Objections #9 I don’t want to ARGUE

Overcoming Client Objections to Increasing PPC Budgets

 

OBJECTIONS #9; No Arguing, No Debating.

This objection sounds like this; “Christians aren’t supposed to argue or debate. “Do all things without protests and arguments; [Phil 2:14](BBE)”

While it certainly is true that we’re not to argue over vain things, [1Tim 6:20] it is NOT true that we’re not to debate or ‘contend’ for the faith [Jude 1:3].

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” [2Tim 24-26]

We do need to be careful, for if we continue to push, they’ll redirect their objection toward you saying, “You’re ARROGANT, or unloving.

What we must recognize is they’ve REACHED the end of their ability to defend their error. When a person is still resistant but no longer has a defense, they become embarrassed & or angry. Otherwise they would continue talking. They’re stopping you because they’ve GOTTEN you on a technicality.

There are a few things that may be going on. They may be UNINTERESTED in the truth [2Thess 2:10-12]. They might be UNCERTAIN but not ready, like Festus [Acts 26:24]. Maybe they’re UNCONVINCED [Acts 26:28]. In any case, be careful, they may become UNHINGED [Acts 7:54].

The gospel always works in inducing an EMOTIONAL response. It could be anger, apathy or acceptance in Godly sorrow. So, what do we do when it’s turning towards anger? Hear this Proverb…

A soft answer turneth away wrath:” [Prov 15:1]

Here are 4 steps to gving a SOFT answer:

STAY calm & don’t respond in kind. Never allow yourself to get angry or upset at any objection. Never allow a conversation to escalate into an emotional argument. We must always stay on the essential topics and not argue ‘vain babblings.’ “… be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” [Jas 1:19].

Stop talking, no longer OPEN your mouth with new information. It’s clear they want to stop. Let them alone. [Mat 15:14].

A huge part of evangelism is patience & FORBEARANCE. To endure the continual barrage of rejections. But we must remember, they’re not necessarily rejecting you, they’re ultimately rejecting God [1Sam 8:7].

Lastly, TAKE off your shoes and shake the dust off (figuratively speaking). When the disciples were rejected, Jesus told them to shake the dust off their feet. “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” [Mat 10:14] Don’t take it personally nor let rejection prevent you from spreading the gospel to others. Some will, some won’t, so what, keep trying. We keep trying because…

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” 2Cor 5:11

–Spencer

Objections pt5

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OBJECTIONS #8; Appeal to the Old Testament for doctrine.

This objection sounds like this; “David used a harp and wrote about it in Psalms.”

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” Col 2:14

I met a person once that was starting a new denomination based on all the feast days in the Old Testament Law of Moses. This is just one example of many where people look to the Old Testament to find doctrine or practices today. It becomes a buffet of picking and choosing based on personal taste, or in this case, a BBQ buffet.

How come nobody ever goes back and brings forward stoning of the disobedient? (there was one guy that wrote a book about trying to live under the Law of Moses. He carried small pebbles around and flicked them at folks.) Yet, they’ll go back and grab any number of things from the Old Testament.

The easy answer is in Galatians chapter 5:1-4; “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

As you can see, the Law of Moses has been fulfilled and if you intend to appeal to any part of it then you’re obligated to keep the entirety of it. This drops you from Christ.

Here are a few more points about why we don’t appeal to the Old Testament for authority, doctrine or practices today.

First, the Old was, well… OLD. Hebrews 8:13 speaks about the better New covenant in Christ rendering the first old.

Next, the OT was given because of TRANSGRESSIONS, “till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” [Gal 3:19] Once the one promised came, fulfilling the Old Law, why would you go back and bring anything forward?

We should then note that the OT was LIMITED in that it was impossible for the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. [Heb 10:4]. Christ’s sacrifice did what the Law of Moses only foreshadowed [Heb 9:12]. The New Testament writers also calls it, ‘faulty’ [Heb 8:7], and ‘weak’ [Gal 4:9].

Continuing on, we find the Law of Moses was ABOLISHED at the death of Christ. “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” [Col 2:14]. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:15; “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;”

Finally, the Holy Spirit says that the Law of Moses WAS A SHADOW of good things to come [Heb 10:1]. If there was something good coming, and the real thing is in life of Jesus, why would you want to go back to the shadow?

