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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (34)

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.     There are some questions that just do not need to be asked.

1.       Do I presently exist?

2.       Do I need air to live?

3.       Will I eventually die?

 

B.      There some questions, on the other hand, that do need to be asked.

1.       Does God exist?

2.       Will a man live again after he has died?

3.       What does a man need to do to be right with God?

 

C.     On Q&A Nights, you submit questions that you feel need to be asked.  We do our best to give you a Bible answer for your questions.

 

D.     Tonight, we will be examining three questions.

 

I.                    QUESTION #1:  THE APOSTLE BARNABAS?

 

A.     Stated:  Why is Barnabas listed as an apostle with Paul in Acts 14:14?  Barnabas is never listed as being an eyewitness of Jesus’ resurrection.

 

B.      Answer:

1.       Two introductory remarks about the question.

a.       Acts 14:14

1)      Paul and Barnabas were on the Paul’s first missionary journey.

2)      In the city of Lystra, Paul healed a man who had been crippled from birth.

3)      When the people saw this they marveled.

a)      They glorified mythical gods.

b)      The priest of Jupiter was about to offer sacrifice to the false gods.

4)      When Paul and Barnabas saw their actions they responded.

 

Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things?  We also are men of like passions with you…

 

b.      Barnabas is definitely called an apostle in this verse.  The person asking the question wonders how this can be since Barnabas did not witness the Lord’s resurrection.

1)      The person has reference to the qualifications one must have to be an apostle as set forth by Peter in Acts 1:22

a)      Beginning at the baptism of John

b)      Till the day the Lord was taken up into heaven

c)       A witness of his resurrection

2)      Any one of these three things could have disqualified Barnabas.  NOTE:  I am not certain that he was not a witness of the Lord’s resurrection.  Paul mentions that Jesus was seen of above 500 brethren on one occasion after his resurrection (I Cor. 15:6).  Barnabas may have been among them.

 

2.       Barnabas was not one of the apostles chosen by Jesus Christ to be His ambassadors.

a.       He is not found in the list of the apostles as recorded by the gospel writers (See Matt. 10:2-4).

b.      Judas fell from his apostleship (Acts 1:25) and Matthias took his place (Acts 1:26).

c.       Paul was selected later by God (Rom. 1:1).

3.       Why, then, is he called an apostle in Acts 14:14?

a.       The answer lies in the definition of the word “apostle.”

1)      It carries two definitions.

a)      The broad definition means “one sent.”

b)      The narrow definition refers to those men chosen to be the Lord’s apostles.

2)      When Barnabas is called an apostle, it refers to him as “one who was sent” on a mission (See Acts 13:2-3)

 

As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I called them.  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

 

b.      In Hebrews 3:1, Jesus is called “the Apostle and High Priest of our profession.”

1)      This is a second time we find the general use of the term “apostle.”

2)      Jesus was sent from heaven to earth to accomplish the mission of redemption of sinful man (I John 4:10).

 

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

II.                 QUESTION #2:  BAPTIZING CHILDREN

 

A.     Stated:  There is not one mention of children being baptized in the first century.  When did the churches of Christ start this practice?

 

B.      Answer:

1.       Some are convinced that only men and women were baptized into Christ in the first century.  They usually set forth two proofs:

a.       Those who are specifically mentioned:  Saul of Tarsus, Cornelius, Lydia, the Ethiopian eunuch, the Philippian jailor

b.      Verses that note only adults being baptized:

1)      Acts 6:7

 

And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

 

2)      Acts 8:12

 

But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

 

2.       Others, however, bring to our attention that there were times when entire households were converted to Christ (Acts 16:31, 33)

 

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house…And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

a.       The argument is made that within the house there may have been some children who obeyed the gospel.

b.      Those who believe only adults were baptized tell us that the household consisted of elderly parents or household servants who were adults.

c.       NOTE:  Neither group will be able to prove who was, or, was not, part of the jailor’s household.

