Ask The Pastor

Questions and answers from the Pastors.

How Do I Know Whether I Have The Holy Spirit?

February 1st, 2019 by

The Bible teaches that Jesus was the true temple of God, and that through his blood he washes us and makes us fit to be temples too, and through the breaking of his body he imparts to us the Spirit that was in him. But how do we know this is true in our case Keep reading…

What Constitutes Marriage? Can A Couple Be Married Without A Marriage License?

January 1st, 2019 by

At its heart, marriage is a sacred institution established by God. Genesis 2 describes the creation of the first man and woman, culminating in the first marriage (Gen. 2:24-25). It is significant that, when creating the woman, God chose not to form her from the dust of the ground, as he had when creating Adam Keep reading…

Why Is Belief In The Virgin Birth Of Jesus Important?

December 1st, 2018 by

The vast majority of the information Scripture provides us about Mary is in connection with the birth of Jesus. Besides the Christ child himself, Mary is the central figure in the nativity story. It was to Mary that the angel Gabriel appeared, announcing that, though she was a virgin, she would give birth to a Keep reading…

What Does 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Mean When It Says To “Pray Without Ceasing?”

November 1st, 2018 by

One must take into consideration the timing of these particular writings to the Thessalonians. First Thessalonians is understood by many to be the earliest of the Pauline Epistles. One unique aspect of Paul’s relationship with the Thessalonians was how successful his ministry was in establishing this “infant” church in the time frame of three Sabbaths, Keep reading…

Why Do Some People Say They Have “Fallen In Love With Jesus?”

October 1st, 2018 by

Why do some people say they have “fallen in love with Jesus?” To me, falling in love refers to romantic love. We don’t have that kind of love for Jesus, do we? “Love is love” is an expression that has become popular in our culture. Most of us realize, however, that this isn’t really true. Keep reading…

Will We Know Each Other In Heaven?

July 7th, 2018 by

God created each of us with an individual identity and, as individuals, we are not only valuable to God, but he knows us intimately. In Psalm 139, as just one example, David marveled at the intimacy of God’s knowledge of him as an individual. Scripture also teaches that God created us to live in community Keep reading…

What Is Apostasy?

June 7th, 2018 by

Apostasy is to turn away from, or forsake Christ. In Matthew 24:10-12, Jesus warned that many who initially followed him would ultimately fall away from their faith. The Apostle Paul gave a similar warning, saying that there would be a “falling away” or “rebellion” (Gk. apostasia) from among God’s people before the end of the Keep reading…

Why Does God Seem Different In The Old Testament As Compared To The New Testament?

May 7th, 2018 by

Since the early church, many believers have perceived a difference between the god of the Old Testament (OT) and the god of the New Testament (NT). In the OT, YHWH often comes across as a force to be reckoned with, passing rigorous laws and exacting the most severe punishments. In the NT, Jesus seems more Keep reading…

What Is The Hope Of A Believer?

April 7th, 2018 by

According to 1 Cor. 13:13, hope is a companion with love and faith. It reads, “So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” It is not surprising that hope should often be mentioned as a companion of faith. The heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 are also Keep reading…

Please Explain The Words Of Jesus On The Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” What Does This Mean? Did God Actually Forsake Jesus On The Cross?

March 7th, 2018 by

These words of Jesus on the cross are perhaps the most heart wrenching words our Lord spoke in the hours of his execution. We know that throughout his life and ministry Jesus was in constant fellowship and communion with His Father. Yet here our Lord seems to be saying that God the Father has turned Keep reading…

Why Are There Two Different Creation Accounts In Genesis?

February 7th, 2018 by

There are many different perspectives regarding how we should understand the relationship between Genesis 1 and 2. Often the discussion centers around questions about apparent contradictions between them, the historical accuracy of the text, or whether they were written by a single author or two or more authors. These questions, in turn, are part of Keep reading…

How Can I Know God’s Will?

