Is Jesus Angry If We Do Any Business or Trade at Church?

Question:  The one(?) time that Jesus got angry was when there were merchants selling stuff in the temple. How is that different than the craft fairs or church bazaars where people are selling stuff at the church?

Answer:

There were several times Jesus got angry (check out this article), but the thing that made him angry on this occasion was that as worshipers came to the temple for a proscribed or required festival and had to make sacrifices, it was much easier to buy an animal once you traveled to Jerusalem than to bring one from your town far away.  But the leaders in Jerusalem determined that you could only pay for them with a certain temple coin, so that required making a monetary exchange.  It was not a one-to-one exchange.  I suppose you could say there was a money-changing fee attached, but it ended up being a tax and a hardship on many.  Then, of course, the law of supply and demand caused the prices for animals, etc, there in the temple precinct to be inflated.  Instead of helping people worship God it was making it difficult.

In other words, that is completely different from having a church bazaar or craft fair or a bookstore, for example.  Now if a church were requiring you to buy a craft in order to participate in their worship service, that would make Jesus mad.

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How Do You Bring an Atheist to Christ?

Question:  How in the world do you bring an atheist to Christ?  I know you should pray for the right words but just wanted your thoughts on this.

Answer:  Bringing an atheist to Christ is just like bringing anyone to Christ.  I love the book “I Once Was Lost” by Everts and Schaupp.  It is a brilliant work based on a lot of experience in evangelism on college campuses.  Let me summarize.

Everyone must cross 5 thresholds to become a Christian.

First, they must come to trust a Christian.  If the non-Christian is to you simply a notch to put on your belt, you will not be trustworthy.  But if you love that person no matter what decision they make about Christ then they can trust you.

Second, they must be curious about Jesus.  Many non-Christians have some knowledge of Jesus and would like some questions about Him answered.  This is a first step toward genuine seeking.

Third, they must be open to radical life change.  Embracing the message of Jesus will require a complete alteration of one’s life.  When a non-Christian begins to understand the meaning of the gospel they will see how it will require radical life change.

Fourth, they must become genuine seekers of God.  They must really want to know the truth and how it affects them.

Fifth, they must believe.

An atheist claims there is no God.  What is their evidence for this belief?  Being willing to engage them on this would be a first step for you in building a trust relationship.  It will take some time because these lines of evidence are not quickly evaluated and answered.  Perhaps as the atheist sees your genuine love for him or her there will be a curiosity developed about why you are who you are and what role Jesus plays in that.  If the atheist is able to see that his or her view does not answer life’s most basic questions he or she might be open to radical life change.  If they become genuine seekers you might be instrumental in helping them through this process of seeking.  And finally you might help challenge them to get off the fence and believe.

We’re talking about a long term commitment to a person with genuine love and a readiness to engage in difficult discussions.  And yes, it will require prayer for the right words and the right heart toward this person.

How can God love us if He allows us to suffer?

Question: Why does God allow his children to suffer in this life when He says that He has only the best intentions for you and will open the floodgates of heaven upon you?

Answer: You are ultimately asking something that only God Himself can answer. But let me tell you a parable to help you with the overall issue.

A mom took her 1yr old son to the doctor for his inoculations. The boy had been to the doctor already and felt a little nervous, but when he learned that he was going to be stuck by a needle he became outright scared and began clinging to his mother. In essence he was pleading with her to protect him from the doctor and his instrument of torture, the hypodermic needle.

Instead of protecting him his mother held him while the doctor stuck him. The look in his eyes conveyed what his words could not. “How could you have been complicit in this pain?” “Why would you let me hurt this way, aren’t you supposed to love me?” “I will never trust you fully again.”

His mother knew, of course, that her act was an act of love, no matter how hard it was to see her son suffer. She knew that without this shot he might experience an even worse pain or death. But there was no way to explain this to her one-year old in any terms he could possibly understand. All she could do was comfort him and hope that one day he would understand and would continue to trust in her love for him.

We know God loves us. Sending His Son Jesus to die for us proves that. If He could tell us in terms we could understand why He allows the suffering He allows in the world, I’m sure He would. But there is a bigger picture that only He can see at this point. Perhaps one day it will become more clear to us.

I hate to admit it, but knowing that human beings are basically about ourselves and our own comfort and that internally we rebel against submitting to our Creator, it seems the only thing that moves us to seek Him at all is pain. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:18 and following that God has subjected the world to futility. Things don’t work the way they were intended to originally before we rebelled against God. If things continued to be a Garden of Eden for us I don’t believe we would ever turn to Him. We would be content with His good gifts and unmotivated to see how much we need more than His good gifts. We need a rescue from our rebellious hearts.

What Did Jesus Mean When He Said He Would Come on the Clouds?

Question:  Will we see the  Mighty One and Jesus in the clouds upon His return? Matthew 26:64 says,  “Yes, it is as you say,”  Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on  the clouds of heaven.”

