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Questions & Answers

Last evening we had a wonderful time of worship. In addition, we hosted a Bible Q & A time. It was a great night. The questions were terrific and I appreciate Pastor Thomas Miller and Ron Milner, one of our Elders for helping to answer the questions.

Here are the remaining questions that did not get answered last evening…

1. When we die do we go straight to heaven or do we sleep?

The idea that the soul of an individual does not immediately go to heaven, but rather stays buried till the resurrection is called Soul Sleep. The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists are the main groups that hold to this doctrine. The primary verses used to support soul sleep are found in Ecclesiastes:

Eccl. 9:5,  “For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.”

Eccl. 12:7,  “then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”

The writer is telling us how things are from the human perspective from “under the sun.”  He is not telling us doctrinal statements about whether or not the soul continues after death.

In the New Testament we see Paul say in 2 Cor. 5:8, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Paul is clearly telling us that when he dies, he will go and be with the Lord.  Another example is found in Matthew 17:1-8. At the Transfiguration we see Moses and Elijah who were alive.  There was no soul sleep with them.

Therefore, we do not believe in the doctrine of soul sleep.  The soul continues on after death.  The wicked face the judgment of God, and the Christians will dwell in His presence.

* Some of these statements were taken from http://carm.org/soul-sleep.

2. What did Jesus mean when He said, “Don’t throw your pearls before swine?”

The passage is found in Matthew 7:6. In the immediate context Jesus is speaking about a judgmental spirit, having commanded us to not judge, lest we be judged.  Before we can judge others, we must take an inventory of our lives to make sure that there is no sin that needs to be removed.

Nevertheless, we do need to be discerning in how we present the Gospel. To His Jewish listeners the pig was completely rejected. It could not be eaten and was considered unclean according to OT law.

Jesus, though, uses the analogy in reference to those who would reject and disparage the Gospel.   The disciples were encouraged to not allow those who rejected the invitation of Christ to treat precious things as cheap.   If someone coldly and habitually rejects the message of the Gospel, we are to move on and share it with someone who will be more receptive.

3. When does the Holy Spirit take residence in the life of the believer?

We believe that the Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer at the moment of salvation.  This truth is repeatedly seen throughout the New Testament. Here are a few verses that teach that truth…

I Corinthians 3:16 – Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

I Corinthians 6:19 – Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and we given to you by God?

Although, the Corinthians were referred to as carnal and not spiritual (I Corinthians 3:1), Paul still assured them that they were ALL indwelt by the same Holy Spirit.

4. Where was Jesus in the three days between His death and resurrection?

The only Bible passage that seems to allude to that time is I Peter 3:18-22. Unfortunately though, the Bible isn’t entirely clear what exactly Christ did for the three days between His death and resurrection. It does seem, though, that He was preaching victory over the fallen angels and/or unbelievers. Perhaps this is one of the mysteries we will understand once we get to heaven.

5. Does HCC hold to the doctrine of election?

Without a doubt election is a biblical doctrine. It is found repeatedly throughout the New Testament (Ephesians 1:4-6; Titus 1:1; I Peter 1:2). The question that is debated is as to the scope and timing of election. At HCC we realize that this is a debatable topic with many strong arguments.   The reason that we do not take a strong position is that we do not believe that it affects the basic message of the Gospel. How and when God elects is completely and entirely up to Him.

6. Was Satan originally in the Garden of Eden?

Rather than taking the time to answer that detailed question in my blog. Here is a link that will give a thorough and detailed answer – http://carm.org/god-satan-garden-sin

7. Are some people born gay and how do we approach them.

This is a difficult topic that is much discussed and debated in theological, biological and sociological circles.  I am confident that I am not qualified to answer the question from a biological perspective. I do know that every human being was born with a sinful nature. The desire to commit any sin is ingrained within that nature – no one has to teach our children to sin they do so naturally.

I would also add that each individual struggles with different sins. The sins that greatly tempt me might not tempt you. Thus, the challenge for each individual, then, is whether or not they will give in to those sinful desires.   Any sin can only be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we approach a homosexual individual the same way that we approach any other person. They need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That is where it begins. Until they know Jesus they will not accept the truths and the standards of purity that He lays out in His Word.

8. Why do we not worship on the Sabbath?

First of all, of the 10 commandments listed in Exodus 20:1-17, only 9 of them were reinstituted in the New Testament: five in Matt. 19:18, murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and honor parents; in Rom. 13:9, coveting; worshiping God properly covers the first three commandments. The one that was not reaffirmed was the one about the Sabbath. Instead, Jesus said that He is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8).

Secondly, we meet together on Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus (I Corinthians 16:1). Thankfully, we no longer look back to the Old Testament Law. We now can stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free (Galatians 5:1).

9. Did God intend for us to be vegetarians and did they eat meat after the fall?

It appears as if Adam and Eve only ate plants, fruits and vegetables before the Fall (Genesis 1:29).  Did they begin to eat meat before the flood? The Bible is not clear. We do know that Genesis 9 indicates that God gave meat to man for food (Genesis 9:1-3).

10. Do ghosts exist and is any spirit or presence felt demonic?

Admittedly, there is a growing interest in angels, ghosts and the spirit world. As a result, many false and unbiblical concepts have been embraced and promoted. Here are some truths that we know to be true from Scripture.

  • When people die they do not become ghosts or angels.

The truth is that when a person dies, they immediately enter into their eternal abode – either heaven or hell. We addressed that question earlier by stating that the believer immediately goes to heaven and the unbeliever immediately goes to eternal punishment (Luke 16:23; II Corinthians 5:8).

  • We can encounter angels without realizing it

Hebrews 13:2 instructs us to be kind to strangers because it is possible for us to entertain angels without be aware of it.

  • There are demonic spirits

In the Bible they are referred to as familiar spirits and evil spirits (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 8:19-14, Ephesians 6:12). Let us keep in mind that the grand purpose of the Devil and his demonic army is to lead man astray. Even the Devil himself disguises himself as an angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14).

  • We must carefully test the spirits

I John 4:1-3 exhorts us to test the spirits to see if they are of God. This passage is speaking of false teachers, but it certainly applies to familiar spirits. They are not something with which a believer should get involved.   God speaks to us through His Word and not through a familiar spirit. So, if an individual is having some sort of communication with a spirit it is VERY likely that he/she is communicating with a demonic spirit. Be careful!

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