February 28, 2022

Ep.1218: Is God’s Wrath Stronger Than His Love? (Part I)

Examining God’s harsh Old Testament judgment in light of His plan

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Play Part II

CHAPTERS

[00:16:53]
In the Old Testament, why would God demand the destruction of seven nations?


[00:32:56]
Does God create evil?


[00:46:02]
How does God's wisdom and mercy figure into His divine plan?


Theme Scripture: Deuteronomy 7:2

When the nation of Israel was released from their slavery in Egypt, they were instructed to go the land of Canaan. God had promised them this land would be their homeland. The only problem was, there were seven other nations already occupying it. The solution? God told Israel to wipe out those seven nations, and that He would lead the annihilation. He did. Israel conquered the land of Canaan and established it as their homeland. Let’s pause a moment. As Christians, how can we justify such actions? How can we in good conscience stand behind a God who seems to be so arbitrary when so many lives are at stake?

Continue Reading
eir perspective. What we know based on the study of scripture and history, is that they are wrong. God DOES show anger, wrath and harshness in the Bible, but there is a plan behind it if we are willing to search it out!

When the nation of Israel was released from their slavery in Egypt, they were instructed to go the land of Canaan. God had promised them this land would be their homeland. The only problem was, there were seven other nations already occupying it. The solution? God told Israel to wipe out those seven nations, and that He would lead the annihilation. He did. Israel conquered the land of Canaan and established it as their homeland. Let’s pause a moment. As Christians, how can we justify such actions? How can we in good conscience stand behind a God who seems to be so arbitrary when so many lives are at stake?

The good news is, we don’t have to stand behind such a one-sided story. Why? Because the actual account contains a myriad of other details that entirely change the meaning of this account. The first point of significance is this: 400 years before this destruction occurred, God spoke to Abraham in a dream. He told him that the sinfulness of the Canaanites was growing and their evil would come to its full measure 400 years later.

This foresight of God reveals many things

  • First, it tells us that God is not arbitrary in His wrath. It tells us that He will release His righteous anger only when the circumstances call for it.
  • Second, it shows us that God understands the effects of sin upon humanity. He knows that if given time, sin will slowly and methodically peel away any remnants of righteousness from those who reject Him.

Check out our February 28, 2022 podcast, “Is God’s Wrath Stronger Than His Love? (Part I)" for more. We track the historical demise of the Canaanite people and find their horrifying and degraded condition. We examine several other accusations regarding the wrath of God and put them in historical and scriptural context. The bottom line is, when we look at the things God did that seem so dark, we need to be willing to back up and see their broader context. God IS just and God IS love.
Join us for Part 1 as it unveils the issues we then explain more fully in Part II.

 

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February 28, 2022

Ep.: Who is Aristarchus in the bible?

 This is a good question to break out our concordances. The name Aristarchus appears five times in the Bible.

Acts 19:29

Acts 20:4

Acts 27:2

Colossians 4:10

Philemon 1:24

Reading each of these accounts tells us something about Aristarchus. From Acts 19 we’re told that he, along with a man named Gaius, traveled with the Apostle Paul from Macedonia. In this account they were in Ephesus. A man by the name of Demetrius, a craftsman  of heathen images, felt his livelihood threatened by Paul’s message. Raising the anger of his fellow craftsmen, a riot ensued. Paul, not being present at the time, the crowd seized Aristarchus and Gaius.

One commentary says the following.

“Paul’s companions in travel; whom he brought with him out of Macedonia, and who had been with him to Jerusalem and Antioch, and were now returned with him to Ephesus, where they had been with him for the space of two years, or more… this mob had not seized on Paul himself: it may be Paul was within doors, and these were without in the streets, and so were laid hold upon and carried away in a most forcible and violent manner by them: who having got them, they rushed with one accord into the theatre; where the public plays were acted in honor of the goddess Diana, and where, among other things, men were set to fight with wild beasts; and very likely the intention of the mob.” (John Gill)

In the next chapter (Acts 20:4) we see Paul traveling back through Macedonia and Aristarchus is again mentioned as his companion. We’re told here he was from Thessalonica.

The third account (Acts 27:2) again describes Aristarchus as Paul’s traveling companion, here boarding a ship destined for prison in Rome. Being a name of Greek origin suggests Aristarchus was likely Greek. It is interesting then that a Gentile would be such a devoted companion to the Jewish apostle. Paul’s message, that the gospel call was open to all, must have struck a chord in his heart.

Albert Barnes adds some valuable information. He writes, “As he held the same sentiments as Paul, and was united with him in his travels and labors, it was natural that he should be treated in the same manner. He, together with Gaius, had been seized in the tumult at Ephesus and treated with violence, but he adhered to the apostle in all his troubles, and attended him in all his perils. Nothing further is certainly known of him, though “the Greeks say that he was bishop of Assamea in Syria, and was beheaded with Paul at Rome, under Nero” – Calmet.”

