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Questions Answered

 


                      Is there Biblical  reason for placing membership?

Though this terminology is not used in the New Testament, this appears to be the practice of the early Christians. In Acts 9:26 Luke indicates that Paul wanted to "join himself to the disciples" in Jerusalem. In Romans 16:1 Paul refers to Phoebe, who was a "servant of the church which is at Cenchrea," which seems to indicate that she was a member of that particular congregation. The benefits of one "placing membership" with a congregation are multiple. One has the benefit of elders "watching out for his soul," Hebrews 13:17. In a local congregation one has fellowship with other Christians, Acts 2:41-47. In a local congregation one joins with others in the work of the church, Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-19. In a local congregation one finds mutual support, 1 Corinthians 12:25-26; Romans 12:15. In the worship of the local congregation one finds mutual edification, Colossians 3:16. These things, along with others which could be cited, show how vital being a part of a local congregation can be.


When should Christians partake of “The Lord's Supper”? 

On the occasion of Jesus’ final meal with the twelve disciples on the night of his betrayal and arrest, He took unleavened bread used in the Passover feast and blessed and broke it, and distributed it among the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body. And He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But this I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day I drink it new with you in my father’s kingdom" (Matthew 26:26-29). Thus we see that the communion or Lord’s Supper represents the body and blood of Jesus that was offered for our sins. Christians partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week in commemoration of our Lord’s death until he comes again (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We note that the early church observed this memorial on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). There is no Biblical account of New Testament Christians observing the Lord’s Supper any other time than the first day of the week or the Lord’s Day as it is called in Revelation 1:10. If we are going to follow the example of the early church we will confine our observance to that day, but we will observe it every Lord’s day not just on a certain few Lord’s days each year. While the observance is designed for those who have put their Lord on in obedience, we are not in the position to forbid anyone’s participation. Paul the apostle said, "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup" (1 Corinthians 11:28). Paul’s statement was directed to New Testament Christians and the benefits of proper observance are confined it appears to the same. How much a Christian should give?  Should Christians tithe? The first time that tithing is mentioned is Genesis 14:18-20 where Abraham gave a tenth of everything to Melchizedek. Melchizedek is designated in that passage as priest of God. As one proceeds further into the Old Testament with the giving of the Law of Moses, one sees that this is what was required of Israel. Leviticus 27:30-32 specifies that a tenth of the land, seed or fruit or whatever, was to be given to the Lord. Also, it should be understood that a tenth of everything went to the Lord, not just money. So, a farmer for instance, would give a tenth of his herd, a tenth of his crop as well as a tenth of his money.

What does “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” Mean?

 
The statement recorded in Matthew 6:13 and Luke 11:4 where Jesus is teaching his disciples how to pray, and tells them to pray the words; “lead us not into temptation.”  Now that is not suggesting that God tempts us or would in any way lead us into evil. The prayer is that we not be lead by the devil, or his disciples, or by our own fleshly enticements to partake in evil.

 To understand certain passages that use language that is different from everyday conversational English, we sometimes have to harmonize scriptures to arrive at the correct meaning. We do know that this passage does not mean that Jesus is saying or implying that God would tempt us or lead us into temptation.  This would contradict James 1:12-14 that reads, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” Notice that God does not tempt or lead men into temptation, but God does allow man to be tempted, and be drawn away by his own lust.

Bible passages sometimes use language that is not acclimated to our use. Now that is to say that there are expressions that people in olden times were accustomed to using and hearing that are strange to us, and subsequently requires further study if we are to glean the correct meanings.

In the Old Testament in Exodus 4:21 the passage reads, “And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. And in the New Testament in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 the passage reads, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

In these two passages we see that God allowed Pharaoh’s heart to be hardened, and He allowed the people in Thessalonica, who did not have a love for the truth, to believe a lie.  In these situations we see that God allowed Pharaoh and the people to follow their own wills. We must understand that by harmonizing scripture, God does not lead people astray, harden hearts or tempt men. But rather, He allowed them to follow their own will whether good or bad. If we are not careful, the language used in these passages could cause us to jump to the wrong conclusion that these passages say that God caused it, when the correct statement is that God allows it.