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Answers to your questions.

You wouldn't believe (or perhaps you would) the questions I get in letters, emails and calls. It dawned on me that as long as I am going to answer for one person, I should share the answer with everyone. Don't ask me why I didn't think of this sooner.

Just a suggestion. If you have a question, try the search feature first. There is a good chance I have discussed the issue somewhere on this site or on the Born to Win site (the search feature searches both sites). I started this site years ago to make some of my work available, and I still add to it week by week as time permits. I did the whole thing myself, which accounts for the lack of the imprint of a professional.

Questions will be added here and dated for reference. Feel free to ask follow up questions if something isn't clear, but bear in mind that it may be as clear as I can make it.  The site is not professionally proof read, so if you see an error, feel free to let me know. It is easy for me to correct.

Q & A

November 21, 2009

Dear Sir: The older I get the more confused I seem to get. I have, for the longest time, been a pre-tribulationalist. I just don't think the Lord would beat-up his bride before taking her home. Recently, I have been confronted by friends, articles and church with much debate regarding a belief in post-tribulationism. Please give me your view-point and reasoning behind it. I appreciate your assistance and respect your opinion. Yours, Nick Michael

I am not very familiar with the tribulationist arguments, but I have been puzzled as to why there should be a problem. One thing is abundantly clear from Paul is that no one goes to God ahead of anyone else.
 (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 NKJV)  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. {16} For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. {17} Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Thus, the living saints at Christ's return go to him at the moment of the general resurrection. When is that?  At the last Trumpet.
(1 Corinthians 15:52 NIV)  in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
The Last Trumpet appears to be the seventh in the series described in Revalation 8, etc. So, I suppose, one only has to locate the last trumpet in relation to the Great Tribulation and the answer presents itself.

October 22, 2009

You asked what Paul meant when he said that Jesus was "the end of the law" (Romans 10:4). As this is sometimes taken, it dissolves into absurdity. Is Christ the termination (end) of the law against theft or adultery? Hardly. As it happens, the Greek word rendered "end" is telos, which means the point or the goal. So, to say Jesus was the point of the law, or the goal of the law is an altogether different sense.

As for what was "nailed to the cross," a careful reading of the Gospel accounts tells us that it was Jesus, and a sign identifying him as the King of the Jews, that were nailed there, and nothing else. So how does Paul get from that to Colossians 2:14? Actually, it is fairly simple. It wasn’t the law of God that was nailed to the cross, but the handwritten death warrant for our sins. How did the law become against us? By our having committed sin. Sources say that the "handwriting of ordinances" was a Greek term for a death warrant. The New American Standard Version, considered to be the more literal version reads thus: "having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." Jesus was made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and thus it was our sins that were nailed to the cross in his person.

September 13, 2009

You asked:
In your program today you read John 20:23, but did not give your explanation of it. Could you share that with me?
  • (John 20:21-23 KJV)  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. {22} And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: {23} Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
This passage is troubling to some people, but it need not be. Jesus is not conveying an arbitrary right to retain or remit responsibility for sins committed. This is best understood by starting with:
(Deuteronomy 17:8-13 KJV)  If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose; {9} And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment: {10} And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall show thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: {11} According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. {12} And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. {13} And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.
It is impossiblie but that any law given will require a judiciary to interpret it and to make decisions based on it. What this passage does is to create that judiciary and make its decisions binding. By the time Jesus came on the scene, that authority had devolved in some measue on the Pharisees and Elders. This is what Jesus was driving at when he said this:
(Matthew 23:1-3 KJV)  Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, {2} Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: {3} All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
I.e. submit to the established religious authority. But after his resurrection, it is time for Jesus to transfer that judicial authority to his disciples which he does in the act described above by John. There could be any number of issues that might arise, and there had to be an internal way of resolving such questions without going to the civil courts. See also the chapters in Law and Covenant.

August 19, 2009

Could you please shed some light on Exodus 4:24-26? This little passage has posed many questions for me and I don't understand why it was just placed in there. I understand the idea behind circumcision but what happened between God, Moses and Zipporah? I just heard a interpretation of this passage that seems very far fetched and I am not sure what to make of it?

This is a very common question, because the passage is ambiguous. Most agree, though, that it is the son's circumcision that is at issue, not that of Moses. That issue would have been addressed much earlier, I think. But Zipporah's attitude suggests that it was her infant son who was not circumcised. She finally to save either Moses' life or that of her son, carried out the act herself.

August 15, 2009

I'm somewhat confused as to what you want to accomplish with sending the different e-mails [with, without] as I don't see either type until I open the e-mail. The graphics and such make the mail prettier and more 'appealing' to view but I would read it without as I am after the message not the "eye candy". Sad for those that want or need the prettier, faster, more visually appealing as it takes up time, effort and resources better spent on learning and making life changes. Sadder if any pass up the message because it doesn't "grab" them with appealing pretties.---Eileen.

Thanks for the feedback, Eileen. I was concerned that some might be like me. When I see a masthead and graphic I tend to think "Commercial" and delete it, whereas a plain email tends to get read. As it happens, it doesn't seem to make much difference, and the templates being created, it is no more difficult to send it with the graphics. We just fill in the message.

The Newsletter does have the advantage of being able to fill everyone in once a month on a variety if things with links, so it is useful there.

According to Constant Contact, the company handling this for us, the appearance is important because it creates an identity and people recognize stuff from us. Ours is strictly an opt-in list, so the people want to hear from us. If they are right, we want them to know they are hearing from us. Much of what we do with this is to keep from being blocked or treated as spam by the service providers, like hotmail. We have reason to believe that a lot of our emails were being blocked when we were mailing them from our own server.

Please let us know if you have problems with it.


August 12, 2009

I would like to get your input on a question that has been rolling around in my mind for a while now. What is the main function of a church? I attend a small church of about 50 persons. It has stayed this number for several years and the attendants are the same. We meet 3 to 4 days a week. We do not do any outreach work, or have ministries for our town or city. We basically meet, feed on the word and go home. There appears to be no growth in the members and we do not seem to be producing fruit. We have no building to call home, finances are tight and we meet in each others homes. There is a general sense of unrest in me and lately we seem to be straying off the word, as if the pastor is running out of topics and is bringing other nonbilical material into his classes and sermons. What is the role of a church and what kind of growth should be occurring? Can you direct me to any messages you have that would help in this area--- Shirley

It is interesting to note, that the First Christians met, for the most part, in homes. In the last chapter of Romans, Paul makes reference to the leaders (hosts, actually) of several churches that were "in their houses." So the size of a church is not crucial to its function. I sympathize with the pastor who is running out of ideas. I have been speaking now for more than fifty years and it is hard to find a topic I have not addressed. But the key for any pastor is reading widely. You can't get new stuff out unless you put something new in. You might help the pastor by asking some questions that might send him back to his books.

But in answer to the core question, "what is the main function of a church?" you have a really comprehensive mission statement for a church in Ephesians 4. And a lack of apparent activity by the church does not mean that its members aren't accomplishing anything. Some of them may be carrying on personal ministries that they aren't mentioning. Individual saints have done some amazing work at times, as the Spirit leads them and opens doors for them.





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