January 7th, 2018 by

When I was child listening to Christians talk about God’s will, I got the impression that it was a set map for our lives which must be discovered and followed or negative consequences would follow. The way to know God’s will was to see the signs. A verse during devotions or a coincidence that could Keep reading…

Why Do We Refer To Christmas Time As The Advent Season?

December 1st, 2016 by

In the first centuries of the Christian tradition, the church developed a calendar of special holy days and seasons to be observed throughout the year. This is called the “Liturgical Calendar.” Advent is the first season of the Christian year. The name comes from the Latin word, adventus, which means “coming.” It is the season Keep reading…

Why Did Some People’s Names Change In The Bible?

November 1st, 2016 by

In the ancient world, names were ideally regarded as reflecting the identity of a person. The Bible is full of such examples. When Hannah’s prayer to YHWH for a child was heard, she named her son Samuel (“God Hears”). A name change therefore indicates a change in the identity of a person. The Bible also Keep reading…

What Does It Mean To Dress Modestly?

October 1st, 2016 by

First of all, on the back page of our weekly bulletin there is a statement pertaining to this subject. It reads, “Troy Christian Chapel does not have a dress code per se, but we do encourage our worshipers to dress with modesty and good taste. Christian worship is sacred time in sacred space, and it Keep reading…

If The Only Way To Heaven Is Through Jesus, How Were The People Before Him Saved?

September 1st, 2016 by

On the night of his betrayal and arrest, Jesus made a bold statement about himself: “I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). With these words, Jesus taught his disciples the truth that lies at the heart of the Christian faith. Jesus, Keep reading…

What Are The Essentials Of Christianity?

August 1st, 2016 by

Christianity is first and foremost about the salvation that Christ has provided for us through his death on the cross and his resurrection. Many people, however, emphasize the work of Christ as a way of getting to heaven, or having eternal life. While we do receive these things as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, getting Keep reading…

When Should My Child Be Baptized?

July 1st, 2016 by

Probably one of the most used explanations would be, first of all, when they come to an accountable age—when they can understand their need for baptism. Baptism is one of the two ordinances of our church by-laws, the Eucharist being the other. To believe that either is not important would be misrepresenting Scripture. A child Keep reading…

How Do I Influence My Husband/Wife For Christ?

June 1st, 2016 by

Throughout my fifty years of ministry I have been asked this question by the believing spouse in a marriage. Other times I wish they had asked for counsel. First of all, to avoid these situations, as pastors we advise believers not to marry unbelievers. In 2 Cor. 6:14, the Apostle Paul admonishes us to, “Do Keep reading…

Does The Bible Say We Have To Pray To Be Saved (As In The Sinner’s Prayer) Or Just Believe?

May 1st, 2016 by

The sinner’s prayer can indeed and often has been sincerely used to express the faith and repentance of the covert. However, the sinner’s prayer is not some mystical spiritual formula which secures salvation upon utterance. Our Lord knows the heart of all, and no mind is hidden from him (Heb 4:13). The Lord is not Keep reading…

Should We Expect Miracles Today?

April 1st, 2016 by

Before I answer this question let me share a real experience our family witnessed. In 1977, my father-in-law, Wilfred Downey was 86 years old and in the hospital with heart failure. As we were visiting him that evening, and we were about to leave, the doctor and nurse told us to say our good-byes to Keep reading…

How Can I Be Filled With The Holy Spirit?

March 1st, 2016 by

The Bible tell us that faith in Jesus Christ is enough to receive the gift of his forgiveness and the gift of his Holy Spirit. So the first thing to understand is that all believers are in possession of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, it does not follow that all believers manifest its presence in their Keep reading…

Who Are The 144,000 Saved In The Book Of Revelation?

