April 27, 2022

Ep.: How do sexual sins bring dishonor to Christians and the cause of Christ?

Any and all sin brings dishonor to Christians and the cause of Christ.  Sexual sins just tend to be more noticeable. Singling out just sexual sins might make us forget to look inwardly to see what our own obvious and secret sins are.
The Scriptures are specific that any sexual relationship other than between a man and a woman within the bonds of marriage is not acceptable in the eyes of God.

“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 18:22

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4
Marriage is a sacred institution and any sexual activity that takes place outside of it can be scripturally classified as fornication.

The Apostle Paul further clarifies, “I have written to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. . . . Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders . . . will inherit the kingdom of God. . . . Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. . . . Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 5:9

The Apostle Paul, when speaking to the youthful Timothy, tells him to “flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
It is important to note that the apostle tells him to “flee,“ not hesitate and think about it, but run from youthful evil desires. These “evil desires of youth” encompass many areas, one of which, we feel, is the dwelling on and fantasying about sex. The apostle further tells Timothy to “pursue righteousness” and “call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

He is even more explicit to the church at Philippi.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.”
Philippians 4:8
We are grateful our heavenly Father is so merciful and forgiving, knowing our fragile frame and natural propensity to sin even when we want to do better.
To learn more about sin listen to, “Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?”
“Are We SURE Sin is Really Sinful?”

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April 25, 2022

Ep.1226: Am I Being Punished or Favored?

Understanding the purpose of our suffering and why God punishes us

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CHAPTERS

[00:14:10]
What is the purpose of our Christian sufferings?


[00:30:47]
Is Christian punishment a privilege?


[00:46:28]
How should we frame our internal thinking and how we talk to God when we face suffering?


Theme Scripture: 1 Peter 1:6-7

Nobody likes to suffer. Nobody wants pain, turmoil, uncertainty, tragedy or sickness to take up continual residence in their lives. When a Christian suffers by facing hard things in their daily experience, it is easy to look at it as punishment. We see these harsh experiences as a signal that something is wrong and expect them to sap the joy right out of our lives. Suffering is easily seen as have little to no redeeming value. We think that it signals that God has ceased protecting us, and that means trouble. Turns out, the Bible has a lot to say about suffering, trial and punishment. It explains in great detail the role suffering plays in our lives, and the how and why of punishments that come from God.

Continue Reading

Why?

When Christians ask about the suffering that comes to us in our lives, we often ask the simple question why. Why is this happening? Why can’t it be different? Why me? While these are important questions, they really can’t be answered until we understand the basis of suffering in our lives. This understanding is made clear when we stop looking at our own trials, difficulties and mishaps and instead look at Jesus.

Why did Jesus suffer if he was perfect?

Jesus suffered - and he suffered a lot. Why? He was perfect and therefore certainly didn’t need any kind of punishment! So, why suffer? On the contrary, Jesus preached the gospel - the good news - that would be for all people. With such a universally positive message, why did he have to go through the insults, the contradictions, the accusations and threats from those who opposed him? At the end of his ministry, why did he have to go through the humiliation, the false testimonies, the beatings, the whippings, and finally crucifixion?

Jesus suffered because that was part of the price that needed to be paid to bring full salvation to humanity. By willingly suffering, Jesus assured us he knows by his own experiences what the consequences of sin look like and feel like. This gives us confidence in Jesus on a very human level. He went through the kinds of things we go through and ALWAYS overcame them. If Jesus could so willingly embrace such hard suffering for the sake of God’s plan, then we are called to embrace it as well. “If we suffer with him, we will also be glorified with him” Romans 8:17.

We can now see that much of our Christian suffering is for the purpose of growing in Christ as we walk in his footsteps. But what about when we sin? What about God punishing us? Check out our April 25, 2022 podcast, “Am I Being Punished or Favored?” for more. God’s discipline in our lives is an integral part of our Christian growth experience. We dig into the why and how of this discipline, as well as several perspectives regarding the handling of our Christian suffering. Suffering is a privilege! Join us as we learn how to rejoice in all aspects of our discipleship.

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April 25, 2022

Ep.: Can Christians be demon possessed today?