There are several places in the New Testament that explain the shadows from the Old Testament and their application to Christ;

  • 1COR 10:11 EXAMPLES.
  • Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come;
  • Hagar, Ishmael, Sarah, Isaac; GAL 4:22-31.
  • Moses; Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22; Heb 3

We find our authority in Jesus. God said, “Hear ye Him.” [Mark 9:7]. The Hebrew writer opens the book with; “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” [Heb 1:1-2]

We find our authority from those who were given the revelation of the Lord’s will and wrote it for us in the New Testament writings. “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” [1Cor 14:37]

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.)” [Eph 3:1-4]

 

–Spencer

Objections pt4

Objection! | Know Your Meme

 

OBJECTIONS to the GOSPEL pt4.

We need not view all challenges & objections to the truth as a bad thing. Some folks are just trying to work through the differences from what they’ve been falsely taught.

For the most part it is a necessary step in presenting the gospel. Challenges and objections are necessary to help a person to learn how to study and determine scriptural authority.

It can be viewed as a sign that a person is interested. It can also be a sign of someone who is rejecting the gospel.

As long as they’re asking questions, we can be prepared to answer them. [Col 4:6; 1Peter 3:15].

 

OBJECTIONS #7; I THINK.

This is a subtle objection that I find myself saying. The phrase “I Think” needs to be replaced with “God’s word says.” We live in a world that has embraced the idea of ‘my truth, your truth’ as if everyone has their own version of what is true. We need to have discussions about what does the Bible say?

Naaman is a great illustration for this very point. [2Kings 5:1-14] He had leprosy, learned of the cure and was told by ‘then man of God’ what he had to do to be cured. His first words? I THOUGHT… He thought the cure should look different, be more dramatic or at least be more comfortable. [v11] What we want things to be, doesn’t change the way things are. We need to obey the cure God commands.

For some they think the way to go is through TRADITIONS of their family or culture. Jesus pointed out that the religious leaders were laying aside the commands of God for their TRADITIONS. “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” [Mark 7:9]

Others thing that their HEART will lead them to the truth, that they can feel they’re saved. Experience tells us this is no way to go. Emotion neither proves nor disproves anything. It’s possible to believe a lie, [2Thess 2:11-12; cf. Gen 37:30-35]

God’s word says through the Apostle Paul, IF ANYONE preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. [Gal 1:6-10] We need to check out everyone, especially our own selves. Search the scriptures [Acts 17:11; 2Tim 2:15; 3:16-17].

This touches on the real problem. More and more people, even among believers, just do NOT KNOW the Scriptures. Jesus pointed this out to the Sadducees in Mat 22:26; “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” God said it this way, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,” [Hosea 4:6]

The last part of this objection comes in the form of an appeal to what our KIN folk have done. Very similar to tradition, but this takes it further by adding an emotional spin to it. “I go to the church my grandparents used to go. I even sit in their pew.”

What if your parents, grandparents were wrong? Are you going to allow yourself to be lost because they got it wrong? Here’s a question to ask yourself, What do your grandparents want for you now that they have sight? [cf. Luke 16:27-28] No parent or grandparent wants their children to repeat their mistakes.

Jesus gave a very difficult saying, “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” [Mat 10:34-38]. This is not a physical sword, rather it’s a spiritual sword. [cf. Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12]

The solution to I THINK is to ask;

  • What does the BIBLE SAY?
  • What does GOD SAY? (I repeat myself)
  • What does JESUS SAY? (I repeat, repeat myself)

This is my beloved Son: hear him.”

[Mark 9:7; cr. Heb 1:1-2]

 

–Spencer

OBJECTIONS to the Gospel pt3

TLC_026: OBJECTIONS and SIDEBARS | Trial Lawyer Confidential

 

OBJECTIONS #5; You CAN’T lose your salvation. Once Saved Always Saved.

This Objection comes up as you discuss continued faithfulness after obeying the gospel and the possibility of apostacy. The key verse they use is, Romans 8:35-39. Nothing, they say, can separate us from the Love of God. What they fail to see is us, can we reject Him?

