OceanSide church of Christ
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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (11)
Victor M. Eskew
A. There are all kinds of questions that are asked in the Bible. One of these is called a “rhetorical” question.
1. The answer to this question is known before it is asked.
2. The question is posed for effect. It is designed to impress truth on one’s mind.
3. Example (Rom. 6:1)
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
B. When you ask your questions for our Q & A night, they are not rhetorical. This is not to say, however, that you do not have some answer to your question in your mind before you submitted your question.
I. QUESTION #1: USE OF THE WORD FOOL
A. Stated: In one of your sermons, you entitled it, “Fools of the Bible.” How are you able to use the word “fool” and give examples of those who were/are “fools” in your sermon without being in violation of Matthew 5:22?
1. In Matthew 5:22, part of the verse says: …but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
a. If we lift this part of the verse out of its context, it would teach that we can call nobody a fool.
b. If this were the case, then the Bible would violate its own teaching because it refers to several people as fools (i.e., the atheist, Ps. 14:1).
The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God…
c. In addition, we could not preach any of the passages that use the word fool in reference to human beings.
2. The key is to keep all passages of Scripture in their context.
a. In Matthew 5, Jesus contrasts the rabbinical thinking of His day with the true teachings of the Law of Moses.
1) In Exodus 20:13, one of the Ten Commandments states: Thou shalt not kill.
a) The word “kill” means “to commit murder.”
b) The Jewish scholars reasoned that only killing is forbidden by this verse. They believed that being angry with another regardless of why one was angry was acceptable.
2) Jesus contrasts the truth with rabbinical thinking (Matt. 5:21-22).
Ye have heard that is was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
a) Jesus is dealing with one being angry with his brother without a cause.
- This anger was unjust, rash, and hasty, where no offence has been given or intended.
- In such an aroused state of emotion, the individual begins to berate and degrade another individual.
+ He calls him, “Raca.” This means that he is empty-headed or worthless.
+ He call him a “fool.” This means that one is impious or godless.
- Here, Jesus is referring to improper name-calling when a person is in a state of anger and outrage.
b. There are times is it appropriate to describe a person as a fool. It is certainly acceptable when the Bible describes certain individuals with the term.
II. QUESTION #2: USE OF THE WORD “HATE”
A. Stated: In a previous lesson, you seem to imply that we can hate sinners. How can this be the case if “God is love?” This seems to go against everything Jesus (and his apostles, ESPECIALLY John) teach about “LOVE.”
1. The Bible plainly teaches that there are some whom God hates.
a. Psalm 5:5
…thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
b. Proverbs 6:16, 19
These six things doth the Lord hate…a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among the brethren.
2. Two ways to explain this hatred.
a. Some see these passages as involving a figure of speech called a metonymy.
1) Definition: A figure by which one name or noun is used instead of another, to which it stands in a certain relation.
a) The sinner is put for the sin.
b) The cause of the sin is put for the sin itself.
2) In the passages listed, the text says that God hates the sinner, but it is really referring to the sin itself.
b. There is a type of hate that exists that does not violate love.
1) It would be similar to anger.
a) There is an anger that is not sinful (Eph. 4:26).
b) There is an anger that is sinful (Eph. 4:31).
2) There is a hatred that is rooted in the holiness of God
a) It opposes sinful individuals.
b) It has a disgust for such people.
c) It will fervently fight against these people and their evil ways.
d) It will punish the individual for his/her sinful action.
3) NOTE: Agape love is still present in the heart that desires the salvation of the person and will work for his good, even while opposing the individual and his sin.
III. QUESTION #3: NEITHER AS BEING LORDS OVER GOD’S HERITAGE
A. Stated: Will you please give your interpretation of I Peter 5:3? What does it mean to “lord over God’s heritage?” Please give specific details.
1. In this passage of Scripture, Peter, an elder in the church, reminds elders of their responsibilities (I Pet. 5:1-3).
The elders which are among you I exhort, whom am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
2. The position of an elder involves delegated authority and power. It involves having authority given by God over the flock, that is, the local congregation.
a. In I Peter 5:2, Peter tells the elders to take the oversight of the congregation.
b. In I Timothy 5:17, Paul writes about elders who “rule well.”
c. In Hebrews 13:17, the inspired writer exhorts his readers, saying: “Obey them that have the rule over you.”
3. Peter reminds elders, however, that they are not be “lords over God’s heritage.”
a. Being lords over
1) Strong (2634): to lord against, that is, control, subjugate
2) Thayer: to bring under one’s power, to subdue, master, to hold in subjection
3) Vincent: “But this carries the idea of high-handed rule” (e-sword, Vincent).
b. There are several ways this could be done by an elder.
1) They require burdens that they will not be involved it.
a) Notice that Peter says they are to be “ensamples” to the flock. The flock should be able to follow them.
b) The Pharisees (Matt. 24:1-4)
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to the disciples, saying, The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do ye not after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
c) This became a huge problem during the Crossroads Movement in the late 60s and into the 70s and 80s.
- Excess time was complete taken
- Accountable to others for all thoughts, words, and actions
- Disciplined if you not conform or participate
2) One elder steps to the front and dominates the eldership and the congregation with his will.
a) Peter says that elders (plural) are to take the oversight of the church.
b) Diotrephes is an example of such a person (III John 9-10).
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember the deed which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
+ Strong (5383): to be fond of being first, that is, ambitious of distinction
+ Thayer: to desire to be first
- No elder has the right to assume individual authority. Elderships are to work as a collective whole.
c) Warning signs:
- A person loves to be the “elder of the month” and eagerly awaits his turn.
- A person dominates meetings with his thoughts and opinions and ridicules or dismisses the thoughts and opinions of others.
- Others begin to view the congregation as “brother so-and-so’s congregation.”
- An elder is constantly lobbying the members of the church to get his way.
- An elder threatens other elders or the church in order to get his way (i.e., resigning, leaving, ceasing his contribution, etc.).
A. Most questions that are asked are for clarification. Such is true tonight. We appreciate such questions.
B. We hope that all of you will be like the noble Bereans and examine all of my answers in light of God’s Word (Acts 17:11).
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.