdom and understanding, lavished upon us, when He made known to us the secret of His will. And this is in harmony with God’s merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it – the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one head in Christ; yea things in heaven and things on earth, to find their one head in him.” Ephesians 1:7-10 

There is wisdom in everything God does. And when we may not understand His actions, we should trust that He will always have our best interests at heart.

To learn more about why God allows suffering in our lives listen to, “Does God Really Want Me To Suffer?”

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September 24, 2021

Ep.: Is it ok to sin if we are saved by grace?

Sin is a transgression of the Divine law or God’s law. 

Thousands of years ago God gave Moses and the Jewish nation the Ten Commandments as well as 613 other laws stated in Leviticus.  Since the Jews were God’s special people from whom the Messiah was to come, they needed to be kept pure and separate from the nations around them. Therefore, the Law acted as a schoolmaster in order to bring them to Christ. 

‘‘So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” (Galatians 3:24-25) 

Once Jesus came and fulfilled the Law by his sacrifice unto death, the Law was no longer binding to the Jew providing he accepted Jesus. The Apostle Paul further explains this thought by commenting, ‘‘that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.’’ (Galatians 2:15)

Even though Christians, be they Jew or Gentile, are not required to follow the 613 laws or to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath or holy days, they are, however, required to follow the Ten Commandments. In fact, as Jesus taught us in the Sermon on the Mount, these commandments should be taken to a higher level than had ever been taught and should now be “written on our hearts.”

In the Sermon, Jesus gave his followers the high principles that they and we, as Christians today, are to live by.

 Jesus said, “You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy, ‘but I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.’” (Matthew 5:43-45) 

In these verses, Jesus is showing his followers the importance of the law of love, a law that is far greater than the Old Law Covenant that he completed upon his death on the cross. Christians are required to “write” the Ten Commandments upon their hearts, thereby, taking these commandments to a much higher level.

If we are “saved by grace” and the Law of Moses is no longer applicable, then is it okay to sin?  

Absolutely not.  The Apostle Paul gives us an obvious list of the acts that make up the sinful nature in Galatians 5:19-21 [sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, and orgies] and warns us “that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Verse 21) He then tells us to live a life guided by the holy spirit and lists the fruits of such a life. 

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:22-24)

The Apostle Peter gives us a similar list in 2 Peter 1:5-7. He then adds, “For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10-11)

Sin is repugnant to God.  It is never okay to sin.  Continuous deliberate sinning without asking forgiveness and repenting has a demeaning, ungodly influence on your life and will not allow you to be part of God’s heavenly kingdom.  Rather than think sin is okay, you must accept the fact that you are a sinner and evaluate your heart attitude, conscience and conduct as you try to emulate the sinless life of our Master, Jesus Christ. Then, seeing where you have fallen short, ask forgiveness before the throne of heavenly grace. 

“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:12-13)

It is important that we continually check our thoughts and actions and ask ourselves if Jesus’ thoughts and actions would be in accord with ours. Each time we discover we have fallen short of the perfect example set before us, we need to ask forgiveness through prayer. Prayer is the Christian’s lifeline. You will find refuge and joy in prayer knowing that God hears the prayers of the righteous and is able and willing to forgive your sins if you acknowledge them and are truly repentant.  

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)  

To learn more about sin listen to, “Are We Sure Sin is Really Sinful?”

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September 24, 2021

Ep.: Who was responsible for the first sin- Adam or Eve?

We learn in Genesis 2:16-17 that the LORD God gave Adam a direct command to eat of every tree in the Garden except of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for if he ate of it he would surely die. It was not long after this directive that God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18) The helper was Eve, who was formed from Adam’s rib. 

Since Eve had not yet been created when God gave the command to Adam, she learned God’s command second hand from Adam. It is interesting to note that when Satan tempted Eve she misquoted God’s commandment. 

She said, “We may eat from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat the fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” (Genesis 3:3) 

God never told Adam that he could not touch the tree, only that he could not eat of its fruit. Also, God told Adam that the tree was called the knowledge of good and evil. Eve never mentioned the tree by name. Instead Satan told her that if she ate of the tree she would be like God knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). Eve believed Satan’s lie that she would not surely die and then surrendered to temptation (the lust of the flesh – saw that it was good for food; the lust of the eyes – pleasant to the eyes; and the pride of life – desirable to make one wise). 

