And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 37 July 01, 2007
In this issue:
We do not solicit Bible questions on the Bible Answers web site. Nevertheless, we get a number of questions sent to us, and we do our best to answer them all. I thought I would “kill two birds with one stone” today and print the answers to some of the most recent questions we’ve received.
Question: “In the Bible did Jesus serve the Lord's Supper and did his disciples serve communion any at all? I have been told that no where in the Bible did Jesus or his disciples serve communion. I beg to differ. Reason asking, I feel that only a Minister or Elders in the church should serve communion (someone ordained) no one else. This came up in a disciple class my husband attended. The teacher of the class served communion and my husband didn't participate because of his beliefs in this too. His teacher came back at him with that comment......”
First of all, the Bible states that on the night Jesus was betrayed, he took the bread and gave thanks, and told his disciples to eat it in memory of his body. He then did similarly with the cup (1 Cor. 11:23-25). Christians continue to “eat this bread and drink this cup” in memory and proclamation of his death until he comes (1 Cor. 11:26).
The Lord’s supper is not a sacrament that is “served,” but a memorial that is “eaten.” In that sense, no one “served” communion – they merely distributed the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine so they could all eat and drink. Jesus “gave” the bread and the cup to his disciples (Matt. 26:26-27). The Bible does not establish an ordained clergy who alone has the authority to “serve communion.”
It is also important to note that the Lord’s supper is to be eaten on the first day of the week when the local church comes together (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20, 33). That is the New Testament pattern; not in small groups on other occasions and days. Such is going beyond the doctrine of Christ (2 Jno. 9).
Furthermore, the Lord’s supper is not a “ceremony” over which someone “officiates.” This idea has been generated by men, not the word of God (Gal. 1:6-10). The emphasis in the word of God is not placed on who distributes the bread and the cup, but on what they represent, and on whom, why and how the disciples eat the supper. This is what is important today.
Question: “I have a query. While I was reading Joshua chapter 10 today, in verse 23-26, the kings of Hebron, Jerusalem etc. are killed. But in verses 36-37 they kill the king of Hebron when they later attack the place. Can you explain this inconsistency? Is it OK to send queries occasionally when I get them while reading the bible?”
We are happy to receive honest Bible questions, and we will be glad to continue to hear from you.
We are convinced that any apparent inconsistency observed in the Bible is the result of our failure to fully understand the passage(s) and not the result of God giving us contradictory information (see Psa. 119:89, 128, 160; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Given the inerrant nature of God’s word, we should expect to find harmony, even though at times it is not immediately apparent. And, we do.
The harmony of Joshua 10:23-26 with verses 36-37 is that verses 23-26 give a detailed description of the king’s death, while verse 36-37 provide a summary of Hebron’s defeat and capture, including the death of its king.
Question: “Does the bible teach us about missing our loved ones?? My wife died a little over 2 years ago and yet it seems like yesterday. What is a person to do?? Any thoughts are appreciated.”
Yes, the Bible addresses the sadness and loss we experience when loved ones leave this life. The immediate sorrow of Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus died is a notable example (Jno. 11:19). It comforts us to know that God is touched by the sorrow that accompanies death -- Jesus wept (Jno. 11:35).
Another source of comfort at the loss of a loved one is friends. John 11:19 says there were women and others comforting Martha and Mary. This must have been a great help to them as they faced the prospect of going on without Lazarus (even though Jesus would raise him from the dead, Jno. 11:43-44). Surround yourself with friends and family who can reassure you and encourage you as you now live without your loved one.
Another source of comfort in death is the Christian’s faith. Jesus spoke of the disciple’s sorrow over his death that would turn to joy when he was raised from the dead (Jno. 16:22, 32-33). The Christian’s faith and hope of resurrection prevents overwhelming sorrow when death brings separation (1 Ths. 4:13-14).
God wants you to continue living your life even though death has taken a loved one from you. This is the order of things; there is a time to be born and a time to die (Eccl. 3:2). Remembering to thank God for the life you shared with your loved one will help you appreciate the blessing you have had (and still have) as a result of your life together. This will help ease your burden of loss.
While death ends our earthly experiences, it does not end our existence (Eccl. 12:7; Heb. 9:27). We must have a proper understanding of death so that when it touches our lives we will not be crushed by it. Above all, we must live so as to be prepared for our own death (Lk. 12:19-21).
