The six-lesson Know Your Bible correspondence course has room at the end of each lesson for the students to ask questions.
These questions often reveal the real needs of the students, and the answers to their questions are important.
The answers need to be brief, clear and to the point.
This is a collection of those questions and the answers I gave. Though the answers are short, I have tried to make them true to the Bible, and I have tried to give the Bible verses which prove them true.
Perhaps the reader will find some of them helpful.
The Bible does not say, "Accept Jesus as your Saviour." The Bible says, "Be saved." (Acts 2:40). Jesus will save you when you do what He says to be saved.
In Lesson 3 you found that you must 1) believe in Christ, 2) Repent of sins, 3) Confess faith in Christ, then 4) Be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins (see p. 7). Until you do these things, you are not save d. Jesus said, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16).
You ask if all those who are baptized will be saved. The answer is that all those who first believe in Christ, truly repent of their sins, and confess Christ will receive the forgiveness of all their past sins when they are baptized with the baptism commanded by Jesus. This is the promise of Jesus (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). However, if a person does not believe, or does not repent, dipping in water will not take away his sins.
After you are baptized, you must continue following Jesus. Whenever you sin you must repent and pray God for forgiveness. (Read Acts 8:18-24). God will continue to forgive you (1 John 1:5-9) and you will go to heaven when you die.
Many people are confused about the number of baptisms we must receive. There are seven different baptisms found in the New Testament: 1--Israelites in Red Sea (1 Cor. 10), 2--Baptism of John, 3) Baptism Jesus performed before He died, 4) Baptism Jesus commanded after He rose from the dead (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16), 5) Baptism of the Holy Spirit, 6) Baptism of suffering, 7) Baptism of fire.
When Paul wrote Ephesians 4:4-6, He said "there is ONE baptism," The baptisms which had been performed before were already finished. (These baptisms were: The baptism of Israel, John's baptism, baptism commanded by Jesus before His death, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.) The baptism of suffering is a special use of the word, and means that the apostles had to endure great suffering. The baptism of fire is eternal punishment in Hell.
Your friend says you must have three baptisms. Paul says there is ONE baptism. Your friend does not believe Paul!
Your friend says you must be baptized in the Holy Spirit and in fire. John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:11-12 that Jesus "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
You can see that the baptism of fire is eternal burning in hell. This is for the wicked. You do not want that!
The baptism in the Holy Spirit was a PROMISE. It was given to the apostles in Acts 2 and to the first Gentiles to receive the gospel in Acts 10. No one except those two groups was baptized in the Holy Spirit. (Note: In Acts 2 the "tongues AS of fire" looked like fire but were NOT fire. This was not the baptism in fire.)
We are not promised the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We are commanded to be baptized in water. No priest has the power to baptize anyone in the Holy Spirit or in fire.
You ask a very clear question about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. You ask whether it was only for the apostles or also for all Christians, and you ask why it was given.
The reason this subject is difficult for people is that there were different "measures" of the Holy Spirit given. In John 3:34 Jesus speaks about Himself saying, "For he whom God hath sent (Jesus) speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." (King James Version) I understand from that verse that Jesus received ALL the power of the Holy Spirit, not a measure (part) of that power.
Then Jesus gave His apostles power to cast out demons, and later He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." So they received some measure of the Holy Spirit (a part of the power which He gives).
Yet they had still not been BAPTIZED with the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem until they received that baptism. (Acts 1:4-5). This baptism occurred on Pentecost and is recorded in Acts 2.
The ONLY other ones who were baptized with the Holy Spirit the house of Cornelius (Acts 10, especially verses 44-48 and 11:13-18). Cornelius was the first GENTILE to receive the gospel.
The reason the baptism of the Holy Spirit was given to the apostles was to give them all the power necessary for them to do their job. (Read John 14:26 and 16:13). The baptism of the Holy Spirit gave them the power to perform miracles to show people that they were from God, and it gave them the words to preach and write. They also were given the power to lay their hands on Christians and give them the GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. Not all Christians had these gifts, and those who did have the gifts had different ones. One could speak in tongues and another could prophesy, etc.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit were given BY THE LAYING ON OF THE HANDS OF THE APOSTLES (Acts 8:14-19; 19:1-7). They were given because the New Testament was not yet completely written. Until the books were written, the church needed men who had the gifts to give them the word and to prove that it was the word from God.
In 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, however, Paul tells the brethren n Corinth that the gifts were going to stop. They were going to stop when "the perfect" came. "The perfect" (the complete thing) was the finished New Testament. When God gave everything He wanted us to have, then the gifts were no longer given.
So the gifts of prophecy, speaking in tongues, healing, etc. stopped when the New Testament was written. They were no longer necessary because everything we need to make us perfect is in the scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The way the Holy Spirit causes us to grow is this. The Holy Spirit is the One who gave the Word of God. When we read and believe the Word of God, we are listening to the Holy Spirit. When His word lives in our heart, the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us. This word produces the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and gives us what we need to fight against the devil (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Today there is ONE BAPTISM (Ephesians 4:4-6). This baptism is water baptism. Holy Spirit baptism was for the apostles and the first Gentiles. It is no longer given. Today we have the completed word of God, therefore God does not give the GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRI T. They have stopped just like He said they would (1 Corinthians 13:8). Today we have the word of God which dwells in our hearts and saves us, strengthens us and causes us to grow.
