Got Questions 3
So welcome to week 3 of the series that we are doing called Got Questions. In this series we have asked you the church to ask your questions about the faith and then we have addressed them. Hopefully we have come to see more and more that there are answers in God's word.
Tonight will be the last week that we answer the questions that the church has asked; as next week we will be asking the ultimate question; who is Jesus really? This is a question the trumps every other question and we will be seeking to find out who He is. I encourage you all to be here and to invite others who would also like to know.
Anyway for this week we will be looking at the following questions:
1. How are we different or special compared to the Lucifer and the other angels?
2. Torah Keepers (a cult) claim we are practicing idolatry by worshiping Jesus Christ. How can they be so confused? Also Paul is manipulating Christians - how does one counter these accusations?
3. What is the meaning behind “The sins of the father will fall upon the children”?
4. How do you see or feel the presence of God through bad times.
5. Why don’t we love each other like the way God loves all of us?
Again a lot to get through so let's get started:
How are we different or special compared to the Lucifer and the other angels?
This is a big question essentially there are three things I want to address with this question;
What are angels?
Why can’t fallen angels find redemption? (why can’t they be saved?)
How are we different from them?
So in answering what angels are we need to look at what the Greek and Hebrew words for angel mean; and we find that it means the same thing that our English word means (or at least the origin of the English word) all means Messenger. The are also called “watchers”, “holy ones”, “host”, “principalities” and “powers” to name a few references.
However they are servants of God; Hebrews calls them ministering Spirits.
They are created being; endowed with great power that are there to serve God and His church.
Now some of these angels “fell” the timeline and exact process of this falling is not given too much attention in scripture and therefor is not necessary for us to know; what we do know is that they we lead by Satan and that 1/3 of the angels fell. They with singular purpose seek to oppose God and His church and the work that He is doing in the world.
Why can’t they find redemption? Well firstly they were not tempted they fell from the presence of God knowing ultimate good and knowing what they were doing was utmost evil.
Secondly God has not made a way for salvation like He did for us.
Finally there is no allowance in scripture to say that even given the opportunity for salvation that they would take it; as their sole drive is a devotion to being against God.
How are we different?
Well the fundamental difference between us and the angels and in fact all of the created order; all things are created to glorify God and all were created for Him. However man alone is made in the image of God.
Man alone in all creation bears the image of God.
So in conclusion; Angels are servants of God who minster to both Him and His church we are children of God who were created to be in the image of Him who created us; we alone can receive the salvation that Christ won for us.
Torah Keepers (a cult) claim we are practicing idolatry by worshiping Jesus Christ. How can they be so confused? Also Paul is manipulating Christians - how does one counter these accusations?
Okay so the first time I heard of the Torah Keepers was in this question; however have dealt with some of the concepts that they adhere to many times. There are others who prescribe to similar views and ideas such as Messianic Christianity. All of these deviate from the revealed scriptures and infer doctrines in Scripture that are not there. So just to run through what they believe:
They believe a heresy about Jesus - Jesus was not one with God; he is the revealed “arm” of God (a very old heresy that contradicts the revelation of Scripture – Jesus was revered and worshiped as God; He identifies Himself as one with God; not simply an apparition or simply the arm of God)
They believe a heresy about God – no trinity (They believe there is only Yahweh; however Scripture clearly reveals three distinct, personal and powerful persons of the Godhead.
They deny the resurrection – again because Jesus was the appearance of God he did not really die or come back to life – For Jesus was only the manifestation of God therefore could not die nor come back to life.
1 Corinthians 15:19 says if we deny the resurrection we should be pitied more than any men.
They deny salvation by faith:
This is where they break the gospel; the gospel is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
This comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Gospel is; we come as we are and are saved; when we are saved we receive the Holy Spirit which enables us to live a life of obedience.
Therefore obedience is a product of what God has done in us; they state that obedience is required for salvation; if we believe that then we have to follow the whole Law; which is revealed to be a heresy that in fact started in the Old Testament.
The Law could never save all it could do is reveal my need for salvation.
In conclusion the Torah keeper are a cult that denies the very revelation of Christ in Scripture; how do we counter it; by knowing the gospel fully and taking them to scripture.
What is the meaning behind “The sins of the father will fall upon the children”?
There is two things that need to be spoken about here:
1. The sins of the fathers are punished in the children through becoming the sins of the children.
I the Lord...visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5; cf. Numbers 14:18)
The generations to come who experience the penalty of the fathers’ sins are those who hate God. We are not told how the fathers’ sins become the children’s sins. But what we are told is that when the father’s sins are visited on the children it is because the children are really sinful. That is the form in which the fathers’ sins are visited. Therefore, all judgment is really deserved by the person who is punished.
There is a logical reality to this those who are brought up in an environment of sinfulness will act out on what they have been brought up in.
2. Because of God’s grace, which is finally secured by Christ, the children can confess their own sins and the sins of their fathers and be forgiven and accepted by God.
But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers...if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob” (Leviticus 26:40-42).
So in conclusion;
There is a reality that the sins of the father will be visited upon the children because they continue in that sinful pattern; however, grace is always available to anyone even the vilest of sinners if they would turn to Him they will be saved and the blessings of righteousness will be visited upon their children; if they are willing to walk in righteousness.
How do you see or feel the presence of God through bad times.
Before I address this question I need to address a reality behind this question.
The experience of God; Now I am all for the experiencing of God and I believe it is a fundamental aspect of our faith. We know God and His presence personally and intimately.
The problem comes in is when we substitute a subjective experience over a knowledge of Him.
What do I mean by this; well when the promises of God become secondary to our experience of Him we are in danger.
Just because you cannot feel something does it make less real if it is a reality?
Can you feel that we are hurtling through space at hundreds of km/h? No, but it’s real!
It is the same thing with God His promises are true and sometimes in life it is not whether we feel them or not it is whether we trust them or not.
I believe that God actually sometimes denies us the feeling of His presence in tough times so that we trust Him and not our feelings.
So how do we see or feel God’s presence in tough times; don’t; rather trust in His promises and allow those to be the rock in your life.
Why don’t we love each other like the way God loves all of us?
Well it comes down to what seems to be a theme in this series; we are human; sinful and broken.
However in saying that Bible calls us to love each other as Christ loves us.
John 13:34 states;
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
This is the command of Jesus to us; we are commanded to love; and so the has a goal in this we are to learn how to love by reflecting on how Christ has loved us.
2 Peter gives us a practical reality on how we are to learn in this;
3 We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God’s own power, when we learned that he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness. 4 God made great and marvellous promises, so that his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world.
5 Do your best to improve your faith. You can do this by adding goodness, understanding, 6 self-control, patience, devotion to God, 7 concern for others, and love. 8 If you keep growing in this way, it will show that what you know about our Lord Jesus Christ has made your lives useful and meaningful. 9 But if you don’t grow, you are like someone who is near-sighted or blind, and you have forgotten that your past sins are forgiven.
The problem is that many of us are tempted to stagnate is our walk with Jesus and not allow his grace to penetrate our lives and so we are unwilling to change and therefore become near-sighted.
We should be corporately seeking God individually so that together we would all benefit from the Love of God being poured out into our lives.
So why don’t we love each other like God loves us; because we are lazy and stubborn and are unwilling to add to our faith and grow in Him who called us.
This concludes the questions that you as a church has asked; again stay hungry for the truth as George Orwell said; “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”
We are called to seek the truth and speak the truth in love; so stay hungry for the truth.