The Apostle Paul tells us that Eve was deceived when she sinned (1 Timothy 2:14). Not only did she sin, but she also became the agent of temptation for Adam. However, when Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he was not deceived as Eve was. Adam sinned with his eyes wide open in rebellion against God. 

Eve was tricked into sinning. Adam knew exactly what he was doing. He hearkened unto his wife and disobeyed God (Genesis 3:17). Therefore, it is Adam, not Eve, who bears the responsibility for the fall of the human race and for the introduction of death into the created order (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:22). 

To learn more about God’s plan for mankind listen to, “Does Christianity Preach the Gospel?”

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September 24, 2021

Ep.: Who should we confess our sins to?

The concept of confession of sin to a priest is nowhere taught in either the Old or New Testaments. In fact, the New Testament teaches that all true believers are priests. 

1 Peter 2:9-10 describes believers as a “holy priesthood” and a “royal priesthood,” “a people belonging to God.” In the Old Covenant, the Jewish nation could only approach God through its priests who offered sacrifices to God for the forgiveness of sins of the entire nation of Israel. This practice is no longer necessary because of Jesus’ one time all-encompassing sacrifice, which fulfilled the Law, thus granting Christians direct access to God for forgiveness of individual sins through Jesus Christ. 

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

The New Testament teaches that the organization of Christ’s church would have elders, deacons (1 Timothy 3), overseers (Titus 1:6-9), and pastors (Ephesians 4:11). There is never any mention of priests. Believers are told to confess their sins to God (1 John 1:9) and God is faithful and just to forgive sins as they are confessed to him. Although James 5:16 speaks of confessing trespasses to one another, this confession is in no way linked with God’s forgiveness of the trespass. 

The Roman Catholic Church bases its practice of confession to a priest primarily on John 20:23, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Because Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins, Catholics claim that that authority was passed on to their successors, i.e., the bishops and priests of the Roman Catholic Church. There are several problems with this interpretation. 

First, John 20:23 nowhere mentions confession of sin. Second, the scripture nowhere promises, or even hints, that the authority to forgive sins would be passed on to the successors of the apostles. Jesus’ promise was specifically directed to the apostles. Lastly, the New Testament nowhere states that the apostles would even have successors to their apostolic authority.

Therefore, should we confess our sins directly to God or do we need to confess them to a priest? We are to confess our sins to God. He has the power to forgive us.

 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

A priest does not have the power or authority to forgive sins. No man living on earth in this day and age has that authority. This fact does not negate the need we have as individuals to confess our sins openly to other believers. That practice is encouraged in James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” 

Although God hears the prayers of the righteous, a righteous individual has no power to eradicate the sin of another. However, and most importantly, we Christians are admonished to always forgive others for transgressions against us. 

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15) 

To learn about repentance listen to, “How Do I Live a Life of Repentance?”

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September 24, 2021

Ep.: Does God punish for repeated lying?

Often a person who lies repeatedly either is not aware that his or her behavior is a violation of God’s commandment (Exodus 20:16) not to lie and is, therefore, committing a sinful act, or is so used to lying that he or she has rationalized the behavior to the point of guiltlessness. In either case, the degree of accountability that God holds against the individual is directly related to the individual’s knowledge of right and wrong and also his deliberate intent to deceive. 

Ultimately, whether now or in the age to come, lies will be revealed “for we will all stand before God’s judgment seat” (Romans 14:10) so that “each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) Sins must be made right by asking for forgiveness from God and from the people who were sinned against. 

There are many scriptures that show how much God disapproves of lying. We will cite but a few. Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us six things that God hates. Two of them are “a lying tongue” (verse 17) and “a false witness who pours out lies” (verse 19). 

“The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” (Proverbs 12:22) 

“No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.” (Psalm 101:7) 

Is it then God’s intent to punish a person for lying? We believe that God would rather have a person see the sinfulness of his lies, ask forgiveness, make restitution to those he sinned against, and change his ways. However, if a person continues to lie after he learns how sinful it is, he will have a much more difficult time in God’s Kingdom on earth, yet to come when all sins will be revealed. 