I pray that you will listen to that word which will save your soul.
You ask: "If the Christian had been baptized when he was born, is it important to be re-baptized? If yes, how? "
Ephesians 4:5 says that there is "one baptism." This means that God has only one baptism. Al l other baptisms come from men.
The baptism of Jesus is for the person who first is taught (Matthew 28:18-20), believes (Mark 16:16), repents (Acts 2:28), and confesses Christ (Acts 8:37). Since a baby cannot do those things, the baptism of Jesus is not for babies.
When a baby is baptized, it is not baptized with the baptism commanded by Jesus. Men say that baby baptism is from God, but Jesus does not say that. It is not the one baptism.
Anyone who has been baptized wrong has not been baptized with the ONE baptism of Jesus. He must therefore be baptized again the right way. In Acts 19:1-7 you will read about 12 men who were baptized the second time. When they were baptized the first time, they were baptized into John's baptism. Paul explained that John's baptism was no longer what God wanted. They were then baptized in the name of Jesus. You must be baptized a second time if your first baptism is not the baptism Jesus commanded.
You ask, "May I know whether I am wrong to be baptized without being saved?" You ask also, "May I know that to baptize a baby is wrong or right?" I will answer the two questions together.
Jesus is "the way." (John 14:6) He must tell us how to get to heaven. Any other way is not the right way. Also, "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Colossians 3:17) If I do something "in the name of" a person, I must first have his permission. So if I do something "in the name of Jesus" I must find His permission in the Bible. If I don't find permission in the Bible, I am wrong to do it.
So the answer to your two questions is this: God's word teaches that one must be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38). If you are baptized without being saved, you have done something which is not right.
The Bible also teaches that the one who is baptized must be a believer (Mark 16:16) and must repent (Acts 2:38). Since a baby cannot believe or repent, he must not be baptized. If I baptize a baby, I do it WITHOUT the permission of Jesus. It is wrong to do anything if I do not have His permission.
You ask whether a person who has been baptized and then sinned must be baptized again.
If a person has been baptized with Bible baptism, he does not have to be baptized again. Baptism is a part of the new birth. John 3:5 says, "Except a man is born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God." When one believes (because he or she has listened to the word of God given by the Holy Spirit in the Bible), repents and is baptized in order to receive the forgiveness of sins, that one is born into the family of God. He or she does not have to be born again and again into the family. Once is enough.
When the child of God sins, he has the wonderful privilege of praying for forgiveness. In Acts 8:22 Peter told the sinful Simon, "Repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you ." Simon had been baptized (Acts 8:12-13), so he needed only to repent and pray. Read also 1 John 1:5-10.
However, not every baptism is the baptism of Jesus. You must make sure that you have obeyed Christ in baptism, for there is only one baptism (Ephesians 4:4). If you have not obeyed Christ in that one baptism, you MUST be baptized again. (Read Acts 19:1-7)
You also ask: "Is it a sin to plan the family?" No, it is not a sin for married people to practice birth control. In fact I think that married people should be careful to have only as many children as they can properly provide for. "But if any one does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Timothy 5:8)
1 Cor. 7:2 shows that marriage is given in order for us to have our sexual desires satisfied. In 1 Cor. 7:3-5 we see that regular sexual relations between husband and wife are a duty of marriage. So in addition to the duty of having sex so that children can be born, there is the duty to have sex for the pleasure of one another.
Nothing in the Bible says that we must have as many children as we can. Therefore, in order to provide for the proper sexual needs in marriage, and in order not to have too many children, birth control is a good thing.
Of course, I am talking about birth control for married people. Sexual relations between unmarried people are sinful. I am not talking about birth control for them.
It is important to note that killing an unborn baby is murder. Abortion is a great sin against an innocent human being. If you are pregnant, do not consider such a thing. Have the baby. Bring the baby into the most loving environment that you are able to do.
There is also a method called IUD. This is something inserted in the womb to make sure that when the sperm has fertilized the egg, that the egg (now a human being) cannot attach to the wall of the uterus. This means the baby is aborted. This is a form of birth control which Christians cannot use. It is abortion.
There is now what is called "The Morning After Pill." This is a pill taken after sexual intercourse which causes the fertilized egg to abort. Like the IUD, this is a from of abortion, which really is murder.
The book of Revelation is difficult to understand because it is written in symbolic language. Many of the symbols are used in Old Testament books (Daniel, Ezekiel), and when one knows how the symbols are used in the Old Testament it helps to understand their use in the New Testament.
Many people misunderstand Revelation because they ignore what John says about WHEN the prophecies were to take place. In 1:1; 1:3; 20:10,12,20 Jesus says that these things were going to happen "soon" and "quickly." The prophecies therefore have already been fulfilled. We must not look for them to be fulfilled in the future. Those things began to happen shortly after John wrote and were soon finished.