We can LOSE our salvation. We can stop LOVING God through our willing disobedience. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” [1John 5:3]

Can we escape through willful disobedience? “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that OBEY not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” [2Thess 1:8; cf Luke 6:46; Mat 7:21-19, emph mine Seb]

Paul saw a connection between his SERVICE toward God as a Christian and the possibility of being disqualified. If Paul thought he could become disqualified, why do you think differently? [1Cor 9:27]

Paul wrote Timothy about those who have a shipwrecked faith. [1Tim 1:19]. The parable of the sower shows that we need to ESTABLISH ourselves in the faith, to grow roots in faithfulness and produce good fruit. [Mark 4:13-20; cf John 15:1-6]

Do you need further evidence? Galatians 5:4.

OBJECTIONS #6; The Thief on the cross wasn’t baptized.

You’re right, he wasn’t. He didn’t become a Christian either! You see, the Thief was a Jew (context bears that out) who lived and died under the Law of Moses, the Old Testament system. The New Testament didn’t come into play until after the death of Jesus. [Heb 9:15-17; Luke 23:32-43].

Therefore, the Thief HAD NO COMMAND to be BAPTIZED. That command came after the resurrection of Christ. [Mat 28:18-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38]

I often ask, “why pick the thief, why not be saved IN THE SAME WAY AS the rich young ruler?” [Mat 19:16-22] He asked for eternal life and was told to sell all that he had and give to the poor. When’s your garage sale?

An appeal to the Thief will not help you to ESCAPE God’s wrath [Heb 2:1-3; 2Thess 1:8-9]. ESCAPE only comes through obedience to the Gospel. [1Cor 15:1-4; Rom 6:3-4]

the Thief found FORGIVENESS before the removal of the Law of Moses, before the command to be baptized, before the New Testaments covenant of Christ, before the church was built, and before Christ died. Nobody today can meet those criteria to be saved like the Thief on the Cross.

 

–Spencer

OBJECTIONS TO THE GOSPEL pt 2

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OBJECTIONS #3; John 3:16 is all we need.

It’s not enough to know Him, we must obey Him. [Mat 7:21-23; Luke 6:46;]

Jesus does Love you. He died for you. [Rom 5:8; 1John 3:16]. His love was demonstrated toward us while we are without strength, sinners & enemies. But this doesn’t eliminate our part to receive His grace & love.

Obedience is our Love for Him. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:15]. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” [1John 5:3].

He wants us to voluntarily submit & worship Him. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” [John 4:23-24]

Eternal life is given after obeying the gospel. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” [Hebrews 5:8]. “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” [2Thess 1:8].

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?”

[Rom 10:16]

So, you see, belief and obedience are interconnected.

 

OBJECTIONS #4; “What if you’re on the way to be baptized?”

This is mostly an emotional response. Emotionalism is not the source of authority. Emotion never proves or disproves a fact. God’s word is truth [John 17:17]. ‘What if’ questions can go on ad infinitum. Here’s a question, what if a person is on their way to hearing the Gospel and believing in Jesus, can they be saved without belief? This is not the way to know the truth.

We didn’t bring up or invent baptism. God did:

  • Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
  • Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
  • Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,
  • Acts 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
  • and more…

Baptism is submission to God’s commands. He does the work in the water, not you or me. Grace is a gift, that is what Jesus did in giving His life. Through faith is our part. Faith is dead without obedience. [Jas 2:24]

“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

[Col 2:12] (emph mine seb)

 

–Spencer

OBJECTIONS to the Gospel pt 1

Five Customer Objections that Must be Overcome — Intellective ...

 

OBJECTIONS to the GOSPEL pt1.

We need not view all challenges & objections to the truth as a bad thing. Some folks are just trying to work through the differences from what they’ve been falsely taught.

For the most part it is a necessary step in presenting the gospel. Challenges and objections are necessary to help a person to learn how to study and determine scriptural authority.

It can be viewed as a sign that a person is interested. It can also be a sign of someone who is rejecting the gospel.

As long as they’re asking questions, we can be prepared to answer them. [Col 4:6; 1Peter 3:15].

 

OBJECTIONS #1; ONLY FAITH? We’re saved by Faith Only.

