Q&A-04- Questions & Answers Series #4
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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
We welcome you today to our Bible questions and answers series.
We have some really good questions that we're going to look to the word of
God for answer to. I suspect that maybe even you have thought about
some of these questions and are wondering- what does the Bible say on
Our first question that's been submitted today is this, ‘Should we fear
the Lord today or should we just respect Him? What does the Bible say
about Christians fearing the Lord?’
There's no doubt from the Scripture that Christians ought to have a
healthy fear for the Lord- not just respect only. Don't get me wrong, we
ought to respect God but what about passages like Matthew 10:28 “Fear
Him who cannot only destroy body but fear Him who can destroy both body
and soul in hell fire”? God is to be feared by His people because He has
that ultimate control and power.
Now does that mean that I'm living in terror or trepidation or that I'm
having a panic attack every time I think about God? Well no. The Bible
says in 1 John 4:16-18 that love cast out that kind of terror fear. I don't live
in terror of God if I'm living right. I do live with a healthy fear of who God is,
and the God of heaven is to be feared. Listen to Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let's
hear the conclusion of the whole matter, fear God and keep His
commandments this is the whole duty of man.” There's no doubt that for
someone who's living as they ought to live, trying to fear God, trying to live
according to His will- we can live in harmony with God and not have to live
in trepidation of who God is. Let's also be honest about it. For someone
who is not living right and for someone who is not a Christian, they very
well ought to be afraid of Almighty God. Listen to 2 Corinthians 5:11
“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” Hebrews
10:29 and chapter Hebrews 10:29 and 12:31 says it is a ‘Fearful thing to
fall into the hands of the living God because our God is a consuming fire.’
We want have up a healthy fear of God that is we know who God is.
We know what His laws are. We're trying to live in harmony with those, and
we utilize God and His power and His word in our life. Not living as though
we're going to have a panic attack every day, that's not the idea. With that
healthy dose of fear, it's such a good thing for the child of God to have
knowledge of and to live every day in view of that. Yes, a Christian should
not just respect the Lord, but should also fear Him.
Let's then turn to another question that a lot of religious people have
today. It's a very good question.
If you'd like to submit a question for our consideration, you can email
that question to us at firstname.lastname@example.org through our email
address or you can visit our website thegospelofChrist.com/questions fill
out a form and those'll be sent to us as well.
Here's the next question. The writer says, ‘Sometimes I see people
who sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and have things like a birthday cake and
a party for Jesus on December 25. Does the Bible say December 25 is the
birthday of Jesus and should we be celebrating His birthday?’
Before we go any further let's say this, thank God that Jesus was
born into this world. Thank God that He lived a perfect life that He and His
life was in harmony with the will of God, that as He died as an ultimate
sacrifice and that He is currently reining at the right hand of God. Every
person is thankful who believes in Christ for that. Now consider the
question- is December 25 given in the Bible as the birthday of Jesus?
Friend the answer is no. The Bible doesn't tell us when Jesus was
born. I don't know if it was June 12, October 3, or December 25, or
February eighth. We just don't know. We're just not told the exact day
Jesus was born. If we're not told when Jesus is born, how did December 25
come about? Well men throughout time has attached that day to the birth of
Jesus; although, there are several things in the Scripture which lead us to
believe it was probably not that time of year in that part of the world.
They're too many things that seem to indicate was not that time, but we
don't know. Should we celebrate December 25th as the birth of Jesus?
Well if we don't know that's the day, how could we? If you were born on
March 12 and I celebrate your birthday on September 13, how would you
feel? Well you probably wouldn't like that it's not your birthday. I don't know
when Jesus was born.
Now let's ask maybe even more relevant question, does the Bible
teach we should celebrate the birth of Jesus? We find nowhere in Scripture
where Christians are commanded to celebrate the birth of Christ. We just
don't. We're not told to do that. People were excited when He came to the
world. They glorified God. It was a wonderful event. As far as Christians in
the New Testament church go, we don't find authority for doing that.
Someone says ‘well it won't matter.’ We're not to go beyond what's written.
Right? 1 Corinthians 4:6. We're not to add to or take away, Revelation
22:18-19. If we're to follow the Bible as our guide, and we are, then the
Bible doesn't tell us to do that. Someone says ‘well the Bible doesn't say
not to’ that's not the way we operate. The Bible also says don't inject heroin
into your vein. Are you going to go do it because of that? We operate
based off what the Bible does tell us to do- what the Bible warns us against
and things that are mentioned specifically in Scripture.