Answer:  That is what Jesus said would happen.  This is a reference to Daniel 7 and a vision Daniel had of one like a son of man coming to the Ancient of Days and receiving from Him an eternal kingdom.  All would bow down to, serve and worship, this son of man.  Stephen, the first martyr, got a glimpse of this in advance when as he was dying he saw heaven opened and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

Jesus is referring to his second coming, which will be the polar opposite in many ways of his first coming.  He will be seen in all his glory and no one will be able to deny that he is the Messiah, the Son of God.  The book of Revelation depicts the judgments that will be poured out beforehand (Revelation 6-19) and his coming with an army to bring his kingdom to earth.

Randall Johnson

Related Articles: Is It Possible the Kingdom Has Already Come?

Can We Be Booted Out of Heaven Like Satan Was?

Question:  Were angels created on the first day when God made the heavens and earth? Or do we know when they were created?

Also, if Lucifer could be kicked out of heaven, is the reason we can’t be kicked out of Heaven because we are sealed with the Holy Spirit? Or when God makes a “new heaven and a new earth” will it be different than the old heaven and no one will be able to be kicked out because there won’t be sin? Or can we be kicked out just like Lucifer was?

Answer:  We might infer from Genesis 3 that angels were created before humans since we see the devil already fallen and speaking through the serpent in the garden to tempt Adam and Eve to disobedience.  Of course, this gets us into questions about whether Genesis 1 depicts 24 hour days or day-ages, etc.  If you subscribe to the Day-Age theory of creation I suppose you could have Satan and the other angels created on the first day of earth creation or before and that would be way earlier than humans.

Job 38:7 makes it sound like the angels were already in existence and rejoicing over God’s creative work on earth, so my thinking is that they predated the creation of earth.

 Apparently angels (who it seems are created in God’s image and are each individual creations of God [see below]) included those who were chosen for salvation and those who were not (1 Timothy 5:21).  Satan was not, and he chose to rebel against God (though Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 are said by some to refer to Satan’s fall, I think there is good reason not to see it as a direct reference to him).  The elect angels could not rebel, and we, as you noted, being sealed with the Spirit, cannot turn away from God either.  Heaven will only consist of those whose “spirits” have been “made perfect” (Hebrews 12:23).  Many other Scriptures make it clear that we cannot lose our salvation.

The new heaven and earth is the place where heaven ultimately will reside.  Revelation 21,22 describe the heavenly Jerusalem coming to earth as its resting place, and God dwelling in its midst.  So we’re safe in either place.

BIBLICAL DATA ON ANGELS

            Ps. 148:2,5; Col. 1:16; Job 38:7; Heb. 1:14; (Lk. 24:39; 8:30)

             A.  Angels are created

            B.  Angels were created before man, perhaps before earth

             C.  Angels are spirits and do not have bodies of any kind 

  • spirits do not have flesh and bones
  • spirits do not take up space
  • spirits can not be in more that one place at a time

  

            2 Sam. 14:20; Mt. 24:36; Eph. 3:10; 1 Pet. 1:12; 2 Pet. 2:11

             D.  Angels are intelligent but not all knowing

             Mt. 25:31; Mk. 8:38; Lk. 9:26; Ac. 10:22; Rev. 14:10

             E.  Angels are holy

             Lk. 20:35,36

             F.  Angels are immortal and non-reproductive (each is an individual creation of God)

            Ps. 103:20; Dan. 10;  Col. 1:16; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; Heb. 1:14

             G.  Angels are God’s servants and stand in various ranks before God

             Dt. 33:2; Ps. 68:17; Mk. 5:9,15; Mt. 26:53; Rev. 5:11

             H.  Angels are multitudinous

Dealing with Pride

Question:  How can I best deal with pride in my life?  What are some ways I can develop humility? 

Answer:  Try spending the next 30 minutes absolutely quiet and without distractions.  Ask God to show you your heart, then begin to catalog the thoughts and feelings that well up.  No matter how disgusting or trivial they may be, write them down (keep a paper shredder handy for afterwards).  Ask God what He wants you to learn about yourself through this and record that.  Read the following Scriptures:  John 15:5; Luke 11:13; Psalm 103:13; 1 Corinthians 8:1-3; Philippians 2:1-11.  Meditate on these and ask God to show you where you are proud and self-centered instead of humble.

Submitting to Parents When You Are an Adult

Question:  How long should I submit to my parents? 

Answer:  As long as you are dependent upon them and living under their roof and are not capable of assuming an adult role in life.  Once you are able to do that you should not be in submission to your parents’ authority but respect it.  This means that you will honor them and their opinions and views on things, but make your own decisions as the head of a new household.  Moses called this “leaving father and mother” (Genesis 2:24).

Even if you are not starting a new household (i.e., getting married), you need to learn to live on your own and face the multiple decisions that come your way.  It is best, of course, to face them in light of God’s will for your life and with His wisdom.