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’  When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order.  Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” Luke 11:24-26

The Matthew 12 account provides one important detail that helps us understand the meaning of Jesus’ words. In both accounts Jesus was condemning the Pharisees for their unbelief.

Earlier in the chapter, Jesus had cast out a demon from a man. But the Pharisees accused him of doing this by the power of Beelzebub the prince of devils. In response, Jesus says, “if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?… But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you (verse 28).  

In other words, if he was acting by the power of God, they should believe in him and accept the call to the kingdom of God. But most Israelites did not do that.

Jesus used the casting out of a demon as an example of an unbelieving generation. If the dispossessed man did not fill his heart and mind with good, he left himself open to evil influences and would end up in a worse condition than before. Jesus concludes in Matthew 12:45, “…Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”

The lesson Jesus was making was that it is not enough to live outwardly reformed lives. Such a change should be accompanied with inward growth and spiritual vitality. Doing good and filling one’s mind with righteous principles and truth would prevent the evil influences of the world and the devil from entering in.

This is a very relevant lesson for every Christian as well. Notice that Jesus said the man was empty, swept and garnished.  This was the reason he could be possessed once again, but this time with seven spirits. This is not specifically describing Christians, but it does serve as a warning that anyone, including Christians, who leave themselves open to the influence of Satan can be harmed.

In Ephesians 6:12 the Apostle Paul writes, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Only by wearing the spiritual armor he describes can we overcome evil. 

Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

We must be vigilant in our faith and not allow the evil influences of Satan and the world to creep in.

To learn more about demons listen to, “How Do Demons Influence Our World?
“Are Demons Real?”

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April 25, 2022

VIDEO: When Will God’s Kingdom Be Here?

Sometimes it might feel as though God’s kingdom is taking a long time to be established – but fortunately, the Bible gives us clues to get excited about that show us that it’s very near. Parents and Bible class teachers, watch this 2-min video with the kids to find out how close we are to God’s kingdom on earth. Subscribe to ChristianQuestions.com/YouTube to never miss a new video!

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April 18, 2022

Ep.1225: Can Jesus’ Resurrection Revive My Faltering Faith?

How the victory and love of Jesus forgave Peter’s failed faith

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CHAPTERS

[00:15:39]
What did Jesus teach Peter to prepare him for failure?


[00:33:18]
What happened after Jesus was the willing prisoner of the high priest?


[00:47:13]
How was Jesus able to lift Peter back up after such a crushing failure?


Theme Scripture: Mark 16:16-17

When thinking about world-altering events, there is one that stands alone as the single most powerful world-changing event in the history of humanity. It is the raising of Jesus from the dead. Many call this Easter Sunday. When this event occurred so many centuries years ago, the vast majority of the world had no idea of its significance. Today 2,000 years later, most still don’t have a clue. Jesus’ resurrection sealed the future hope of every man, woman and child who ever lived by guaranteeing them their own resurrection. Even more than this, Jesus’ resurrection also changed individual lives back then as it still does today. After the Apostle Peter abandoned Jesus in his greatest hour of trial, Peter needed the renewing power of Jesus’ resurrection. We too can falter as Peter did. How can we claim that same renewing power?

Continue Reading

Could this be us?

We all experience faltering faith at some time or other. Imagine being told that you were likely to do something really bad, something you would never dream of doing. You think, “No way will THAT ever happen !” You go about your business and then look up later and realize that you did exactly what you thought you would NEVER do! And to top it off, not only did you do it; you did it with energy and flare! As bad as this example feels, what Peter did when he denied that he even knew Jesus on the night before Jesus’ crucifixion was far worse. The depth of his failure rightfully shook him to his very core. It would have intensely shaken or even broken any one of us as well.

The only one not shaken by Peter’s collapse was Jesus himself. As a matter of fact, Jesus knew Peter’s weakness would manifest long before it happened. Jesus informed Peter of what was to come and invested significant time into teaching Peter several fundamental lessons before his debacle occurred. You might wonder, if Jesus knew Peter was going to deny him, why even bother with teaching him? Wouldn’t his lessons fall on deaf ears?

Teaching now. Understanding later.