First, Obedience is an essential element of God’s plan of salvation. Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Second, the only time the words ‘faith only’ appear in scripture together is in James 2:24 and it has the modifier ‘not.’ “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

Next, show them 2Thess 1:8 where is shows that the world shall be lit on fire where God will be taking vengeance on “them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”

This passage is unsettling because 2 groups are identified. 1) those that do not know God. This simultaneously removes the objection; “what about those who have never heard?” 2) It shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the gospel is to be OBEYED.

Lastly, Romans 10:16 connects your belief to your obedience. “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?”

As you can see, the words ‘belief’ and ‘obeyed’ are being used synonymously.

 

OBJECTIONS #2; BIBLE ABUSE.

This objection appears in the form of four ways in which the Scripture is misused.

The first abuse is more like neglect in that some are not SEARCHING daily for the truth. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” [Acts 17:11]

Or they’re reading it, but not UNDERSTANDING what they’re reading. Perhaps this is due to denominational bias. For example, when many read the word ‘baptism’ they automatically presume it to mean ‘Holy Spirit baptism.’ “Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” [1Tim 1:7]

For some, they read more about the bible than they do of the bible. Because of this they are learning but not able to come to the knowledge of the truth. “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” [1Tim 3:7]

The 3rd abuse is by those who are trying to justify sin. It’s been said one can ‘prove anything’ in the bible. True, if you’re abusing the scriptures to justify error. It could be said that this is how Satan used scripture when tempting Jesus. [Luke 4:10-11]

The fourth one comes from Jesus’ own words. “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” [Mat 22:19]. Some have read it, as these Sadducees, but they missed a critical point. They were in error having overlooked the tense of a verb!

The challenge for us is to get them to actually open the bible and to read for themselves the passages. When you open your bible and show them ‘baptism saves’ [1Peter 3:21] or “wash away thy sins” [Acts 22:16], you will see a change in the other person. They were previously ‘arguing’ with you, but then they’re argument is with God and His word.

–Spencer

Who is MELCHISEDEC?

Who was Melchizedek according to the Bible and what is its meaning?

 

MELCHISEDEC [Melchizedek]

Psalm 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

All the verses about Melchisedec; Gen 14:18-20; Psalm 110:4; Heb 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:1-21

 

WHO WAS MELCHISEDEC?

Melchisedec was a high priest of the MOST High God. [Gen 14:18]

Heb 7:4 Now consider how (EXCELLENT) great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. This same Abraham is the Patriarch of the nation of Israel, the one to whom the promise that the whole world would be blessed. [Ge 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Ge 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 27:29; Ps 72:17; Ac 3:25; Ga 3:8]

Even the LEVITES paid him tithes [Heb 7:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.  10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.]

He was not of the Levitical Priesthood, Heb 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being CHANGED, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. Jesus is not from Levi, but from Judah. [Heb 7:14]

Melchisedec had no written HERITAGE, Heb 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

The role of a High Priest is to INTERCEDE for man in the offering of gifts and sacrifices unto God. Heb 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

This other High Priest after the order of Melchizedek is SEPARATE from sinners. Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, SEPARATE from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

The ENDLESS life of Jesus is a testimony that He is this High Priest. Heb 7:16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.  17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

We have no record of the death of Melchisedec, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; [7:3] But the Levites died, And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: [7:23] Jesus conquered DEATH [Acts 2:24]. Heb 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

As our High Priest, Jesus is making intercession, having ENTERED heaven itself. Heb 9:24 For Christ is not ENTERED into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

CHOSEN by God, Jesus is our HIGH PRIEST, Heb 5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. [Psalm 2:7] 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. [Psalm 110:4]

Jesus…

with strong crying and tears v7

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; v8

And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; v9

CALLED of God a high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Heb 5:10

Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus is that ‘daysman’ Arbiter between God and man that Job longed to for. Job 9:33 Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.

1Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

A MEMORIAL Day Reminder

 

a MEMORIAL of Christ.

 

Memorials are often Monuments or statues, but let us keep the memory of Christ always on our heart, not with a physical image. Christ commanded that a memorial Supper be kept in His honor, not any images or crosses. Matt 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26

 

The Memorial is about Christ who He is. He is Immanuel, that is, God with us. Mat 1:23; Isa 7:14

 

We Set aside time to examine ourselves on the 1st day of the week with the gathered local church just as they did in the first century. Acts 2:42; 20:7.

