Are children punished for the sins of their fathers? Exodus 20:4-6

ASK THE PASTOR

 

Dear Pastor Charles:

The question I have is about the second of the 10 Commandments where it says that God will “visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation”. Does this mean that our children are to be punished for our sins as parents? Thank you for your answer.  Just Wondering.

 

Dear Just Wondering:  Continue reading Are children punished for the sins of their fathers? Exodus 20:4-6

WHY DOESN’T GOD ANSWER MY PRAYERS? JOHN 14:13-14

ASK THE PASTOR

 

Dear Pastor Charles:

Jesus said in John 14:13-14, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  Some time ago my mother became seriously ill. I prayed and prayed for her in the name of Jesus, but she died. Why didn’t God honor His Word and do what I asked him to do?

Serious Doubter.

Continue reading WHY DOESN’T GOD ANSWER MY PRAYERS? JOHN 14:13-14

Does Jesus Really Expect Us to Give Up Our Family to Follow Him?

Dear Pastor Charles:

I have a question that troubles me concerning the passage in Luke 9:61-62, “Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”  Is Jesus saying that if we don’t put Him before our families that we are not saved and that we will not go to heaven? Thank you for your response. Confused.

 

Dear Confused:  Continue reading Does Jesus Really Expect Us to Give Up Our Family to Follow Him?

Will we really be raised from the dead? Response to a doubter…

ASK THE PASTOR

Dear Pastor Charles: 

Doesn’t the Bible say that when we die, our spirits go back to God? If that is true, then why are we Christians asked to believe that our bodies are going to be raised from the dead? Isn’t that just a pipe dream for those who are afraid to die and also for the comfort of those who survive their loved ones?

Thanks.

Just Doubting.

Dear Just Doubting:

If we are not going to be raised from the dead, then we are all in serious trouble Continue reading Will we really be raised from the dead? Response to a doubter…

Who created God?

ASK THE PASTOR

 

Dear Pastor Charles: 

I have a question that concerns me deeply. Whenever I ask my Christian friends this question they always seem to avoid giving me a straight answer. If God created the universe and everything in it, who created God? Doesn’t it make more sense that the universe always existed and everything evolved over millions of years? I would like to believe that there is a God but the evidence just doesn’t seem to add up. Please try to give me an answer.

Sincerely Skeptical.

Dear Sincerely Skeptical: 

I will attempt to answer your question, but may I ask you one first? How did the matter that makes up the universe come in to being? Did it create itself? For me, to believe that matter created itself takes a lot more faith than to believe that the hand of God created the universe. Regardless of how far back you trace the universal beginnings, the question is always before us; how did the first atom come into being? Continue reading Who created God?

Can we really understand the Book of Revelation?

Dear Pastor Charles: 

Some knowledgeable friends of mine and I were discussing the Bible. They say that the Book of Revelation cannot be understood because it is written primarily in symbols that have been lost to us today. They also say that it does not apply to us in modern times. What do you think? Just Wondering.


Dear Just Wondering:

I think you are wise in getting another opinion. Just look at the first two verses of the Book of Revelation and you will be able to discern the importance of the book; Continue reading Can we really understand the Book of Revelation?

Isn’t Saturday supposed to be the Sabbath? So why do we worship on Sunday?

Dear Pastor Charles:

    I have a question I would like you to answer. The Ten Commandments tell us that the Sabbath day is to be kept holy. Since the Sabbath is the seventh day, or Saturday, why do Christians meet on Sunday instead of Saturday? Aren’t they breaking the Law of God by ignoring this commandment? Truth Seeker.

Dear Truth Seeker:

    Thank you for your question. The answer is no, they are not breaking the Law of God by meeting on Sunday instead of Saturday. Continue reading Isn’t Saturday supposed to be the Sabbath? So why do we worship on Sunday?

Contend for the faith but don’t be contentious…

Dear Pastor Charles: I was reading my Bible in the Book of Jude and a word seemed to stick in my mind that has caused me to doubt some of the things my particular denomination stands for. The word is ‘contend’ and is found in Jude 1:3, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” My question is this: If we are to “contend for the faith” how can a denomination align itself with other religions who deny that Jesus is the Christ? Thanks for your opinion. Wondering.

Dear Wondering:

Thank you for your question and I congratulate you for reading your Bible for yourself. It is not wise to automatically trust everything that you hear from the pulpit or read in the party lines of a denomination. I always encouraged my congregation to check what I said from the pulpit with their Bibles and to contend for the truth if what I said did not agree with the Word of God. When you read your Bible for yourself, God is in a position to directly communicate with you without the filters of denominational and personal viewpoints.