In God’s Kingdom all humankind will be given every opportunity to learn righteousness, practice it and write it on his heart. If, after a reasonable time of mercy and instruction during the Day of Judgment, a person still continues to lie and not comply with God’s laws, he will be taken away in the second death (Revelation 21:8). God will not “punish” the person. That person will simply not exist anymore. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

To learn more about lying listen to, “Is There a Difference Between Exaggerating and Lying?”

“Should We Ever Lie?”

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September 24, 2021

Ep.: Is dancing wrong?

Many Christians, do not feel that dancing is proper. Although the Bible does not give specific instructions on dancing, we find examples of when dancing was appropriate and when it was not. 

An example of inappropriate dancing occurred when Moses went up to the mountain to talk to God (Exodus 32:6, 19-25). While Moses was away the Israelites built an idol to worship. In the process of the idol worship, they began to dance. Their actions ended up in “revelry” (vs. 6) or “out of control” behavior (vs. 25). In this case, dancing led to very sinful activity. 

However, in Exodus 15:20, Miriam, Moses’ sister, danced in order to celebrate the victory that God’s power had brought at the Red Sea. In 2 Samuel 6:12-16, David “danced before the Lord” in order to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Every instance of dancing in the Bible that is not considered sinful was done in worship or praise to God. 

Christian groups that prohibit dancing believe that any dancing that draws attention to oneself or one’s body is sinful since our bodies belong to God and are the temple of the holy spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19 20). These groups also believe that dancing, especially dancing where men touch women (1 Corinthians 7:1-3), can ignite passions and can lead to lust, which is a sin. 

Is it, then, all right for a Christian to go to a party and dance? We believe it is providing the Christian is careful not to turn off his Christianity by denying its core values in order to have “a good time.” We believe that as Christians we have a responsibility to ourselves and to those around us to follow as closely as we can in the footsteps of our Master Jesus. We need to ask ourselves if we would do this action if Jesus were in our midst? Any dancing that stirs up sinful desires in us or in others is to be avoided. As Christians we are walking letters, read by everyone (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). Those around us should be able to tell that we are Christians by our actions and conduct. 

To learn more about living as a Christian listen to, “Am I Failing as a Christian?”

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Ep.: Why were Moses and Aaron kept out of the Promised Land?

In Numbers 20:8, the Lord told Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” 

Numbers 20:9-11 records Moses’ response: “So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as He commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, ‘Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?’ Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.” 

Numbers 20:12 gives us the Lord’s response, “But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

What did Moses together with his brother Aaron do that warranted such a severe penalty from the Lord? First, Moses disobeyed a direct command from God. God had commanded Moses to speak to the rock. Instead, Moses struck the rock with his staff. 

Second, Moses took the credit for bringing forth the water. Notice how in verse 10 Moses said, “must we (referring to Moses and Aaron) bring you water out of this rock.” Moses took credit for the miracle himself, instead of attributing it to God. 

Third, Moses did this in front of all the Israelites. Such a public example of direct disobedience could not go unpunished. The punishment of both Moses and Aaron (since they both had been directly instructed by God) was that they would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12). 

To learn more about Moses listen to, “What Does Moses the Deliverer Teach Us About Jesus?”

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September 24, 2021

Ep.: Is plastic surgery a sin?

We can see no reason why you shouldn’t have plastic surgery to remove permanent scars or other conditions. It is only natural to want to feel and look “normal.” However, be careful that vanity is not your reason for the surgery. When vanity motivates a person to undergo surgery, he/she has become his/her own idol. The Bible warns us not to be vain or conceited (Philippians 2:3,4) and not to draw attention to ourselves by the way we look (1 Timothy 2:9). 

The most important thing to do before making the decision to undergo plastic surgery would be to consult God about the issue. The Bible tells us that God cares about every worry and concern we have. Therefore, it is paramount that we take our problems to Him in prayer (1 Peter 5:7). When we ask for His wisdom and guidance, we will have the ability to make decisions that will please and honor Him. 

Is it wrong to have plastic surgery to remove permanent scars from a past surgery? If the scars are disfiguring, we would say that such a surgery is certainly not sinful. A problem may arise when plastic surgery is used to enhance otherwise healthy body parts or as an anti-aging tool. In any case, beauty should always “be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentile and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.” (1 Peter 3:4-5) 

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