 

We keep the memorial Supper and we observe it until He returns. 1Cor 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come.

 

We practice the memorial of the Lord’s Supper as a Remembrance of Christ, His life, death, burial & resurrection. 1Cor 11:24-25 and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

 

The Lord’s Supper was Instituted by Jesus on the night of His betrayal. Luke 22:14-21; 1Cor 11:23 For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread;

 

This Supper is a continual reminder that Jesus’ death was an Atonement offered for our sins. Heb 10:12; 2:17 (cr Ex 30:10; Lev 16) Propitiation. 1Cor 11:26

Heb 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

 

This memorial Supper is a reminder of the Love demonstrated by His dying for us. Rom 5:8-10; 1John 3:16; 4:7-11

1John 3:16 Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

 

–Spencer

 

Have no FEAR?

No Fear Inc Logo Decal Sticker

 

Can Caution become Cowardly? 

Rev 21:8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

 

Can Concern become Worry?

2Cor 11:28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

Mat 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life,

 

Can Obeying the Government become disobedience to God?

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Acts 5:29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.

 

These are questions each of us must consider and answer as we continue to face this new world of COVID fear.

 

What is FEAR? 

FAILURE?

Mat 25:24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 ‘And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

 

Are we afraid of EVIL men?

Lu 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. Mat 10:28

 

Perhaps we’re afraid of the ANONYMOUS or invisible enemies.

Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Maybe our FEAR has opened the door to RATIONALIZING our disobedience?

Num 14:2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Num 14:10 And all the congregation said to stone them (Joshua & Caleb) with stones.

 

We live in a new world now that COVID-19 has entered. Say what you will about the virulence of the virus, it matters not. The FEAR of it exists in many hearts regardless of the reality.

It’s easy to talk about FEAR when there’s not much to fear. It becomes much more difficult when you are facing the command to cross the Jordan into battle.

 

WHAT IS COURAGE?

Courage is not the lack of FEAR. Courage is taking action despite the fear.

Courage is not taking action without precautions. Paul was both ready to be bound, but also to die [Acts 21:13]. But that boldness didn’t mean he shouldn’t take precautions. The Lord told him he would make it to Rome, but it was Paul that foiled the plot against his life. It was Paul that stopped the Roman soldiers from scourging him by appealing to his Roman citizenship.

 

FEAR is a natural emotional response that protects us from harm. It is good when it prompts you to take precautions. We recognize fire’s power to burn, but it doesn’t stop us from utilizing it for good.

FEAR becomes sin [Rev 21:8] when it stops one from doing that which is right. When it stops one from obeying God.

 

Let us move away from fear. The answer to casting out fear is LOVE.

1John 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

 

Let us LOVE God so much that we will do His will.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

 

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Mat 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Our Light needs recharging!

 

Congregational Worship and COVID-19

Virtual worship: Should you live stream, do a podcast, or send an ...

Congregational Worship and COVID-19

By Joe R. Price

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” So the saying goes. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9).

The present COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of valuable spiritual lessons we may have taken for granted until this moment of crisis. For instance, God, in His providence, continues to furnish our needs so that our faith does not turn into anxiety (Matt. 6:24-34). Also, while we have free will with its choices and consequences, we still live under the unexpected reality of “time and chance” (Eccl. 9:11-12). Such times warn us to turn to God with all our heart (Joel 2:12-14). And, we call to mind that “Thy will be done” must be our north star as we navigate life (Jas. 4:13-17).

Even as 9-11 brought new travel screenings and requirements, this event is likely to produce its share of social changes as we move beyond the temporary “stay at home” orders. Social or physical distancing may continue to impact going to large crowd events, restaurants, doctor’s offices, etc. Education continues to be affected. Sure, online study courses have been around for a long time. Now, online learning has increased to accommodate the stay at home orders prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction (Chris Reykdal) recently said to expect distance learning to be in place “for quite a long time” (“State schools chief: Expect to use distance learning ‘for quite a long time,’” James Drew, The Bellingham Herald, April 6, 2020). Restaurants are introducing no-touch food delivery systems to prevent food contamination. Tele-med services are on the increase and may become a more standardized way of visiting doctors in the future. These are just some of the innovations and changes happening as we pass through this temporary crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis is also affecting churches of Christ. Many have temporarily rearranged or canceled worship assemblies. Online Bible classes have multiplied to fill this space. Each congregation is making these temporary decisions for the safety of its members (much as they do when extreme weather prevents safe passage to its place of assembly).

