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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (17)

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.     Some quotes about questions:

1.       “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers” (Voltaire).

2.       “Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no fibs” (Oliver Goldsmith).

3.       “The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s the one who asks the right questions” (Claude Levi-Strauss).

4.       “There are some questions that shouldn’t be asked until a person is mature enough to appreciate the answers” (Anne Bishop).

5.       “At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become” (Leo Babauto).

 

B.     Each of these statements about questions contains some profound thought needed to be contemplated by all of us.

 

C.     We focus on questions tonight because tonight is our Q&A Night.  We will be answering three of your questions.

 

I.             QUESTION #1:  THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

 

A.     Stated:  Can we stop being Christians?

 

B.     Answer

1.       This question will be a “yes” response from some and a “no” response from others.

a.       If one defines a Christian as a person who is Christ-like, then the answer will be “yes.”  It is possible for a person to quit being Christ-like.

b.      If a person defines a Christian as one who belongs to Jesus, then the answer will be “no.”  Regardless of what a person does, he will always belong to Jesus Christ.

2.       God’s people are known by several different names:  child of God, disciple, Christian, priest of God, saint, brother or sister. 

a.       We become all of these things when we obey the gospel (Gal. 3:27-27).

 

For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

 

b.      Do we ever really cease being any of these things?

1)       In a sense the answer is:  “No.”

a)       The prodigal son was still a son when he was in the foreign country (Luke 15:24).

 

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.

 

b)      When a person is withdrawn from, he does not cease being our brother in Christ (II Thess. 3:14-15).

 

And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that men, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.  Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

 

2)       If we cease living up to the name, we must describe ourselves in different terms.

a)       Prodigal son

b)      Unfaithful Christian

c)       Erring brother or sister

d)      A corrupt priest

e)       An unholy “saint” (NOTE:  This is really a misnomer).

 

3.       We can argue about whether one is a Christian or not a Christian.  It is a matter of definitions and semantics.  The important thing to examine is whether a person is faithful after he/she becomes a Christian.

a.       It is required that a steward be faithful (I Cor. 4:2).

b.      We must be faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10)

c.       We want to hear the words:  “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21, 23).

 

II.           QUESTION #2:  VISITORS TO WORSHIP SERVICES

 

A.     Stated:  How should be treat visitors?

 

B.     Answer:

1.       I thought about answering:  “Treat them like family.”  Then, I thought about how we treat family sometimes, and said:  “Naw!”

2.       Let’s look at some do’s and don’ts.

 

DO                                                    DON’T

 

1.       Greet them immediately                             1.         Ignore them

2.       Express joy for their presence                      2.         Fail to get their name

3.       Get their name                                           3.         Judge them by their looks

4.       Ask a few simple questions                          4.         Be too friendly

5.       Explain worship and Bible classes                5.         Embarrass them

6.       Help them get comfortable                         6.         Move them from “your” seat

7.       See if they have needs                                 7.         Have dirty facilities

8.       Give them information about church                       8.         Get into lengthy conversations

9.       Invite them back                                         9.         Forget your manners

10.   Follow up, letter, visit, etc.                          10.        Don’t be rude

 

C.     Three verses from the Sermon on the Mount to remember.

1.       Matthew 5:16

 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 

2.       Matthew 7:12

 

Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:  and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

 

3.       Matthew 7:12

 

Therefore all things ye would that men should to unto you, do ye even so to them:  for this is the law and the prophets.

 

III.         QUESTION THREE:  OPPOSITION TO REBUKES

 

A.     Stated:  How do we show that faithful rebukes are not intended to be mean-spirited, intolerant, or bigoted?

 

B.     Answer:

1.       We must understand WHO we are confronting:  evil hearts, those in sin and immorality, the selfish, and enemies of the truth.

a.       Darkness hates the light (John 3:20).

 

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds be reproved.

 

 

b.      The warning of the wise man (Prov. 9:8)

 

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee;  rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

 

2.       When individuals do not accept rebuke, they will always turn on the messenger.

a.       They oftentimes turned on Jesus.

1)       Is not this the carpenter’s son? (Matt. 13:55).

2)       He hath a devil, and is mad (John 10:20).

3)       Behold now, ye have heard his blasphemy (Matt. 26:65).

b.      There are many names that we will be called:  Bible thumpers, self-righteous judges, intolerant, mean-spirited, right-winged radicals, bigots, hypocrites, holier-than-thou, liars, false teachers, Campbellites.

c.       When the name-calling starts, we need to remember the words of Jesus (Matt. 7:6).

 

Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

 

3.       We must not let the fear of persecution keep us from giving rebukes when and where they are needed.

a.       II Timothy 4:2

 

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

 

b.      Titus 1:13

 

This witness is true.  Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.

 

c.       Titus 2:15

 

These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.  Let no man despise thee.

 

4.       As we rebuke, keep spiritual etiquette under consideration.

a.       Speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

b.      Don’t strive, but be gentle to all men (II Tim. 2:24).

c.       Practice meekness and fear (Gal. 6:1; I Pet. 3:15).

d.      Be long suffering, not quick tempered (II Tim. 4:2).

 

5.        Mark 13:13

 

Ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake, but he that endureth unto the end, that same shall be saved.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.     In this lesson, we have considered several aspects of the Christian life:  being faithful, reaching out to others, and suffering for Christ.

 

B.     What all of should desire is to come to the end of life with the words of Paul being repeated from our lips (II Tim. 4:7).

 

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.