Now is there something that Christians are told to remember about
Christ? Absolutely! It's not His birth. Please don't misunderstand me. Thank
God Jesus was born into the world. Thank God for His stellar life, His
sacrifice, and things like unto that. It's not His birth, it's His death that
Christians are commanded to remember and to honor Him through. We do
that when we partake of the Lord's supper every first day of the week.
Jesus said at Matthew 26:26-28 as He took that bread and as He took that
fruit of the vine, Jesus said “Do this in remembrance of me.” We honor
Christ as we partake of the Lord's supper. We honor His life and His death
every first day of the week, Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. I know there
are a lot of people who, you know want to have this idea of having a
birthday party for Jesus and have a cake and celebrate His birthday on
The Bible doesn't tell us when His birthday is, and the Bible tells us
we honor Christ by remembering His death through the Lord's supper every
first day of the week. Is it wrong for person to be thankful for Jesus was
born? Could you be thankful for that any day? Absolutely!
Now friend as far as celebrating His birthday and having a cake and
doing all that, we just don't find any of that. That's American more American
culture than anything, and we don't find things find things like that
anywhere in the Scripture.
Alright let's then turn our attention to another question that has been
submitted by a viewer of our program. This person asked, ‘What is the rock
that the church is built on that is mentioned in Matthew 16:18-19? Is that
Let's turn our attention to the words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 16,
and I want you to look at what He asked His disciples, the context of what
He asked His disciples. Beginning in verse number 13 the Bible says,
“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi He asked His
disciples saying, ‘Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?’ So they said,
‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, others Jeremiah, or one of the
prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I?’ Simon Peter
answered and said, ‘You are the Christ the Son of the living God.’ Jesus
answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh
and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father who is in heaven. And
I say to you that you’re Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the
gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.’”
We consider the question from the context of these verses, what is
the rock that Jesus built the church on? What is the rock the church is built
upon? Is it Peter?
Consider if it is Peter that it is not a very firm stable foundation to
build the church on. Consider that with me for just a moment- in Luke
chapter 23, in John chapter 18 and in the gospel of Matthew chapter 27 as
well, Jesus promised to Peter ‘before the rooster crows you will deny me
three times.’ Peter wept bitterly when he heard that rooster crow. ‘You also
were one of them.’ ‘Oh no, not me.’ ‘Your speech betrays you!’ ‘I wasn't
one.’ The text tells us he began to curse and swear, ‘I don't even know the
man.’ Can we say that's the rock the church was built on? Not a very firm
Turn then to Galatians chapter 2 and we consider Peter's character
after that point in time when certain Jews came around. Peter didn't want to
have anything doing Gentiles, but when they weren’t around he would
associate with the Gentiles. The Bible says the apostle Paul rebuked him to
his face because he was to be blamed. Peter played the hypocrite with the
Jews there he played one person. With the Gentiles there, he was another
person. Is that the rock the church is built on? Again, not a very firm
foundation. But what according to the context do we know? Jesus said,
“Upon this rock I will build my church.” He said, “I say to you that you're
Peter,” ‘petros’ that word means a small stone or a pebble. He said, “I say
to you that you're ‘a small stone or a pebble’ but upon this ‘petros’ this
boulder this foundation rock, I will build my church.” Peter's a small stone or
a pebble. What's this foundation?
Well back up a little in context. “Who do men say that I am?” “Some
Elijah, Jeremiah, one of the prophets.” “Who do you say I am?” Peter spoke
up and he said, ‘You're the Christ. You're the Messiah. You're the Son of
the living God.” Jesus said, “And I say to you that you’re Peter and on this
rock,” on the fact that you have recognized I am the Messiah the Son of
God, “I will build my church.” Church is not built on Peter. It's built on that
foundational statement -Jesus is the Messiah. He's the Son of God.
Friend, that's a stable foundation. Jesus cannot lie. He is the same
yesterday, today, and forever Hebrews 13:8. He has not committed any
type of sin nor was guile or deceit found in His mouth, Hebrews 4:15, 1
Peter 2:21-22, and He's that foundation. Paul confirms this in 1 Corinthians
3:11, “No other foundation can any man lay,” listen now, “except that which
is laid.” What is it Paul? “Jesus Christ.” Paul confirmed what Jesus said in
Matthew 16:13-18. He's the foundation. Christ is that that foundational
interlocking stone according to Acts 4:10-12. Peter is not what the church is
built on. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is built on the fact He's the
Messiah. He's the Son of Almighty God.
Now we turn our attention to another question for our consideration
today that has been submitted.
Now here's the question that's been asked, ‘I know some
congregations that do not have or are not trying to have elders today.
Should the Lord's church have elders today?’
Well friend the Bible definitively says the Lord's church, the Lord's
church, should have elders today. If they don't, it ought to be something
they're working toward. If they're not working toward that something is
definitely awry in that congregation.
Let me illustrate. Titus 1:5 will be the first verse that we'll direct your
attention to. Paul sent Titus to the island of Crete to work with the Lord's
church, and he was given a specific purpose for going there. Notice what is
said in Titus 1:5. Paul said to Titus, “For this reason I left you in Crete that
you should set in order things are lacking,” watch this now, “and appoint
elders,” plurality, “in every city as I commanded you.” Congregation would
be in the city, and so you've got elders in every congregation is the idea. Is
it the case that every congregation ought to have elders? You bet! “Appoint
elders in every city,” that's the idea. Congregation ought to have elders.
Listen to what Paul said in Acts 14:17. Here we learn more about the
appointing of elders in the congregations that Paul had worked with on his
missionary journeys. The Bible says in Acts chapter 14 as they're going
around, as they're strengthening the churches, Acts 14:23 “so when they
had appointed elders,” listen now, “in every church prayed with fasting they
commended them to the Lord, in whom they had believed this reason I left
you in Crete appoint elders in every city.” They appointed elders in every
church, kind of that same idea there. Is it the case that in every
congregation of the Lord's people, the ideal pattern is for every
congregation to have qualified elders? There’s no doubt about that as you
read in the Scripture.
Now let's say a congregation doesn't have those. Maybe as a young
congregation, maybe it's a congregation that was set up an area where
Christian to be converted, and they're novices but some of them are
growing well and they're working toward that goal- that's good if they're
working toward that goal. If that's what they're trying to obtain and attain to
friend, that's following the pattern.
But then let's look at the different side of that coin. Let's say that
congregation's been in existence for 30, 40, 50 maybe even 100 years and
it's never had elders. We've got a big problem. It needs to be striving to
appoint elders. God's church is set up in every congregation to be led by
elders. If people are working toward that goal, then that's good. If we're not
working toward it, I will guarantee you something is lacking. Something's
not in order like God wants it to and eventually problems are going to rise
because there are no elders in that congregation to help with spiritual
matters. It is something that God wants in every church, and if it's not being
worked toward and that goal is not divine goal people are working toward
then we need to rethink things in that congregation area. That'd be the
answer we would give from Scripture related to that idea.
Another question's been submitted and this is such a good one that I
know a lot of people have a question about. Listen to the question that this
writer asked individual says, ‘It seems like every time I go to church they're
asking me for money. I get so tired of this. What does the Bible say about
the church asking for money?’
Now I've heard people say things like unto this. For the church is you
know ‘haggling me all the time.’ You need to give this amount of money.
You need to give more money. You need to need to sign out intent letter
saying you're going to give this much every year in the church. Wait a
minute now! What really we're considering today is what's the Christian, the
individual Christian, and his responsibility to give?
My giving and the Christian's giving is a matter between him and
God. Should the church preach what the Bible says about giving? No doubt
it should. Should elders in a congregation encourage people to give as God
teaches in the Bible? Absolutely! But friend that's a matter between the
individual and God. Are there guidelines for that? Sure there are, and let's
share some of those today.
1 Corinthians chapter 16 does set a standard that it is every
Christian's responsibility to give to the work of God on the first day of the
week. Listen to 1 Corinthians chapter 16. I want you to notice what the
Bible says in verses one and two, “Now concerning the collection for the
saints as I've given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also.
On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside storing
up as he may prosper that there be no collections when I come.” The
apostle Paul said, ‘As we prospered, as God has blessed us beyond
measure beyond what we need, on the first day of the week Christians
should give to the local work of the church.’ There's no denying that's in the
Now look in 2 Corinthians chapter 9 and notice what the Scripture
says beginning in verse six. God says, “But this I say he who sows
sparingly will also reap sparingly. He was sows bountifully will also reap
bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart not grudgingly
or of necessity for God loves a cheerful giver.” I'm to give as I prosper and
as I purpose in my heart. That purpose and that prospering, I know and
God knows. God knows if I'm giving as I prosper. God knows if I purpose in
my heart. Here's what's here's what's unique about the church of Christ,
nobody's ever going to come up and beg you for your money. Nobody's
ever going to come up and ask you how much you give. Nobody's ever
going to come ask you to sign a letter of intent for the year for giving.
Giving is an individual matter between the individual and God. We preach
on it. We encourage people to give as the Bible says. There are various
works and opportunities that are made available if people so wish to give
to, but we realize that's the individual's choice. That's the individual's
Friend here's something I ask you to consider, if a place is all about
how much you can give, how much money you've got, if that place is
always begging you for money- I'd have to wonder about the intent of that.
Are they concerned about souls? Are they concerned about the lost? Are
they concerned about following the pattern of giving that we've just read in
the New Testament? Or are they more concerned about what's in your
wallet than what's in your heart?
We want to help people to align their wallet with their heart to the
teaching of the Bible, but nobody's ever going to beg you or you know ask
you ‘how much are you giving?’ or you need to give more you're not given
to. No, that's an individual matter between the Christian and God.
Somewhere that is always haggling or trying to get people in is not what we
find through the language of the New Testament. We want to be very
careful about things like unto that.
Alright here's another question for our consideration today. Someone
writes, ‘I recently heard someone say that the apostle Peter was also the
first pope. Is this true and what evidence is there of this in Scripture?’
Friend no, it is not true, and no we do not find in the Bible that Peter
was the first pope or a pope at all. What do we find about Peter? We find
Peter was an elder among the plurality of elders. 1 Peter 5:1-5 Peter
served as an elder as we've seen in Acts 14:17 and Titus 1:5, there was
always a plurality of those in the congregation of God's people.
What about Peter being the first pope? Friend if Peter's the first pope,
he did it a whole lot different that it's being done today. What do I mean by
that? Look in Acts chapter 10 if you would. Peter didn't want people
worshiping him. He didn't want people bowing down to him. He didn't want
people kissing his ring or his finger or anything like that.
Notice what you find in Acts 10:25. As Peter was coming in the Bible
says Cornelius met him fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter
lifted him up saying “Stand up! I myself am also a man.” Again we don't find
anywhere Peter was the Pope. That's contrary to what you find in the Bible.
We know he was an elder among a plurality of elders in the Lord's church,
1 Peter 5, Acts 14:23. But friend think about Peter here, you contrast this to
what you see today. Okay here's another unique identifying mark,
Cornelius was so impressed when Peter, a Jew, came to preach him the
gospel that he fell down and attempted to worship him.
What did Peter do? Did he say ‘Like my ring and my funny hat? Want
to kiss it?’ No. Peter said “Stand up. I myself am also a man.” Now contrast
that with today where millions of people and you see on TV go to Rome,
and they kiss the Pope's hand. They bow down before him, and he just
accepts all that. Wait a minute! Peter said ‘don't do it.’ The Pope accepts
Who's right? ’Let God be true and every man a liar.’ Nowhere in the
Bible is Peter mentioned as the first pope. You don't find that. Peter was
married according 1 Peter 5 and 1 Timothy 3:1 that's a qualification of an
elder. He was an elder. He was married. He was an apostle of the Lord. He
was a great servant of God, but we never find anywhere, you've got to go
beyond the Bible, which we're told not to do not add to the word of
Revelation 22:18-19, you've got go beyond the Bible to come up with those
We hope today that these questions have encouraged each of us to
get out our Bible to study for ourselves to see if what we're being taught
and what we believe is true to the Scripture. And if it's not, then friend the
burden is upon us to make changes in our lives where necessary so that
we can be in line and in harmony with the will of God.
More than anything today, we want you to know that the God of
heaven loves you deeply. He loves you so much He sent His own Son to
die for you, John 3:16. He wants you to live in heaven with Him and to be
saved, 1 Timothy 2:4.
Would you do what they did on Pentecost to be saved when they
heard the message and believed in Jesus? Peter said, “Repent and be
baptized for the remission of your sins,” Acts 2:38.
If you've never done that, if you'd like to study more, please let us
know! We'd be glad to help you!
May God bless each of us as we strive to study His word and live in
harmony with His will.
Study Questions for: “Questions and Answers: Lesson 4”
1. According to Matthew 10:28, why should we fear God?
2. According to 1 John 4:16-18, what cast out “terror” type fear?
3. What is the duty of man according to Ecclesiastes 12:13?
4. Does the Bible give us the date of birth for Jesus?
5. What does Revelation 22:18-19 tell us about adding to or taking away from the Bible?
6. According to Matthew 26:26-28, how to we honor Jesus’ life and death?
7. What is the rock/foundation in Matthew 16:13-18?
8. Why did Paul go to the island of Crete in Titus 1:5?
9. According to Acts14:23, should every church have elders?
10. What does 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 tell us about giving?