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a surge of internet activity among brethren. Most congregations have been providing online sermons, Bible study, and teaching material on their websites for years. During this time, many brethren have turned to additional online methods of communication like Facetime, Skype, Messenger, and internet conferencing services like Zoom to facilitate teaching God’s word.

Perhaps it will be helpful to review the meaning of “virtual” within the context of the internet and computer world. Virtual is defined as:

“being something in essence or effect, though not actually or in fact” is from mid-15c., probably via sense of “capable of producing a certain effect” (early 15c.). Computer sense of “not physically existing but made to appear by software” is attested from 1959” (Online Etymology Dictionary).

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary says of virtual computing, “not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so.”  It also notes that to “virtualize” is to “convert to a computer-generated simulation of reality” (Ibid).

Merriam-Webster corroborates the definition of virtual as “being on or simulated on a computer or computer network…occurring or existing primarily online… of, relating to, or existing within a virtual reality” (merriam-webster.com).

By definition, the virtual world is simulated; it does not physically exist. It is not an actual world. The internet is a medium (a network) by which we communicate through computer-generated codes (and many things that go way over my head)! But I do know this: I have not changed my location when I am online. I am at my keyboard in front of a monitor (or using a smartphone or some other internet device). I am in virtual reality (the virtual world), but I am actually (really) still in a physical or material location.

That said, our purpose here is to issue a gentle warning to avoid letting the temporary become the norm. Just as our country and the world must return to regular activities, so also must local churches. As the virtual world becomes more and more useful and used, we should be careful not to change the nature of the local church of Christ as we use the bandwidth of cyberspace.

In other words, we must not take Bible authority for granted as we used the internet. Even in the virtual world, we must have Bible authority for whatever we say and do (Col.. 3:17).

The Bible is a book of patterns to which we must conform and hold fast (2 Tim. 1:13; Phil. 3:17; 4:9; 2 Thess. 2:15). By doing so, we obey the commands of Christ’s apostles (2 Thess. 3:4; 1 Cor. 11:1).

Holding fast to Bible patterns is another way of referring to having and applying Bible authority (God’s authority). Just as God told Moses to build the tabernacle and its furnishings “according to the pattern” shown him on Mt. Sinai, we are charged not to alter the gospel of Christ (Heb. 8:5; Gal. 1:6-9).

When we follow God’s word, we will hold fast to the pattern of work for the local church that He approves and blesses. For example, God commanded King Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites as God’s act of just punishment for their sins against Israel (1 Sam. 15:1-3). God regarded Saul’s failure to follow His revealed will (His pattern) as disobedience and rebellion (1 Sam. 15:9-11, 22-23). Saul changed the nature of his conduct into rebellion when he failed to follow God’s pattern. As a result, God rejected Saul as king.

The New Testament pattern for the work of the local church is spiritual. The local church’s work is evangelism, edification, and benevolence to needy Christians (cf. Acts 2:42-46; 4:32-35; 6:1-7; 1 Thess. 1:8; et al.). When we change the pattern of work for the local church, we have changed the nature of that work into disobedient rebellion against God. Surely, God is no more pleased with us when we change His pattern of work for the local church as He was with Saul when he did not follow God’s command.

When we follow God’s word, we hold fast to the pattern of worship for the local church that He approves and blesses. For example, the fire Nadab and Abihu offered God was “strange” because God “had not commanded it” (Lev. 10:1). They changed (corrupted) the nature of worship when they offered unauthorized fire. Their worship became “strange” (profane, foreign) and unacceptable to God.

The New Testament reveals a pattern for the worship of the local churchLocal churches assembled to pray, to sing, to eat the Lord’s Supper, to give as they have prospered, and to hear the word of God (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; 1 Cor. 16:2). When we change the pattern of worship for the local church, we have changed the nature of that worship into “strange fire” that God has not commanded. Surely, God is no more pleased with us when we change His pattern of worship as He was with Nadab and Abihu when they changed the fire He commanded.