The interpretation which fits best is the understanding that John was writing about the persecution coming on the church from the Roman Government. This was finished about 300 AD.
I am very happy that you want someone to "build Christ's church nearer to" you.
It is the word of God which can build the church near you. This is what built the church in the cities of the world when the apostles were preaching. They went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4).
So I am sending this letter also to Mr. _____. I am hoping that he will be able to come to you and preach the word of God. I want you to write to him and tell him how to find you when he comes.
God is willing to forgive His children of EVERY sin. He only asks that his children REPENT, confess and pray. Your heavenly Father loves you, don't forget that.
You ask why Jesus asked a drink of water from the Samaritan woman when His culture did not allow Him to associate with Samaritans.
This is a good question because it shows that there are some things more important than what our culture teaches us. Jesus was doing the will of His Father. When the rules of the culture were different from the will of His Father, He always did what God wanted.
And so must we. Many traditions of our nation, or our family, will be different from God's will. Acts 5:29 says, "We must obey God rather than men."
Even though God purposes certain things, the men who do sinful things in carrying out God's purpose are sinners. God never forces a man to sin. But since He knows how sinful men are, God knew that they would kill the sinless son of Man.
So when Judas showed the soldiers where to find Jesus late at night, He was doing a very wicked thing. He was betraying the One who loved him.
The city Saul was going to was Damascus. Therefore when Jesus told him to go into the city, He was telling him to go into Damascus. Saul was doing what Jesus told him to do.
The point I want you to understand about the conversion of Saul is this: Saul was not saved until he was baptized.
Saul saw Jesus.
He confessed Him as Lord.
He fasted for three days
Yet: When Ananias came to him, Ananias said, "Why tarriest thou, arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the lord." (Acts 22:16)
Ananias told him to wash away his sins. This means that he still had his sins. Even though Saul believed, prayed and fasted, he was NOT saved. He was not saved until he went down into the water and was baptized.
As you study carefully, you will find that this is God's will for us today. We are not saved at the time we believe. We are not saved at the time we repent. We are not saved at the time we confess. We are only saved when we are baptized.
You ask about the verse that says what one does to you, you should do to him.
In the Old Testament Law God said, "If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man so it shall be inflicted on him." (Leviticus 24:19-20). This was in God's law because the Law of Moses was a law for an entire nation. It gave penalties like the law of South Africa gives penalties. So the punishment of the law for the man who blinded an eye of his neighbour was that he should be blinded.
Today the criminal law (law containing penalties) is not a part of God's law for us. Jesus took the Law of Moses away when He died on the cross (Colossians 2:14-17). Now His law is a spiritual law. The criminal law is for the Government to give. It tells the judge what to do if a man is found guilty of hurting his neighbour.
Jesus teaches us not to hate our enemies (Matthew 5:38-48). We must do good to them. If there is any punishment for our enemies, the Government must give it. We must not take revenge by ourselves (Romans 12:19).
Fasting means to go without food, usually drinking only water.
The Jews were commanded to fast on one day in the year, the Day of Atonement.
The New Testament does not command Christians to fast. There are examples of people fasting (Acts 13:1-3; Acts 14:23) when there were serious decisions to make. Jesus fasted for forty days at the beginning of His great work. This shows that it is right for Christians to fast, but there is no command for them to do so. If a person fasts, he should do so because he wants to.
Because fasting makes us hungry, we can use that hunger to remind us of God. Instead of eating, we pray. This will do us good. Since there are no commands concerning fasting, we can either fast or not fast, and we can fast for whatever period of time we desire.
You ask: "I repented three weeks ago but I don't feel the Spirit of God in my heart."
Everyone wants to "feel" the Spirit of God. There is no promise in the Bible that the Spirit of God will give the Christian a feeling.
Many people say: "I know I am saved because I feel it in my heart." The way to know that you are saved is not to have a feeling. The way to know that you are saved is to do what Jesus says for you to do to be saved. Then you know you are saved because the word of God says so!
Of course, when you know you have done what God says to do to be saved, you will feel good. The Ethiopian "rejoiced" after he was baptized (Acts 8:39) because he had done what Philip told him to do. He knew therefore that his sins were forgiven.
We know that the Holy Spirit dwells in us when we listen to the words of the Bible. When those words, which were given by the Holy Spirit, live in our hearts and change our lives, the Holy Spirit is living in us.
Don't look for a feeling. Read your Bible and obey it. Then you will know that God is with you.
1 Corinthians 6:18 says, "Flee immorality." This means, "Run away from having sex with anyone unless you are married to that person." Sex is a very strong emotion. We must be very careful with it. We must run away from those things which may cause us to commit immorality.
You are worried because you think you love the young man who wants to have sex with you. He says there is nothing wrong with having sex since you love each other.
I have two things I want to say. The first is that love does not change the command of God. God's command is that we are not to have sex with anyone except with our husband or wife. Paul wrote: "'But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I." (Paul was not married) "But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn." (1 Corinthians 7:8-9) He also wrote, "But because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband." (1 Corinthians 7:2) He did not say, "Because of immoralities, let each man have his own girlfriend and each girl have her own boyfriend." If you listen to God, our Heavenly Father, you will not have sex with anyone until you are married.