One of the many profound things about Jesus’ mind and character was that he always focused on the big picture even while attentively handling the minute details before him. Jesus’ teachings dedicated to Peter were not meant to bear fruit that night, they were meant to change Peter later. It would not be until Jesus had been crucified, in the grave for three days and resurrected that those lessons would even begin to touch Peter. More than that, Peter’s failure, Jesus’ lessons, and the resulting victory were put there to aid our faltering faith as well.

Check out our April 18, 2022 podcast, “Can Jesus’ Resurrection Revive My Faltering Faith?” for more. Because we fail like Peter did, our paying attention to all that Jesus did for him can be transformative for us. Join us as we watch Jesus’ wisdom, love and compassion unfold and rebuild Peter. It’s a recipe for how Jesus can - by the power of his resurrection - take our failures and bring us to victory!

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April 16, 2022

Ep.: What does it mean to be “under the shadow of His wings”?

This analogy is based on Psalm 91:1,4:

“He that dwelleth in the secret place (cover, protection) of the most High shall abide (to stay permanently) under the shadow (shade) of the Almighty….He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust:  his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”

The secret place of the Most High:

In the verses below, the word for “secret place” is translated “hiding place,” “secret of his tabernacle” and “secret of Ty presence.”

Psalm 32:7 Thou art my HIDING PLACE thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 27:5  For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the SECRET of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

Psalm 31:20 Thou shalt hide them in the SECRET of Thy presence from the pride of man; thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion (hut, tabernacle, tent) from the strife of tongues.  

The “secret place of the most High” can be thought of as the hiding place of His presence, the special intimate relationship we can have with Him.

The shadow of the Almighty:
Psalm 17:8  “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the SHADOW of thy wings.”

Psalm 36:7  How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God!  Therefore the children of men put their trust under the SHADOW of thy wings.

Psalm 57:1  Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee; yea, in the SHADOW of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

This is an amazing promise!  If we dwell—continually stay—in the secret place of the most High—in the hiding place of His presence, we are given a special promise and assurance of His overshadowing protection that will continually be upon us.

This ties in with the analogy brought up in verse 4: “he shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust:  his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”

“For you have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength before the enemy.  Let me make my home in your tent [tabernacle] forever; let me hide under the shelter of your wings.”

Psalm 61:3-4

Baby chicks run to their mother hen for protection in the face of danger.  We are reminded that as a baby chick in Christ in the “barnyard,” we need to SEEK REFUGE under His wings instead of just watching from the middle of the barnyard.  We need to leave the “barnyard mentality” and seek refuge under His wings.  We can run to prayer and His promises when there is a threat of danger in the barnyard of our life. It’s such a different experience when we see what challenges us from under the protection of His promises and overruling power.

If we dwell (continually stay) in the secret place of the Most High (in the hiding place of His presence), we are given a special promise and assurance that His overshadowing protection will continually be upon us.

To learn more about the hope God promises us listen to, “How Do We Keep Hope Alive?”

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April 16, 2022

Ep.: What does it mean that we do not struggle against the flesh, but against rulers?

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12
Here the Apostle Paul prepares us for our spiritual warfare as Christians.  He makes the point that we need to be strong not in our own strength, but in the LORD.  Ephesians 6.10: “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.”
Why is this so important? Because we are told in 1 Peter 5:8:  
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Most Christians are very aware of Satan’s influence in our world today. We know he is opposed to God and His will at all turns, and as the “god of this world” (John 12:31, 2 Corinthians 4:4 and others) he will ferociously fight to keep all that he has laid claim to. What we don’t often think about is how we as individual Christians fit into the intensity of Satan’s raging against God.
The Scriptures tell us that his objective was and continues to be usurping the authority that ultimately belongs to the Most High God for himself. Anyone and anything that in any way shape or form stands in the way of Satan’s fight over his perceived authority is fair game for his unrighteous anger. As Christians, we love God supremely and seek to daily walk in the footsteps of our Lord Christ Jesus. This blessing means we are also Satan’s prime targets, hence, we need to be protected by spiritual armor.

Ephesians 6:11 says: “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

Paul tells us about symbolic spiritual armor – a specific array of spiritual mind-set and focus that will give us the needed strength and protection.