When we follow God’s word, we hold fast to the pattern of congregational worship that He approves and blesses. Each Christian is responsible for his or her worship. And, God has provided the congregational arrangement for us to express our individual worship responsibilities. For example, the church at Corinth came “together…as a church…in one place…to eat the Lord’s Supper” (1 Cor. 11:17, 18, 20). (Unfortunately, their worship became corrupted, which the apostle addressed.) Each Christian was to eat the Supper while gathered together (1 Cor. 11:23-34). The Lord arranged the assembling of ourselves together as a feature of regular worship (Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Cor. 14:23, 26; Acts 20:7). And so, when we come together as a church in one place, we are following the New Testament pattern of congregational worship.

During this period of temporary suspension of worship assemblies, we should realize we are not attempting to reconstitute the congregational worship assembly when we arrange a virtual Bible study online. We are individuals in different places, not in one place, communicating via the internet. The internet is no more an actual “place” we gather any more than the old telephone party line was an actual place we met. Both the party line and an internet conference call are forms of communication individuals use at the same time when they are in different places. We may indeed “meet” on the phone or online to converse, but we are not in “one place.” When we “come together to eat,” it is contrasted with and different from activities done “at home” (1 Cor. 11:33-34).

God’s pattern reveals some acts of worship are designed exclusively for when the church comes together in one place. The Lord’s Supper and the weekly contribution are of this nature (1 Cor. 11:17-22, 33-34; 16:2). Other acts of worship (singing, praying, and listening to the God word) are included in, but not limited to, a congregational context (Jas. 5:13-16; Acts 20:20).

We understand and practice this when a Christian is sick and unable to attend the worship assembly. We do not take the Lord’s Supper to them, because the word of God places the Supper in the assembly of the local church. We do not take the collection plate to the sick Christian, either…

Let us remember that honorable intentions do not equate to God’s approval (Bible authority). There was a time when many Christians would take the Lord’s Supper to brethren who were shut-in in nursing homes. Though well-intended, this practice overlooks the congregational arrangement for the Supper. And, perhaps unwittingly, it reflected an undue elevation of the Supper to a near sacramental status as the most essential part of worship.

Just here, it helps us to recall King Saul’s impatient disobedience in 1 Samuel 13. When Samuel did not arrive at Gilgal in the time expected, Saul went ahead and offered a burnt offering. When Samuel came and questioned Saul, he replied by describing the circumstances he faced, then explained, “Therefore I FELT compelled, and offered a burnt offering” (1 Sam. 13:11-12). But in truth, what Saul did (however good his intentions) was foolish disobedience (1 Sam. 13:13).

Good intentions do not equal Bible authority and God’s approval. In our zeal to actively maintain a connection with our brethren through online Bible studies and prayers while going through the temporary suspension of our assemblies, let us be careful that we do not change the nature of God’s pattern of congregational worship.

After this current situation passes, it will still be a violation of God’s word to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Arranging a virtual worship service at the lake (or at home) instead of coming together as a church will not suffice (Heb. 10:24-25). If this is incorrect, then let us simply abandon the actual assembling of ourselves and transition to virtual assembling and virtual congregational worship. Or, if there is no distinction, then let us provide a “tradition” worship assembly (so as not to offend the older, more traditional brethren), and also arrange a “virtual” worship assembly (for those who are more comfortable with a new reality). But, to do these things changes the nature of the worship assembly. When we change the nature of congregational worship from actual to virtual, it amounts to offering God “strange fire” that He has not commanded.

Please understand, we are not charging anyone with deliberately and willfully changing the nature of worship. Not at all. By all means, we are thrilled to see many Christians having online Bible studies and sharing video sermons to spread the gospel and edify the saints. There is a needed place for such worthy endeavors. As we do so, may we be cautious and not allow our temporary, virtual practice to redefine (or replace) the actual practice of congregational worship.

We pray for a swift reversal of this present crisis, for the sake of saving lives and so that Christians may soon come together in one place for the congregational worship God designed (Heb. 10:24-25).

 

http://www.bibleanswer.com/2020_Vol_22_No_14_12Apr.htm#Congregational