The second thing I want to say is this: If your boyfriend will not keep on loving you unless you have sex with him he does not really love you. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and you will see what love is. In those verses it says that love "does not act unbecomingly" and "does not seek its own." When your boyfriend is trying to have sex with you he is acting unbecomingly. He is not thinking of what is good for you, but he is thinking of what will satisfy his lust.
Many young women have sex with their boyfriends because they are afraid that the boyfriend will not love them without the sex. You must not let this fear cause you to do what is wrong. You must have faith in God. Trust God that He will bless you. You don't have to have sex before marriage to find a good husband.
You don't have to have sex with a boyfriend to keep him - not if he is a Christian who also loves God.
Finally, you can gain strength if you will read the story of Joseph (Genesis 39). You too can be strong like Joseph.
I am praying for you.
It is correct that the true church follows the teaching of the apostles. But the teaching of the apostles of Christ is found ONLY in the New Testament.
The office of an apostle was for the beginning of the church. The work of the apostles was to give us the New Testament of Jesus Christ. In order to be an apostle, a man had to be a WITNESS of Jesus' life and death and resurrection (Acts 1:21-22). No man living today can be an apostle. In Ephesians 2:20 Paul wrote: "having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone." The work of the apostles was FOUNDATION work. After a foundation is laid, it does not have to be laid again. Once the apostles had brought all of Christ's word to us, their work was finished. It does not have to be repeated. We build upon that foundation by listening to their word -found in the New Testament.
The way to follow the teaching of the apostles is to read and study their word carefully. Then we will be able to know it and follow it. This is what we must do. We must be careful NOT to follow men who claim to be apostles today, because they are false apostles.
You ask: "Is there any forgiveness to the person who has been saved but sinned again?" The answer is clearly "Yes!" If there were no forgiveness, we would be without hope.
In Romans 7, Paul writes about how he tried to live right but did not. At the time he was living under the Old Testament law, and he seemed to think that he would be saved by keeping that law perfectly. Because he sinned, he became "wretched." He cried out, "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24) This is the cry that we all must make if we think we must be good enough to go to heaven.
Paul's answer is given in Romans 8. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (v. 1) The reason is stated in verse two: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." Because Jesus died on the cross, those who are in Christ Jesus by being baptized into Christ -- Romans 6:3-4 -- and by continuing in Christ's Will by walking in the light --1 John 1:7-9-- continue to be forgiven. They are not able to walk perfectly, though they try. They are unhappy when they sin and repent of their sins. Because of this they can pray God and know that they are forgiven. We are free from the "law of sin and of death" (the principle that when we sin we are cut off from God) because we are now under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
God knows our weakness. He knows that even His children will sin. But He will forgive because we believe in Him and are trying to follow him.
The one who is not a Christian must repent and be baptized in order to be saved. But the Christian has the wonderful privilege of PRAYING for the forgiveness of his sins. When he was baptized he came "INTO CHRIST." Now that he is IN Christ he can speak to God through Jesus.
In Acts 8 a man named Simon became a Christian. "But when they (the Samaritans) believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. And even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip; and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed." (Acts 8:12-13) (Since Simon believed and was baptized, he was saved according to Mark 16:16). But after he was saved, Simon tried to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit. "But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that if possible the intention of your heart may be forgiven you." (Acts 8:20-22)
So Simon, a Christian, sinned. But he could be forgiven if he would "repent and pray." So can every Christian today. Praise God that this is so.
When you ask how you can forgive someone who speaks against you, you are asking almost the same question which the disciples asked Jesus. "Then Peter came and said to Him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"' (Matthew 18:21) Please read Matthew 18:21-35 and Luke 17:1-10. Jesus says we are to forgive seven times a day! Seven stands for a perfect number - so He is saying we must forgive every time he repents.
We should always be willing to forgive. The only thing the sinner must do is repent. "Repent" means "to be sorry for what you have done and decide not to do it again."
The reason the Christian can forgive others is because Christ has forgiven him. When one looks into his own life and sees how many sins have been forgiven by Christ, it is a little thing to forgive a brother for the things he has done. This is the message of Matthew 18.
Revenge should not be your motive when dealing with people. If the man who sins against me needs to be punished, I can be sure that God will take care of that (Romans 12:17-21). Since I know that God will punish the sinful man, I can be sorry for him. This makes it easier to forgive.
I am enclosing an outline on how to understand the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." It is through the word of God that the Holy Spirit causes us to grow. The Bible was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. When you listen to it, you are listening to the Holy Spirit. The more you understand, the more you can grow.
Of course, the word of God must be obeyed. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15) So make sure that you do everything you can to obey God.
The use of instrumental music in worship to God is sinful because of one thing:
The New Testament does not give Christians permission to use it.
1) We MUST have permission for it to be right. Some people say it is right to use instrumental music in worship because there is nothing which says, "Thou shalt NOT use instruments." But God tells us:
"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." Colossians 3:17.