The account in Colossians (4:10) describes Aristarchus as Paul’s “fellow-prisoner.” The Philemon account (1:24) calls him Paul’s “fellow-laborer.”

One important lesson we can glean from Aristarchus is that of loyalty and perseverance. He understood the gospel message as preached by Paul. He accepted it to the point of dedicating himself to helping spread the word, even in the face of persecution.

He was willing to suffer for the cause of Christ and never allowed opposition to deter him. The possibility that he was beheaded with Paul demonstrated his devotion.

To learn more about the Apostle Paul listen to, “How Did the Apostle Paul Handle a Slave Owner?”

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February 28, 2022

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February 21, 2022

Ep.1217: Should Christians Be Practicing Laying on of Hands?

Discovering the meaning and use of “laying on of hands” for Christians

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CHAPTERS

[00:16:05]
Was the laying on of hands consistently used in the New Testament?


[00:32:24]
How is the power of touch different from the laying on of hands?


[00:45:32]
Do Christians today have the power and authority to be laying on of hands?


Theme Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:14

In the 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth, Christianity has in some ways progressed but in many ways fragmented. Depending on the doctrine or ritual you are looking at, you can find groups with a laser focus on it or a minimized approach to it. The early Christian ritual of the “laying on of hands” is a good example of this dichotomy. Some of us centralize its importance while others of us see it as a thing of the past. If laying on of hands was central, why was it NOT used consistently? If it was of little significance, then why was it used at all? The fact is, the act of laying on of hands was clearly present in the Old Testament. The apostles did plainly use this ritual several times. So, what is the bottom-line application of laying on of hands for Christians living today?

Continue Reading

Purposes in the Old Testament

The Old Testament reveals that laying on of hands was used in ancient times in relation to several important functions:

  1. As a symbol of passing on a patriarchal blessing, as in the case of Israel with his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh in Genesis 48.
  2. As a symbol of dedicating one to a position of spiritual authority and responsibility, demonstrated in Numbers 8.
  3. It also came up in an instance of healing in through Elisha in 2 Kings 4.

The point is, this ritual had a clear foundation of acceptability and importance as Jesus later came on the scene.

What about Jesus?

Jesus did lay hands on others, but he was not consistent. While there are several accounts of him healing this way, there are also several accounts of him healing without touch. Jesus even healed when the sick individual was not in his presence. While Jesus did lay his hands on children to bless them, he also blessed others by just his spoken words.

If we move on to examine the laying on of hands regarding the apostles and disciples, we see the same inconsistency. They sometimes healed though laying on of hands and sometimes didn’t. Sometimes they conferred Christian authority and responsibility upon others using this ritual and sometimes didn’t. They were even inconsistent when it came to being the conduit for followers to receive the holy spirit. If our primary examples of Jesus and the apostles didn't display a clear example regarding this ritual, then what are we supposed to do?

Check out our February 21, 2022 podcast, “Should Christians be Practicing “Laying on of Hands?” for more. We trace how and why the Jewish importance of this ritual transferred to Christianity. We examine the New Testament inconsistencies regarding laying on of hands and find the reasons behind them. Most importantly, we look at what our responsibilities are towards laying on of hands today. The question of whether or not we should use this ritual is important and the Scriptures do give us a clear answer. Join us for a fascinating journey into an important foundation of Christianity!

 

Watch Our Episode Preview


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February 21, 2022

Ep.: Does a Christian have to attend church every Sunday?

The Scriptures make a point of our Christian need for fellowship and contact with others.  A general point is brought up in Proverbs 27:17: “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens a friend’s character.”

We need the interaction with others to sharpen our spiritual awareness and to ‘sharpen’ and make our character development more effective.

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” Ephesians 4:11-13

We need teachers outside of ourselves, beginning with the inspired Word of God through apostles and prophets, and including those who are shepherds and teachers in our present day, in order to be built up and reach maturity as part of the body of Christ.

Jesus states a special blessing on gatherings of the Lord’s people in Matthew 18:20, even if it is a small gathering of fellowship.  “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I among them.”

We can see the Apostle Paul’s passion for the weekly fellowship with fellow Christians in Acts 20:7:  “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.”

The Apostle Paul also gives very strong guidance in Hebrews 10:24:

“And let us continue to consider how to motivate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.”