The armor’s purpose is to enable us to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil,” meaning his strategies of attack.  We know he has many ways to attack us as that “roaring lion,” forcefully trying to destroy our loyalty and trust in our Heavenly Father.  He wants us to turn our trials into tragedies and walk away from God.
In Ephesians 2:2, Satan is called “the prince of the power of the air,” which includes the angelic forces of evil and occult powers.
Finally, we get to verse 12, the one you are asking about.  The Apostle Paul describes one of the schemes and strategies of Satan:
Ephesians 6:12:  For our struggle in not [merely] against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the power, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Satan has his own “army” of evil described as “angels who did not keep their own [original] position” (Jude 6 ISV) in the days of Noah. 1 Peter 3:18-20  They materialized and came to earth, and had children with the women. “The sons of God (the angels) saw the daughters of men, that they were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Genesis 6:2  They are now confined to “tartarus,” earth’s atmosphere, while awaiting their judgment. See 2 Peter 2:4.
Colossians 1:16 says: For by him (Jesus in his pre-human existence as the “Logos” or “word”) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or power: all things were created by him and for him.  
 
In other words, Ephesian 6:12 tells us that not only do we struggle against the world’s influences, other human beings, and our own weaknesses of the flesh, but the chief conflict we must wrestle with is even worse – spiritual evil beings, unseen spiritual powers and occult powers. 
Satan himself, and the demons – his associates in evil – are really the great power working in and through mankind, in opposition to God and his plan. God has all along been master of the situation but has permitted Satan and his legions to exercise power over the rebellious race, ultimately teaching lessons to both men and angels.
Ephesians 6:13 sums this all up:  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
To learn more about the meaning of Ephesians 6:12 listen to, “How is Satan Trying to Devour Me?”
To learn more about the armor of God listen to, “Got Armor?” and our Warriors of God series’
To learn more about fallen angels listen to, “How Do Demons Influence Our World?”

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Ep.1224: Why Should Christians Care About Israel’s Deliverance From Slavery?

Absorbing the profound lessons Israel's Passover teaches about Jesus

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:25]
What huge event in the life of Jesus happened on the same date the Israelites took a lamb into their household?


[00:29:15]
How do the hidden details in the Jewish Passover give us a stunning glimpse into the entire plan of God?


[00:43:48]
In what uncanny ways does Israel's deliverance from slavery compare with the sacrifice of Jesus?


Theme Scripture: Exodus 12:50-51

In all of human history, there has never been an event with the magnitude and drama of the nation of Israel being freed from their harsh slavery in Egypt. Millions of people and countless flocks literally walked away from generations of harsh servitude. God guided them to their freedom after the 10th plague and through the establishment of the Passover. This Passover event was to be remembered and celebrated year after year for all of their generations to follow. And the whole deliverance-from-Egypt experience was mentioned countless times throughout the history of the Old Testament. Why? Why were these things such vital things to not only remember but to appreciate? It turns out that these things provide massive insights for Christians as to how God’s plan really works!

Continue Reading

A new calendar

Not too many events in all of world history can you look at and see a whole new calendar being established because of them. When God told the Hebrews it was time to leave their Egyptian slave masters, He marked this event by establishing a “sacred calendar.” Before going any further with the details, this tells us just how significant their freedom would be in God’s mind and plan. The first dates to be recognized on that sacred calendar would be the 10th and the 14th of the month Nisan. Interestingly, neither of these were the date they were actually freed from slavery. Both dates had to do with a lamb.

The month of Nisan

On the 10th of Nisan each enslaved Hebrew household was to choose a lamb from their herds. The chosen lamb (or goat) was to be the best of the herd. It was to be without any defect, a year old and male. Each household was to slaughter that lamb four days later on the 14th. They were to eat it and put some of its blood on the outside doorframes of their homes. Why so much focus on the meal of a lamb when they are about to be freed from generations of slavery? The deliverance millions of Hebrews would experience would not come as a result of a revolt or a war. Their freedom would come because of the lamb. The lamb would be the centerpiece of Israel’s Passover, Israel’s deliverance, that would for thousands of years be celebrated on the 14th of Nisan.

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