October 15, 2017: Ask Anything Sunday

  • 00:20 If someone who has never heard of Jesus dies, do they receive the same punishment as someone who has rejected Christ?
    • 00:50: It is good to remember the Bible is truth but it does not make every aspect of God known to us. There will be no one at the resurrection for eternity (or heaven) that does not claim the name of Jesus Christ. There are some that teach about a place of death where there is going to be an opportunity to proclaim the name of Christ when you ask for mercy and see that you are not perfect. Bottom line: If you're concerned about it, do something about it. Give money, go yourself, share the name of Christ.
  • 6:09 How do we speak God's truth in love?
    • 6:27 The relationship does not depend on that person's response to the conversation.  We are bad at this in our culture but we should be confident enough to remain in a relationship despite the other person's negative response to our difficult conversation. Practical tip: Do not use absolutes about you or the other person (ex: you always, I never). The only absolute is the message you are sharing (ex: God says lying is wrong).
  • 9:30 How do we set up healthy boundaries while still showing the love of Christ?
    • 9:50 In the midst of helping someone, that person may become dependent upon us. Our goal is to have them dependent on God, not on us. When helping someone, get out of an individualistic mindset, think in a team approach.  Think in threes. It takes three families to help on other family. Also consider, what are your boundaries? Your perceived boundaries may be different than the boundaries laid out in God's Word. Your boundaries should be truly God-honoring and to maintain your health and not just to maintain your comfort.
  • 13:00 Are we experiencing the birth-pains of the coming of Christ? (ex: hurricanes, fires, etc)
    • 13:15 Pastor Rich's understanding: Since the day Jesus ascended into heaven, there has been hurricanes, fires, etc. It isn't any worse today than it was 50 years ago when you consider the whole kingdom of God, not just in America. We should not be surprised if Jesus returns tomorrow, in ten years, etc. Nor should we have been surprised if He had returned 70 years ago. 
    • 15:00 Another understanding: Technology has created a global environment that we have never experienced before which may be referenced in Revelation. The message of Jesus has reached much further in the last 50 years. These things point to the conclusion that His return is imminent.
  • 16:16 Why is it so hard to get people to listen to how great Jesus is?
    • 16:25 It is our own sin that blinds us to the greatness of Jesus. Another thing to consider, it seems like we have it pretty great without Him and being a part of a church appears messy and unattractive from the outside. In our culture, we have created a god that allows everyone to enter heaven so then we believe we don't need Jesus. Jesus becomes a good option when we want more religion instead of our Atoning Sacrifice for an eternity in heaven. It is the Holy Spirit that penetrates through this sin and hardness to reach hearts. 
  • 19:34 Why does it seem like some non-believers face difficulties in their lives better than some Christians? Is this a false hope?
    • 20:06 Christians have a hard time facing difficulty when they are undisciplined in their spiritual habits (i.e. reading the Bible, building community and relationships with other Christians). Non-believers may have deeper friendships to support them through the difficulty and do not struggle with doubt, frustration and disappointment in God which may be a struggle for Christians. From Matthew 7: Following the ways of God does not remove the storm,  rather it protects you in the midst of the storm. The reality is that Christians will have more difficulties than non-Christians because we deal with the general brokenness of the world (like all of mankind) but we also have promised persecution from Satan and other people.
  • 25:15 How do I accept a family member who is living a homosexual lifestyle? 
    • 25:30 You're not supposed to accept them, God wants you to love them. There's a big difference. No matter what you do, this is very hard. You will be perceived as unloving and unaccepting. We are just as guilty as any active homosexual in our community. My greed, my lust is not better than their inclination to act on the feelings that they have. The difference is: by the grace of God, I acknowledge the struggle, and I seek to turn from it rather than live in it. Set aside: love the sinner, hate the sin. To a homosexual, there is no separation from who they are and their sexual identity. They see themselves as a homosexual. 
    • 29:45 Be crystal clear. If you have a family member or friend actively engaged a homosexual lifestyle, be crystal clear with them in the right setting and the right place. You are not my enemy. If you are thirsty, I will bring you water. But I will not support anything that encourages your homosexual behaviors.  And this is where it will get muddy, murky and difficult. 
    • Discern what the issue truly is - it may be that their heart is lacking the regeneration that comes through an active relationship with Jesus. Love on them. Be consistent in your Christian walk. Attend church even when others choose not to.
  • 34: 35 Every question involves difficulty and uncertainty. There is a lot that has not been made clear in the Bible. Try worrying less about all that isn't clear and practice the things that are clear.