I don’t know if you realize how important your question is but there have always been many differing points of view about who God is and how Scripture should be interpreted and followed. That is why Jude wrote this passage. Today, there is a great ecumenical movement underway to reconcile, or at least offer acceptance, for differing ideologies concerning matters of faith. One can hear this ideology expressed frequently by people of other faiths who will try to explain away foundational differences with statements like this; “After all, we are all trying to get to the same place.” or “There is only one God, we just worship Him differently.”

May I kindly say to you that each and every person on the face of the earth has a perfect right to decide for themselves concerning matters of faith. However, we who believe the Scriptures to be God’s Holy, inspired and infallible Word cannot simply ignore these differences. While we must respect other viewpoints, the Bible teaches that there is only one way to God and that way is through His Son, Jesus Christ. There can be no compromise on this point. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Ephesians 2:8 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Jude wrote his epistle to expose a problem then that is still present in the churches of today. Let’s take a look at the whole passage in order to better understand his meaning. Jude 1:3-4, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” As you can see, Jude was exhorting us; Jude 1:1, “…those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ:”

He is saying that false teaching had entered the church concerning the grace of God and that they were to “contend for the faith.” The word ‘contend’ implies first that we have something worth fighting for, and that second, these battles will occur inside the church.

Bible believing Christians cannot afford the luxury of allowing false teaching concerning Jesus Christ to enter the church just for the sake of unity because that will allow our spiritual enemy, Satan, to have a stronghold in the very sanctuary where God is being sought. Perhaps, in God’s wisdom, that is precisely why He has allowed for the many different denominations that we have today. If one denomination is corrupted by false doctrine and false teaching, it will not as easily spread throughout all of Christendom.

So, it is so important for each Christian, and for each church that is aligned with a denomination, to closely monitor and participate in the greater decision making process. When we find that the grace of God is being “turned into a license for immorality” by our churches or our denominations, it is time to “contend for the faith.”

Always remember these words from Jesus in John 8:31-32, “…Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Truth is the most valuable possession that a child of God can own and it is worth contending for.

May God richly bless you as you continue to search the Scriptures which are “able to make you wise.”

Pastor Charles…

Repentance: Is it really necessary?

Dear Pastor Charles: I have a question concerning repentance from sin. Is it necessary for a person to repent in order to be saved? Wondering…

Dear Wondering: Thank you for your question. The answer is yes, to be saved you must repent of the known sin in your life. The Bible clearly and consistently teaches that no person can be saved, regenerated and justified before God without repentance. Most preaching today overlooks this biblical truth because it has become unpopular to our modern itching ears. Please understand that repentance does NOT earn salvation and the forgiveness of God because salvation is a gift and cannot be paid for by any action or work of man. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.” A person is not saved by repentance, however it does place a person into a position in which God, on the basis of the work and worth of the Lord Jesus Christ, is free to pardon their sins and make them a child of God.

A natural question regarding the doctrine of repentance might be, “Does that mean that I have to clean up my life before I can come to God?” The answer to that question is NO YOU DON’T! You can come to God just as you are and He will accept you. This sounds confusing and contradictory on the surface but please bear with me while I attempt to explain. Repentance literally means a changing of your mind and implies an alteration of course or direction. In other words, what you have been doing that is wrong, you decide to do no more. Jesus gave an example of repentance while addressing the hypocritical Pharisees in the “Parable of the Two Sons” in Matthew 21:28-31, “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard. ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”

You see, repentance involves a deep, Godly sorrow for sin. It is seeing yourself with the veil of self-righteousness removed and realizing that, in your own flesh, you fall far short of the glory of God, that you are hopelessly lost and that Christ is your only hope. When the Apostle Peter preached to the gathered crowds at Pentecost that Jesus Christ was crucified for their sins and raised from the dead, the results are recorded in Acts 2:37-39, “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Modern theology seems to be headed down the road of what I call “easy believism”. The desire of some evangelical churches to pack in the crowds sometimes leads to the false teaching that all we must do is make a public profession of faith in Christ and be baptized in order to be saved. After this, we can go on with our lives as if there were no consequences for sin. No! No! No! When a person has a true conversion experience there will always be an accompanying change in behavior. This may take a little time but the truth is that God’s Holy Spirit will not dwell in a dirty house. He will convict a person of sin and that person will desire to give it up. If there is no conviction of sin, there has been no conversion. That is a Biblical fact. The Apostle Paul said in Col. 3:5-10, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Dear friend, While God desires to make us a new creation in Christ Jesus, we cannot simply shrug off our personal responsibility in recognizing and turning from sin. Paul said in Romans 6:1-4, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

I sincerely hope that I have answered your question sufficiently. My prayer for you is that you will continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you as you search the Scriptures which are able to make you wise.

God bless,
Pastor Charles…

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Gal 5:1