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How do you comfort friends that don’t know the Lord with Scripture? What Scriptures are good for encouraging others?

That is a great question. As Christians we find much hope in the Word of God and we want to be able to share it with others. I would suggest that you change the way you say it.  Instead of just saying “here is a bible verse” say “As a Christian, when I am hurting or going through a hard time I have found comfort by reading God’s Word. Can I share with you a verse?”

Now, the second question was “Do you have any verses?” I usually begin with Psalm 34:4. But the best way to find verses is to read it yourself, meditate, study Gods word.

 

If a person lived in the time of Mohammed and the beginning of Islam, and believed in that doctrine of heaven, and they never heard the gospel, would God give them grace?

This is a great question because it seeks an answer that many people wonder. What about those who never had an opportunity to hear? What about the pygmies in Africa?  Lets begin with Romans 1:19-20. I’ll paraphrase. It says that the existence of God is abundantly clear in nature/creation. This is what is called Gods general revelation. We know God exists because what we see today cannot come through random processes and chance. God shows Himself. Another verse we can consider is found in Luke 12:48. I’ll paraphrase again. We will be held accountable for what we know. One more verse. Psalm 18:30. It says “As for God His way is perfect.” That means everything that God does. How He judges is absolutely perfect. Everyone who is in Heaven will know why they are there. Everyone who is in Hell will know exactly why they are there.” Even though this may be difficult for some, we have to trust Gods judgement on these issues.

 

In Revelation 22:19 it tells us not to take away any words of the Bible. How come when we need to read just one verse, we don’t have to read the entire Bible with it?

When we quote scripture, we are not dismissing any other truths of the Bible. We are just focusing on one particular truth. There is no problem with that. The problem is when we DISMISS what the Bible says in other places. It is wrong for us to cherry pick what Gods Word says. We can’t say “I like this so I’ll do it, I don’t like what the Bible says here, so I’ll ignore it.” All of Gods Word is profitable to us to build us up in holiness.

 

If Jesus is God, and God knows everything, why doesn’t Jesus know when the end time is?

This is a great question and it comes from Matthew 24:36. Jesus says “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. If Jesus is God, why doesn’t he know when his return will be?

Then answer comes from Philippians chapter 2. It tells us that Jesus is God but did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He became submitted to the Father and took on the role of a servant. (John 5:19)  When Jesus became flesh and walked among us there were limitations put on him as a servant. One of them being that he did not know this piece of information. Now, Jesus is on the throne. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him. I am sure that now he knows that information.

If your friend wronged you and you want to confront them and try to correct them in love, how do you let them know you’re not trying to judge them, but you’re trying to help them?

I would begin by making sure that you don’t have a plank in your eye before you confront the person who offended you. It is very hypocritical for us to be upset and take an offense when we do the same thing to others. So I would begin there. Then I would simply tell them how you feel. Tell them, “I don’t want to sound judging, and I really care for you but………..” I have learned that most people are unaware if you are offended and are quick to set things right.

When Jesus came to earth, why did people not believe that he was really the Son of God?

I would take you to two passages of scripture. The first one is in Isaiah 6. When the Lord commissions the prophet Isaiah, He says “Go and tell this people ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes.”

Isaiah had a very difficult ministry. Lots of hard work of preaching the truth; lots of rejection of that truth. The truth was rejected because their hearts were hard. Sin hardened their hearts.

Lets look at John 1:10-11 “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

Why did the people reject him? Again, its the same answer. Sin. Our hearts are darkened because of our natures. And because of that it is very hard for people to see our need for God. That is why salvation is totally a work of the Spirit.

If jealousy is a sin, and God never sins, then why does the Bible say in the 10 Commandments that God is a jealous God?

That is a great question! The answer to this is found in understanding translations. The OT was originally written in Hebrew; then during the exile in Babylon the OT Scriptures were translated into Greek. Eventually into Latin then English, German, etc. The problem with translating words from one language to another is that sometimes a word does not exist to accurately convey the original meaning. Let’s use the word love as an example. We say I love pizza, I love that movie, I love sushi, I love my wife. We use the same word for all; but each one denotes a type of affection.That is the case here. Jealous is the word that comes the closest. The Hebrew word is Kanna, a word used to describe only God in the OT. It is a word that means “having no rival”. The meaning of the word is that God does not want you to share your affections with any other “gods”. He desires all of you. Trying to worship God and other things is seen as a love triangle. He will have none of it.

If we know that bad things happen to good people, do good things happen to bad people?

Yes, absolutely. We can look at our world today and there are many who are doing wicked things; but in Gods plan they will not be judged until after death. Some people may have no problems in this life, but without Christ they have a problem after death. Take a look at Psalm 73.  Asaph makes the same observation. Life is difficult for him; he is trying to do his best to serve the Lord, and others who don’t honor God live well. We must trust God and learn to control our emotions when we see this. Pray for those people that they would be convicted of their sin and turn to Christ.

Why are we tested on our faith?

You want to check out Proverbs 17:3 and James 1:2-4. Why do we go through any kind of test? To see what we know; to see where we are in regards to a subject. God allows testing to come into our lives so we can see where we are. Will we trust him in that circumstance, or will sin come are way because life isn’t going the way we want. God is always in a process of refining us. He is shaping us in the image of his Son. That will cause testing, as Jesus was tested. If you are never tested, it is probably a sure sign that you don’t have a relationship with him.

Question#1:I have some high school friends who have no problem talking about sex and having sex. As soon as I hear these conversations start I leave, but the ones that I stay for I tell them it’s wrong and they don’t care. What Should I do?

 

Question#2:I have a friend at church who told me she will be having sex with people by the time she’s 15. She watches nasty things on the computer, and I don’t know what to say to her. Please help!

To deal with these issues, I think we need to begin with Proverbs 20:5 which says “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, it takes a man of understanding to draw them out.

In order to find out why people do things and what makes them tick, you have to invest in that person and, as I have learned, just to ask questions. If the people you are referring to claim to be Christians, ask them basic questions like:

1. Please define in your own words, what is a Christian? Does this match up with what scripture says? Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9-10

2. If their understanding of a Christian matches up with the Bibles definition of a Christian ask: What does the Bible say about your lifestyle? Lets take a look.  Ephesians 5:3

3. What is your goal with this type of behavior and choices? What are you trying to accomplish?

4. Have you thought about the consequences by choosing to live this way? What might happen to your body with this lifestyle?

The proverb says “the man with understanding draws them out.” Its all about making people think. Without the Holy Spirit to guide people, their feet will be quick to rush to sin because it gratifies the sinful nature. People don’t think long term. It is a Christians responsibility to show people why Gods ways are best. When we do that, we put a “pebble in the shoe” of the person. Making them think about choices they are making.