If I do something in the name of a person, I do that thing because he has told me to do it. If someone knocks on your door in the middle of the night and shouts, "Open in the name of the police," you expect a policeman to be there. If instead you find your neighbour you will get angry with him. Because "in the name of" means "by the authority of," and he does not have the right to do something "in the name of" the police unless the police have authorized him to do that.
So it is not right for us to use instrumental music in worship unless we can do it "in the name of" Jesus. But we can only do it in His name if He has told us to do it.
In Leviticus 10:1-2, the sons of Aaron offered "strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them." God punished them by sending fire from heaven to burn them up. They were worshipping God in a way which he had not commanded, therefore they had no right to do it. No one has a right to worship God in any way except in the way God commands.
2) The permission to use instrumental music in worship MUST be found in the NEW TESTAMENT. The Old Testament law was given to the Jews, not to all people. And it was given "until the seed (Jesus) should come" (Galatians 3:19). When He came, He fulfilled that law and nailed it to His cross (Colossians 2:14-17). Now that faith has come, we are no longer under that law (Galatians 3:23-25). If we were still under that law, we would have to offer animal sacrifices, stop working on Saturday, and keep the feast days of the Law. But those things are not our law because the law of Moses ended when Jesus died on the cross.
We live under the New Testament of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:15-17). This is written in the 27 books of the New Testament. If we can't find permission for instrumental music in worship there, we cannot do it "in the name of Jesus."
3) The New Testament says to "SING." (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19). When I sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, making melody with my HEART to the Lord, I am doing what He commands. I can do that in the name of Jesus. He is pleased with that.
But when I PLAY on a drum, or guitar, or piano I am something different. The word "SING" does not mean "PLAY." If I PLAY I do something Jesus COMMANDED NOT. It is something is not "in the name of Jesus."
REVIEW: Let me state it this way:
Everything which is pleasing to God must be done "in the name of Jesus Christ" (Colossians 3:17), which means it must be authorized in the New Testament.
Instrumental music in worship is not authorized in the New Testament, because the word "sing" is used, which does not include "play."
Therefore instrumental music in worship is a sin because it is not pleasing to God.
NOTE: You cited Psalm 150:4. The Psalms were written by King David and others who lived under the law of Moses. Psalm 150 also commands dancing in worship. These things were right under the law of Moses. But they are no part of the New Testament of Jesus Christ. (Note that the Psalms tell men to offer sacrifices--107:22; 116:17; 66:15).
You are correct. Those who have had water sprinkled on them have not been baptized. The Greek word for " baptism" means "dipping, plunging, burying." You can see this meaning is right when you read the following verses: John 3:23; Mark 1:9-10; Acts 8:36-39; Romans 6:4-5; Colossians 2:12. Since there is only ONE baptism (Ephesians 4:4-6), you must be buried in water or you have not been baptized.
If a person has been sprinkled, he has not been baptized. He must be baptized to be saved. Therefore he must be buried in the water.
Anyone who has been baptized wrong has not been baptized with the ONE baptism of Jesus. He must therefore be baptized again the right way. In Acts 19:1-7 you will read about 12 men who were baptized the second time. W hen they were baptized the first time, they were baptized into John's baptism. Paul explained that John's baptism was no longer what God wanted. They were then baptized in the name of Jesus. You must be baptized a second time if your first baptism is not the baptism Jesus commanded.
You ask whether death is the will of God or of Satan.
In Genesis 3 we read of Adam's sin. Because he and Eve sinned, they were driven from the Garden of Eden. They then could no longer eat of the Tree of Life. For this reason, they had to die, and we have to die.
So death is the result of the sin of Adam and Eve.
When an individual dies, we cannot say that God killed him. God allowed him to die. In certain cases I believe that God will keep a person from dying. Sometimes God has killed people (by sing armies or some other means on the earth) when they were wicked and deserved punishment.
Satan is a murderer. He murders by causing people to believe lies, making them angry with one another so that they will kill, etc. He does not kill people by special power - only by the power of lies.
We all have to die. The important thing is to be always prepared to meet God when we do.
You are correct that God does not cause us to sin.
However, He does test us and try us in order that we may become strong. In this he promises: "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
So when we pray, "Lead us not into temptation" we are praying for God to fulfill His promise not to allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear.
You ask what a Christian must do when his parents want to make a sacrifice to their gods when he is leaving home to find work.
The conflict is between the Christian's duty to obey and honour his parents and his duty to obey God and have no other gods before Him.
Whenever there is such a conflict, the Christian must obey God rather than men. When the judges commanded the apostles not to preach Jesus Peter answered, "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29). When one of the disciples said to Jesus, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father" Jesus said, "Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead." (Matthew 8:20-21) He also said, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me." (Matthew 10:37)
In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Paul commands Christians to have no fellowship with the worship of false gods. We cannot go to feasts for the ancestors because people will think we are worshipping them together with the rest of the people. Therefore you cannot agree with your parents to sacrifice to their gods when you go away to find work. If you agree you disobey Christ!
My advice is to explain nicely to your parents that you love them and want to obey them, but you cannot have anything to do with a sacrifice to any gods. If they sacrifice to their gods, you will have to be somewhere else. Tell them that you are praying to God and believe that He will help you in every good thing. You have no need of any help from any other so-called god.
I hope that they will understand. However, you must be prepared to suffer if necessary, and to suffer without complaining. Read 1 Peter 3:12-19 and you will find the strength to endure the suffering.
Exodus 20:13 is translated this way in the New American Standard Bible (the one I use): "You shall not murder." This is the kind of killing God forbade.
God did not forbid the killing of animals. In fact, he commanded that certain animals be killed for sacrifices (See Leviticus chapters 4 and 5, for instance.)
God did not forbid killing in war (see 1 Samuel 15 for an instance when God commanded Israel to kill its enemies). God also commanded that the people should put a murderer to death (Exodus 21:12).
You ask if it is a sin to say, "I do not know" when someone asks you where a person is when you know that the one asking will kill that person."
I have found this a very difficult question to answer. There are two things which happened in the Old Testament. These things may help us answer the question.
1. In 1 Samuel 21:10-15, David's life was in danger. King Achish was going to kill him. David acted crazy. He even let his spit run down his beard. The king thought he was crazy, so he did not kill him.
2. In Joshua 2:1-7 Rahab protected the spies. Joshua sent the spies. Rahab put them on her roof. When the soldiers came to find the spies, she told them a lie. She said that the spies had left. Rahab was blessed because she did this.
I think, therefore, that if you tell a lie to save a life, it may not be a sin. But I cannot be sure.
"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth." Psalm 145:18.
You want to be near to the Lord. This is the goal of all who want to spend eternity in heaven.
Notice that there are two things in the verse: 1) We must call upon the Lord, and 2) we must call upon Him in truth. Those who call upon Him without doing His will are not near to God (Matthew 7:21-23).
In lesson 3 you will study about what you must do to be saved. When you do those things, you are calling on the name of the Lord. Read the story about the conversion of Saul (p. 4 of lesson 3). After Saul had seen Jesus and prayed for three days, Ananias told him "Arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16) Saul had been praying, but he still nee~ to "call on the lord." Until he was baptized, he had not done that. So study all the verses in lesson 3 and OBEY Jesus Christ.
When you have done that, you are beginning a life with Jesus. Continue to study your Bible and obey each day what Jesus commands. Then you will know that you are near to God.
Do not wait for a special feeling. You will know that you are near to God because His Bible says so. He always tells the truth.
It is very difficult when your parents do not want you to go to church. But many young people face this problem.
When you decide to follow Christ, you must be willing to bear trouble from your family. Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me." (Matthew 10:34-38)
Let me make some suggestions which may help. First of all, make sure you ARE following JESUS. Perhaps you just like to be with your friends at church and you are following them. That is not enough. Be sure that you love JESUS. If you love HIM, you will study his word carefully to follow it. In the studies you are doing with us, study carefully to see that you are obeying Jesus Christ.
Then explain to your parents that you are praying and going to church because you believe that is what you must do to please God. Explain that you do not want to hurt your parents, that you love them and respect them.
Then act in such a way that they will see Christ in you. If they give you a hiding, suffer it with joy (Read 1 Peter 2:19-25.) Be as good a daughter as you know how. Sometimes young people go to church just to be cheeky to their parents. Be sure that you try to be ALL that Christ wants you to be.
Remember this promise: "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13) Write this verse on a card and read it often. It will give you great strength.
You say that your prayers often seem meaningless toward the end and want to know what to do. This is connected with your second question as to how we can know our prayers are answered, so I will answer them together.
First of all, prayer is the privilege of the Christian. Review lesson 3 carefully. Ask yourself, "Have I done what I must do to become a Christian? Did I believe I was saved before I was baptized? Was I truly baptized 'for the forgiveness of sins ' or was it to show that I was already forgiven of my sins?" Read Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3-4 and 1 Peter 3:21. One must be baptized for the forgiveness of sins in order to be saved. I am guessing that you were not baptized with the right baptism, because the denominations do not teach or practice Bible baptism. If this is so, you only think you are a Christian. To really become a Christian you need to obey Christ in His baptism. I am enclosing lesson six which is a careful study of baptism. Write to us if we can help you be baptized.
When the Christian prays, he must understand that God truly hears him if he prays from the heart. We don't have to have a certain feeling to know this. God tells us in His word so we know it is true. When we pray we must truly believe this (James 1:5-8). When we pray we must repent of our sins and confess them (1 John 1:8-9), pray according to the will of God ("thy will be done"), with love in our hearts for God and for others. Our prayers must not be said to be heard by others but should be the simple expression of our hearts (Matthew 6:5-7). Don't keep praying a long time just because you think you should pray a long prayer. Pray until you have said everything to God that you want to say.
Yes, God answers our prayers, but it is difficult to know that a certain thing is an answer to our prayers. Since God promises to answer our prayers, we have confidence that He does. Many times we can look back in our lives and find things which certainly appear to be answers to our prayers. God takes care of His people.
when Jesus teaches us to pray (Matthew 6) He tells us to pray "in this way." He does not say "in these words." The prayer is an example of how we are to pray. It shows that prayer can be simple, and it shows some of the different things we should pray for.