Question: “I have a question. Why Egypt? Why does God use Egypt? Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Jacob and then Jesus all went to Egypt for protection.”
My initial reaction to your question was, “why not Egypt?” In truth, God rules all the nations of men. Among other things, this means the Most High God (1) “removes kings and raises up kings” (Dan. 2:21), and that he (2) “rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men” (Dan. 4:17, 25-26).
The sovereign will of God is credited with his treatment of Pharaoh: “For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth” (Rom. 9:17; Exo. 9:16). God’s sovereignty did not remove Pharaoh’s free will; nevertheless, God was ruling over him and his nation (Exo. 9:17-18).
At times, God blessed Egypt as a place of refuge from famine (Gen. 12:10; 45:7-8) and protection from enemies (Matt. 2:13-15). At other times, Egypt was a place of bondage, slavery and idolatry, against which God executed His punishment (Exo. 1:8-14; 12:12).
God used Egypt, as he did other nations, to accomplish His ultimate purpose of saving sinners through Abraham’s seed, Jesus Christ. Egypt teaches us that God rules, and that sin will bring down even the strongest of nations (Prov. 14:34).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Galatians 2:17-21
1. Gal. 2:20:
Although Paul did not speak literally, he described something very real
in his life; Crucified with Christ.
I. CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST. (“I have been crucified with Christ”)
The Symbolism of Crucifixion, Lk. 9:23; Acts 1:3; Phil. 3:4-8.
II. IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, Ro. 6:4-5.
Justification from Sin, Rom. 6:7-8, 11; 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 2:12-13.
III. LIVING BY FAITH.
A. By the Faith, We Obtain
Life, Gal. 2:16; Rom. 1:16-17Gal. 1:6-12; 2:5, 11.
IV. WHY BE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST & LIVE BY FAITH?
A. Because Christ Loved Me, 2
Cor. 8:9; Gal. 2:21; 1 Jno. 4:9-10.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 4:10-15
1. How do you know
that what you believe is right or that this church is right? Is it even
possible to know? Yes, Jno. 14:6; Matt. 7:13-14.
I. GOD’S WORD IS RIGHT, Psa. 119:128, 89.
A. It Settles Every Matter,
II. IT HAS BEEN POSSIBLE TO KNOW THE RIGHT WAY IN THE PAST.
A. Joshua Knew & Observed the
Right Way of Truth, Josh. 1:7-8; 24:15.
III. JESUS TAUGHT WE CAN KNOW AND DO THE TRUTH.
A. No One can come to Jesus
without Knowing the Truth, Jno. 6:44-45.
IV. HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE RIGHT? 1 Jno. 5:13
A. First, Believe there is a
Right Way of Truth (Psa. 119:128, 160).
V. WHAT IS RIGHT?
A. There is a Right Plan of
Salvation; you can know it (Acts 16:30); Mark 16:15-16.
Neither Muslim nor Christian
after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black
headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.
The Muslim faith says Jesus is not the Son of God: “Islam rejects the notion that Jesus, peace be upon him, was the son of God.” (How to Become a Muslim, islamicbulletin.org) “For Muslims to say Jesus is God would be blasphemy,” says Mahmuod Ayoub, professor of Islamic studies and comparative religion at Temple University in Philadelphia (Seattle Times article).
While you cannot be a Muslim and believe Jesus is the Son of God, that won’t be a problem for Redding, who does not believe Jesus is the Son of God. (Matt. 16:16-17)
The Episcopal faith says, “The Messiah, or Christ, is Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son of God.” (“Episcopal Church Core Beliefs and Doctrines,” episcopalchurch.org) It sounds like the E. Church should have a problem with Redding because of her lack of faith in Jesus as the Son of God.
A Christian is not Episcopal or Islamic. Christ never built and approved the Episcopal Church (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 4:4), while Islam rejects him as the Christ (Jno. 8:24, 58).
Redding is not a good Episcopal, nor is she a good Muslim – and she is not a Christian. She is truly mixed up. She is lost, needing salvation in Jesus Christ (Heb. 5:8-9).
Some say this is all just a “matter of interpretation.” But, the Bible says there is one faith, not two (Eph. 4:5). (Of course, Redding rejects the Bible as the word of God.) No one can serve two masters, and “he who is not with me is against me.” Jesus said that (Matt. 6:24; 12:30).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 07/02/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA