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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (18)

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.   When a person asks a question, sometimes I wonder:  “Does he/she really want an answer to that question?

1.    First, the answer goes against what a person believes.

2.    Second, when the answer is given, the person has a tendency to get angry.

3.    Example:  Jesus’ answer (Mark 14:61-62, 64)

 

But he held his peace, and answered nothing.  Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him.  Art thou the Christ, the son of the blessed?  And Jesus said, I am…Ye heard the blasphemy:  what think ye?  And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.

 

B.   Yes, answering questions can be risky business, but sometimes it is the best way to clear up confusions that people have.

 

C.   Tonight is the first Sunday of February.  It is our Questions & Answers night.  We will be answering four questions.

 

I.             QUESTION #1 – Author of James

 

A.   Stated:  Which James wrote the book of James?

 

B.   Answer:

1.    James 1:1

 

James, the servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ…

 

2.    There are three prominent men named James in the New Testament.

a.    James, the son of Zebedee and brother of James, and one of the twelve apostles (Matt. 4:21; 10:2).

b.    James the son of Alphaeus and also an apostle (Matt. 10:3).

c.    James, the brother (literally, half-brother) of Jesus (Matt. 13:55).

3.    Which one of these men wrote the book of James?

a.    James, the apostle and brother of John, did not write the epistle.  He was killed by Herod (Acts 12:1-2).

 

Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.   And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

 

b.    Most reject James the son of Alphaeus because the only times he is mentioned in the New Testament is in the lists of the apostles.  His obscurity causes them to doubt that he is the author.

c.    This leaves us with only James, the brother of Jesus.

4.    Important points about this James.

a.    There was a time when James did not believe Jesus’ claims (John 7:5).

 

For neither did his brethren believe in him…

 

b.    James witnessed the resurrected Christ (I Cor. 15:7).

 

After that he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

c.    James converted to Christianity and became a prominent member of the church in Jerusalem.

1)    In Galatians 2:9, he referred to as one of the “pillars” of the church, along with Peter and John.

2)    At the Jerusalem gathering, he was one of the men who stood up to speak (Acts 15:13-21).

d.    The important lesson we learn from James in James 1:1. 

1)    He understood his true status in his relationship with Jesus.

2)    He was a simple “servant” of Jesus Christ.

3)    He never used his blood relationship to exalt himself.

 

II.           QUESTION #2:  The Holy Spirit

 

A.   Stated:  Why don’t we speak much about the Holy Spirit in the church?

 

B.   Answer:

1.    This is a wonderful question.

a.    The words “Holy Ghost” are found in 89 verses in the KJV New Testament.

b.    The words “Holy Spirit” are found in 4 verses.

c.    The words “Spirit of God” are contained in at least 15 verses.

d.    We also read about “the Spirit,” “the Spirit of truth,” “the Spirit of holiness,” “the eternal Spirit,” and “the Spirit of grace.”

2.    There are several reasons why we do not talk about this subject.

a.    It is a very involved topic that is highly controversial.

1)    Almost every aspect of a study of the Holy Spirit has controversy.

2)    One usually beings a study of the Holy Spirit by examining “The Person of the Holy Spirit.”  Some do not believe the Holy Spirit is a divine being.  They believe that He is a force or energy.

3)    The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, miracles, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and indwelling are all controversial as well.

b.    The denominations have high jacked the subject from us.

1)    They speak about him openly and freely.

2)    Because, they talk so much about Him, we refuse to do so.

c.    Much of what is believed about the Holy Spirit is subjective, that is, based on feelings.

1)    We try to present hard evidence, facts, and Scripture on the subject. 

2)    We study diligently to give an answer.

3)    We are brushed off with the words:  “Well, that is not how I feel about it.”  Feelings do not like facts.

4)    We let this turn us off to the whole subject of the Holy Spirit.

3.    We need to write articles, preach sermons, and have classes on the subject of the Holy Spirit.

a.    Paul told Timothy to “preach the word” (II Tim. 4:2) and the Holy Spirit is part of the Word.

b.    The Holy Spirit is one of the members of the Godhead (Acts 5:3-4; Heb. 9:14), and we need to know about this wonderful being.

c.    The Holy Spirit has done wonderful things and continues to work today in our lives.  We need to know what He does.

 

III.         QUESTION #3:  JESUS’ BIRTHDAY

 

A.   Stated:  When was Jesus’ birthday?

 

 

B.   Answer:

1.    The truth is that NOBODY knows the month or day of Jesus’ birth.

a.    “The Bible does not give a specific date for the birth of Jesus” (JW.org).

b.    “The true birth date of Jesus Christ is unknown” (New Catholic Encyclopedia).

c.    “The exact date of Christ’s birth is not known” (Encyclopedia of Early Christianity).

2.    Two notes about December 25th.

a.    The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336.

b.    Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Christ would be celebrated on December 25th.

3.    In Holy Writ, the church is never commanded to celebrate the birth of Christ.  If we celebrate it as a religious holiday, we do so without the authority of Christ (Col. 3:17).

 

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

 

a.    Some act as if abiding by the authority of Christ is not important.

b.    We could ask several Bible characters whether this is so.

1)    Cain (Gen 4:4-7)

2)    Moses as he smote the rock (Num. 20:10-13)

3)    David when he transported the ark of God on the new cart pulled by oxen (II Sam.6:1-9).

 

IV.         QUESTION #4:  Distractions in Worship

 

A.   Stated:  Do people realize their actions distract others in the worship service?

 

B.   Answer:

1.    First, it is very easy for us to engage in actions that distract others.

a.    Talking to those around us

b.    Coming in late to worship

c.    Failing to take a loud or crying child out of the auditorium

d.    Children being allowed to play in the pew

e.    Going in and out of the auditorium during worship

f.     Constantly rubbing or petting someone

g.    Clicking a pen

h.   Answering a cell phone in the assembly

i.     Clipping one’s finger nails

j.     Sleeping or acting bored with your head down during the lesson

2.    Many people do not really understand how distracting their behaviors are.

a.    The things they do have become habits.

b.    They are not thinking of others, only themselves.

c.    Sadly, some just do not care.

3.    Three teachings that some need to consider.

a.    Love for others

1)    Love does not seek her own (I Cor. 13:5).

2)    We need to remember that others are trying to worship and put their needs before ours.

 

 

 

 

b.    Courtesy

1)    I Pet. 3:8

 

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.

 

2)    The word “courteous” means “friendly of mind, kind.”

c.    True worship

1)    John 4:24

 

God is a Spirit:  and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

 

2)    The distractor must remember that he is here to worship in spirit and in truth and so are all those who are around him.

4.    One more note to the questioner.

a.    Come up front!

b.    There are a lot of empty pews and the distractions are far, far less.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.   You have given me plenty of questions to be answered.

 

B.   Some will be answered in bulletin articles.

 

C.   Some will be answered in sermons.

 

D.   There is one question that will be addressed in a class that I hope to put together in the near future.