Praying the same words each time can lead to what Jesus calls "vain repetition" (Matthew 6:7). We should simply say to God what we want to say. It may be the same thing we have said before, or it may be something else. The important thing is to be sure that we are thinking about what we are praying and are praying what is our real desire.
I do not believe that God talks to people today. The man who says that God wants him to marry a certain lady is listening to his own mind. God did not say anything to him.
The reason I believe that God does not talk to us today is because 1 Corinthians 13:8 says so. There it says that prophecy (God talking to someone) was going to stop. In the rest of the chapter he explains that prophecy would stop when the Bible was completely given. It has been given. So God is not talking to people today.
You ask, "After I have been saved and I die without baptism, Can I enter into heaven?"
I think you are confused. I think you believe that when a person accepts Christ as his Saviour he is saved. But that is not true.
A person is not saved UNTIL he is baptized. Notice John 3:5: "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Being "born of water" means being baptized in water. So no one can enter the kingdom of God (the church) without being baptized. No one can be born again without being baptized. Therefore unless a person is baptized in water he cannot be saved.
This is why Peter told the people who believed in Jesus, " Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins." (Acts 2:38) We don't have forgiveness of sins until we are baptized.
If you want to go to heaven, you must be baptized with the baptism Jesus commanded. I will be glad to come and talk with you about this and help you be baptized.
You ask what things can allow you to have sex with your lover. You think it may be when you pay money to the parent of the girl or are known by the parent.
For the answer to this we must not look to custom but to God. Customs are practices which are acceptable to people. But people do not make God's laws. God makes His laws and He has written them in the Bible. So we must look in the Bible for the answer.
The word "fornication" (also translated "immorality") comes from a Greek word which means "unlawful sexual intercourse." This is a great sin. If you will read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 you will see that a Christian must be very careful to keep himself from fornication.
The only lawful sexual intercourse is between people who are married to each other. 1 Corinthians 7:2 says, "But because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband." We know what a wife and a husband are. You asked about having sex with your lover. A lover is not a wife. God says that you may have sex with your wife but not with your lover. If you have sex with a lover, God says it is "fornication" (immorality). It is a sin against your own body.
There are many customs which are against God's laws. Any custom which allows you to have sexual intercourse with anyone except the one wife you are joined to by God is a wrong custom and must not be followed.
I pray that you will listen to God and keep yourself from all fornication. God will help you. Read 1 Corinthians 10:13.
You ask: "If I have a boy-friend who has paid a dowry but not yet married me and forced me to have sexual intercourse with him, is it a sin?"
Let me quote 1 Corinthians 7:1-2: "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman, But because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband." When we have sex with someone to whom we are not married, it is "immorality" (fornication). This is a sin. 1 Corinthians 6:13 says: "Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food; but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body." And in 1 Corinthians 6:18 Paul writes: "Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body."What must you do? Your future husband has already paid lobola. He considers that he owns you because he has paid for you. Yet you have not been married. If he has already paid lobola, there is no reason why you cannot be married. My strong suggestion is that you get married. 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 says, "But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn." It is better for you and your future husband to get married than to burn with desire which may lead to fornication.
I know that you are still in college. But I think you can continue in college even after you are married.
On page 7 of lesson 4 is the question: "If we follow the description of the church found in the New Testament, what church will we be today?" You answered: "I will be Pentecost church."
This is not really an answer to the question. If may be that you want to be a member of the Pentecostal Church even if it is not the church described in the New Testament. Or perhaps you really do think that the Pentecostal Church is the church of the Bible.
But I think you want to follow the Bible. That is why you are writing the correspondence course. I know that you MUST follow the Bible if you are going to please God and go to Heaven. So let me show you some things.
1) If the Pentecostal Church is described in the New Testament, we can expect to find its name, its organisation, its worship, and how to become a member all in the New Testament.
The New Testament DOES give us the names of the church, but it does not call the church "Pentecostal Church." Some men have decided to name a denomination with that name. It is not found in the Bible. The word "Pentecost" is in the Bible. It is the name of one of the feast days given to the Jews by God. It is not a day which Christians are commanded to observe. It is not a name which is used to describe the church.
QUESTION: CAN THE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH BE THE CHURCH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT WHEN ITS NAME CANNOT BE FOUND THERE? The organisation of the church is described on page 5 of lesson four. Each congregation (local church) had elders. These men were also called bishops and pastors. There were more than one in each church. They were teachers, leaders and overseers (bosses) in the congregation.
There were no supervising officers over the churches. Each church had its own supervisors (elders), and there were no bishops, archbishops or superintendents higher than they. There were no district head quarters. Only churches.
The Pentecostal Church has organisations which are not churches. They have district headquarters, etc.
QUESTION: CAN THE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH BE THE CHURCH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT WHEN ITS ORGANISATION IS DIFFERENT FROM THE ORGANISATION DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE?
3) We can say the same thing about worship, about the titles which are given to preachers (No man is called "reverend" in the Bible--only God is reverend.), and about many other things. How can the Pentecostal Church be the church of the New Testament when it does not follow the New Testament in these important things?
Please study lesson five very carefully. It talks about some of these things. And I am including a Zulu tract on the New Testament church.