3.       The real key to this question involves one’s ability to understand and carry out the conditions of salvation revealed to us by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.

a.       NOTE:  This has been the death nail to infant baptism.

b.      Discussion

1)      The understanding that a person must have is more than:

a)      Knowing the difference between good and evil

b)      Hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized

c)       Knowing that baptism is for the remission of sins

2)      Before a person can become a Christian he must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 8:24).

 

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins:  for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

 

a)      This is more than just mouthing the words:  “I believe Jesus is the Son of God.”

b)      It is an understanding of exactly what the words mean.  This takes an ability to think, to reason, and to understand. 

-          Infants CANNOT do this.

-          The minds of children are not developed enough to do this.

-          The question is:  When does a young person have this ability?

3)      There are many other things that must be comprehended as well:  sin, the death of Christ, repentance, baptism, the church.

a)      Again, infants cannot understand these things.

b)      Too, small children cannot comprehend these concepts.

c)       The question:  When does a young person have this ability?

c.       Guidelines:

1)      Parents must be actively involved in their child’s conversion. 

a)      They know their children.

b)      However, they must be very honest:  mental ability of the child, maturity of the child, and the child’s true understanding of the truth.

c)       Parents do not need to be so emotional about this matter that they overlook the lack of knowledge their child needs to obey the truth.

2)      Children need to be intentionally taught the plan of salvation.

3)      It is good to have someone other than the parents speak to the child before he is immersed.  (NOTE:  Just a few questions posed to the child will enable a person to know whether the child understands what he is doing or not).

 

III.              QUESTION #1:  PUBLIC SIN AND CONFESSION

 

A.     Stated:  When we sin publically, are we required to confess that sin publically?

 

 

B.      Answer:

1.       The information that we have from the New Testament about confessing our sins is minimal.

a.       Two verses:

1)      James 5:16

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

a)      Faults

-          Strong (3900):  a side slip (lapse or deviation), unintentional error or willful transgression

-          Thayer:  a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness

b)      Note:  There is no description of the kind of faults that are to be confessed.

2)      I John 1:9

 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

a)      The text merely tells us to confess our sins.

b)      The text does not specify public or private sins.

c)       The text does not tell us whether the confession needs to be done publically or privately.

b.      Two examples:

1)      The prodigal son (Luke 15:18, 21)

a)      The prodigal son wasted his father’s inheritance on riotous living.

b)      When he came to himself, he confessed his sin to his father.

 

And the Son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

 

2)      Simon (Acts 8:22, 24)

a)      Simon offered Peter money for the ability to lay hands on others to give them the miraculous powers of the Holy Spirit.

b)      Peter rebuked him and told him to repent (v. 22).

 

Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

 

c)       Simon asked Peter to pray for him (v. 24).

 

Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

 

2.       Things we definitely learn:

a.       Repentance from sin and the confession of sins is absolutely essential to one’s forgiveness by God.

b.      Any sin can be confessed before the church.  “Confess your faults one to another.”  (Warning:  Be careful!  Some like to gossip about others).

c.       We should definitely confess our sins to the one against whom we have sinned.

3.       General ideas on public confession:

a.       Sin needs to be confessed as publically as it is known.

b.      If the sin brought shame on the church, it needs to be confessed publically.

c.       If the sin was against the church, it needs to be confessed before the church.

4.       The real question:  If I sin in public, can I repent of the sin and confess it in private before God and the sin be forgiven?

a.       There are circumstances when this will be the case.  (Ex., if a person sins while away from home and it is not possible to return where the sin occurered to confess the sin).

b.      Definitely, we must always repent of our sins and confess them to God.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.     We have covered a variety of topics in our lesson.

1.       The definition of the word “apostle”

2.       Who is a candidate for baptism

3.       The confession of sins

 

B.      One of the most important questions each individual needs to ask:  “Am I right with God?”