The reason for meeting together is to exhort or encourage one another, especially in the challenging day we are living in.  This direct contact as we meet together makes us more easily able to consider or fully observe each other so that we can motivate one another to love and good actions.  A specific point is made to not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together:  “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…”

“Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that.” Hebrews 10:25

The Scriptures strongly lead us to meet together in whatever form is possible, for the growth of ourselves and those with whom we meet.  The word “church” in the scriptures means a calling out, a meeting, a religious congregation.  To attend “church” in the way the word is used in the scriptures, refers to any gathering of Christians for the purpose of worship and study, in any kind of building including a personal home.  Paul wrote the book of Philemon to Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus “and to the church in thy house.”

A Christian does not HAVE to go to church, but we are encouraged to meet together with those of the same faith for strength, encouragement and learning.  Sometimes, however, people find themselves just going as a routine, or because they think they have to in order to “check a box” to be a good person, or because it’s what they always did.  If you feel you aren’t growing spiritually, you should reevaluate your motivation and if meeting with another group – even a small number – is a better idea.  We know of several listeners who use Christian Questions as their main weekly time to praise and worship God, setting apart time to listen and study and share with others. And remember, “church” can be where two or three are gathered. We do not need fancy expensive buildings with elaborate traditions and ceremonies, as Jesus and the apostles taught otherwise.

For more on evaluating your own church listen to,

“Have You Lost Faith in Your Spiritual Leaders?”

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February 21, 2022

Ep.: What is the point of prayer and study if we sin anyway?

If prayer and Bible reading does not effect a change in us then they may be meaningless. God is well aware of our sinful condition. But He still desires that we struggle against sin and work to overcome the wrong tendencies we have. He knows there is great value in the struggle.

Solomon wrote, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” (Proverbs 24:16) 

Will our struggle against sin give us eternal life? Not by itself. God provides what we cannot. He sacrificed His son to atone for our sins. He requires that we have faith in that sacrifice. When we fall short, we can rely on the atoning work of Christ, who covers our shortcomings. (See 1 John 2:1) But God also expects us to do our part in overcoming the constant challenges of sin. For Christians today He gave this promise:

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Revelation 3:21)

For the rest of the world, the coming age is their time for overcoming. In the Millennium, when all mankind is resurrected, they will have to apply themselves in the same way Christians do today. Because of their still sinful natures, a covering for sin will be provided while they are being educated. Then, when righteousness is fully ingrained in their hearts, God will grant eternal life.

There is every reason to struggle against sin. God has a plan, and it involves the work and self-discipline of all those who will eventually be given eternal life.

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VIDEO: Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?

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Ep.1216: What Do I Say When I Talk to My Spouse?

The value, process and attitude of marriage-preserving communication

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:13:37]
How should we actually communicate with our spouse?


[00:30:48]
How can I put my spouse first in order to build a strong marriage?


[00:44:19]
What if we get to a point where we don't want to listen and feel like quitting?


Theme Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:14

When it comes to understanding your marriage relationship, there may not be a more revealing question to ask than, “What do I say when I talk to my spouse?” We make a life-altering decision to marry, and the passion behind it is clear and solid. We see it as a "forever" passion. Time passes and this passionate decision can become a commonplace part of life, one we don’t give much thought to. Then kind of like putting on your most comfortable pair of shoes or sitting in your favorite chair, your marriage becomes just another element of life you absentmindedly rely on to provide you comfort. As you talk to your spouse, your words perhaps subtly at first begin to reflect reaffirming your own comfort instead of being interested in their experience. So sad and too often, so true!

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Think about this!

We communicate with our spouses through our words, actions, innuendo - and what we choose to focus on as important. These communications reveal the condition of OUR OWN HEARTS. Just by looking at these simple things, how would we say we’re doing with our spousal dialogue? Consider that somewhere around half of all marriages end in divorce and countless others are unhappy.

With all of this in mind, it is evident that strong and healthy spousal communication is the exception and not the rule.

Why is this the case? Living in the age of technology, the short (and I might add depressing) answer is this. There is too much else that we allow to demand our attention. We are so busy with working, challenges, social media, kids, friends, personal interests, politics, causes and distractions that we lose sight of our spouse. Because there is so much to see, hear and respond to we spend far less time, energy and emotional investment on the most important person in our lives. Why? Because they are an assumed part of our life that can easily be handled on autopilot. When we do finally try and communicate, it is often done to express dissatisfaction or anger. Now that is a lose-lose approach!

Check out our February 14, 2022 podcast, “What Do I Say When I Talk to My Spouse?” for more. We look at several scriptural principles and examples to give us a solid foundation from which to communicate. Two kinds of love can drive healthy relationships, so we talk about how to keep them in focus. We delve into the “why" and “how” of our conversations and where they so easily get sidetracked. We examine the most important thing that needs to be conveyed to our spouse. Here’s a hint:  It is NOT telling them how we feel or why we might be mad. THE most important thing has little to do with us at all. A happy relationship is fundamentally dependent on strong communication. Join us and gather some of the tools necessary to build that foundation!

 

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