I am happy that you have noticed the difference between God's law in the Old Testament concerning the tithe (1/10th) and His law in the New Testament concerning giving.
The nature of the New Testament is a "law on the heart." The motive is love (John 14:15). So when the New Testament talks about giving, it does not give us a fixed, minimum figure. Instead it says: "On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper." (1 Cor. 16:2) "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:6-7) The examples commended are examples of sacrifice: the poor widow who gave all she had, the disciples who sold their possessions so the poor would have enough (Acts 4:34-37), and the Macedonians (2 Cor. 8:1-5).
This leaves the amount up to the Christian. It is at once a more difficult law, in that it is the maximum we are striving to give not the minimum, and an easier law, because since our motive is love giving is a joy not a burden.
I am sure you can see that the New Testament way of giving is far different from the denominational method of keeping records of how much each one gives, or of assessing monthly "dues."
Jesus was a Jew. He was whatever colour the Jews were. Most of the paintings of Jesus began in Europe in the middle ages, and the artists painted Jesus according to their ideas of beauty. That is why He is painted with long brown hair, etc.
The Bible does not tell us what Jesus looked like. It is not important. Jesus showed us the Father in the way that He acted. The shape or colour of His face did not show us the Father.
The Jews and the Arabs today are a bit brownish in colour and have black hair. I suppose that was the colour of Jesus.
Your second question deals with the language in which we should sing. 1 Corinthians 14:26 says, "Let all things be done for edification." (Edification means the "building up" of the people.) In the same chapter, it says that when those people spoke in tongues (by inspiration of the Holy Spirit some could then speak in foreign languages-this gift is not given today-1 Corinthians 13:8) that someone should interpret, because people cannot be edified if they cannot understand what is spoken. From this we understand that when we teach or sing or pray, we must do this in the language which the people can understand. This is why I use an interpreter when I preach in Venda.
This means that when we sing, we should sing in a language the people can understand. If the congregation understand the Zulu or Shangaan or English words, then the song can be used. If they cannot understand, they cannot be edified, therefore the song should not be used.
You ask about John 5:28-29 in which Jesus says: "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, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment."
The New Testament is plain that everyone who dies will be raised from the dead when Jesus comes again. This will be the great day of Judgment when the final punishments and rewards will be given to all men who have ever lived. The picture of this judgment is found in Matthew 25:31-46. This takes place "when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne." (Matt. 25:31)
What will happen to you on this Judgment Day will depend upon what you do while you live. "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed (paid) for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10)
The reason we are sending you this correspondence course is so that you can learn how to be in that number who will go to Heaven in the resurrection Day. We pray that you will saved to be with Christ forever.
You ask: "How long after death is the Judgment Day?" In one sense, we are judged at the time of death. Luke 16:19-31 tells us that happiness or punishment starts then. Yet, the final punishment and reward will not be ours until Jesus comes.
This is when our bodies are raised and the faithful go to heaven. So this time is referred to as the Judgment Day.
Jude 6 says, "And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day." This shows that though the angels are now being punished (kept in eternal bonds under darkness), their final punishment awaits them at the judgment day.
The Bible does not tell us when Jesus was born. There is nothing to tell us even the time of the year. Men have guessed every month of the year, but the Bible does not say.
The year of His birth is also a difficulty. Luke 3:23 says that He was about 30 years old when He began preaching. So He was 33 when He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.
Several hundred years later the Roman Empire decided to start their calendar with the birth of Jesus. Many years after that, however, researchers decided that a mistake had been made. Instead of the years beginning with the birth of Jesus, the calendar began about four years after His birth. So that is why you read that the birth of Jesus was 4 B.C.
I suppose that is correct but I cannot prove it. The day, month and year of Jesus' birth are not important because God did not give them to us.
You will also notice that there is no command or example to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and the word "Christmas" is a word given by the Roman Catholics many centuries after the Bible was completed. Those who believe that we must follow the Bible ONLY do not celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Jesus.
Your second question is: "Why did Jesus conceal that He was the Messiah?" He did this because the people were not ready for this fact. They thought the Messiah was an earthly king. Jesus had to teach them many things before they could understand what it meant for Him to be the Messiah.
In all teaching we have to teach what a person is ready for. You cannot teach algebra before you teach addition.
You ask if God will forgive a girl who has become pregnant before marriage and if such a girl can find a husband.
God forgives us of every sin when we become Christians. In lesson three you will find how to become a Christian. Notice that you must believe, repent (be sorry for your sins and decide to quit them and follow Jesus), confess Christ, and be baptized in order to be saved. It makes no difference what sins you have committed, God will forgive them ALL. Please write to us if you want help in becoming a Christian.
After one is a Christian, that one can also sin. But the Christian will be forgiven when he or she repents of the sins and prays for forgiveness. (Acts 8:12-24; 1 John 1:8-9) Fornication (sex outside of marriage) will be forgiven if you truly repent and pray for forgiveness (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
A girl who has had a baby before marriage can certainly be married. She has sinned, but that sin does not mean she can never be married. If a man marries her and takes her baby, she can be faithful to God and to her husband. God will bless her.