February 12th, 2016 by

Who are the 144,000 in the Book of Revelation? Are there a predetermined number of people who will be saved? Most of the confusion behind this question comes from the Jehovah Witnesses. They teach that the 144,000 are an elect group of believers who will be chosen by God to go to heaven and rule Keep reading…

Did Paul Have A Choice About Being A Christian?

January 5th, 2016 by

Did Paul have a choice about being a Christian? Questions about free will are nowhere explicitly dealt with in the Scriptures. The views that theologians have about them must therefore be held tentatively since they have to be dealt with by way of implication. In order to address this one, I am going to back Keep reading…

What Does The Name Immanuel Mean?

December 5th, 2015 by

What does the name Immanuel mean? One of the names we often associate with Jesus at Christmas time is the name “Immanuel.” We associate it with Christmas because it is the name Matthew emphasizes in his narrative of Jesus’ birth. He tells us that the birth of Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of a prophecy Keep reading…

What Is Intercessory Prayer?

November 5th, 2015 by

What is Intercessory Prayer? Intercessory prayer is prayer for others. An intercessor is one who takes the place of another or pleads another’s case. In intercessory prayer we act as a mediator, standing between God and those we pray for, and appealing to God to intervene on their behalf. Intercession is to be part of Keep reading…

Can A Christian Be Saved Without Going To Church?

October 5th, 2015 by

Can a Christian be saved without going to church? This is somewhat of a loaded question. First of all, going to church doesn’t save anyone. The Bible encourages in many ways the importance of coming together, whether it be in a church, synagogue, in one another’s homes, down by the riverside or anyplace where two Keep reading…

How Can I Overcome Sin?

September 5th, 2015 by

How can I overcome sin in my Christian life? The Apostle Paul explains in Romans chapter 6 that those who have trusted in Christ have been set free from the power of sin (v. 7, 22). There are two ways in which we should understand this bold statement. First, by offering himself as the sacrifice Keep reading…

What Does It Mean To Worship The Lord In Spirit And In Truth?

August 5th, 2015 by

What does it mean to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth? The phrase “in the Spirit and in truth” is taken from John 4:24. It is part of the larger story of Jesus’ famous talk with the woman at the well, and our understanding of it needs to be situated in that context. Keep reading…

Must A Christian Be Obedient To Government?

June 5th, 2015 by

Must a Christian be obedient to the government under which he lives?  This is an important question, particularly in these times, when the government under which we live is becoming increasingly critical of foundational Christian values and commitments. It is entirely possible that the day will soon come when what we believe and practice as Keep reading…

Did Jesus Have To Experience Temptation?

May 5th, 2015 by

Did Jesus have to experience temptation to know what we go through? Doesn’t he just know? God is omniscient, which literally means that he is “all-knowing.” However, when the Bible uses the verb “to know,” it often is not referring to our knowledge about things, but to our experience of them. Thus, to say that God Keep reading…

Does God Control Our Hearts?

April 5th, 2015 by

Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? Does God control all of our hearts so he really decides whether we believe in him or obey him? The events preceding the exodus were an intense contest between Yahweh and the gods of Egypt. Not only were the mighty acts of Yahweh convincing signs to the Hebrews that they were Keep reading…

What Was The Bethlehem Star?

December 1st, 2014 by

Astronomers have made careful studies of the celestial decade of 14-4 BC, and three candidates have been proposed as possible stellar phenomena that might fit into Matthew’s description. Johannes Kepler of the 17th century argued that the star was possibly a nova or supernova, a stellar explosion giving out a tremendous amount of light for Keep reading…

What Are Some Signs Of Genuine, Saving Faith?

November 1st, 2014 by

Indeed this is one of the most important questions in the Christian life! When answering that question we must first ask and answer the following. How do we truly examine our own faith? Paul the apostle urges us to do so! 2 Corinthians 13:5 says: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; Keep reading…

Will We Go To Heaven If We Die With Sin left Un-Repented?

October 1st, 2014 by

A lot of times, we think that we are sinners because we do sinful things: for example, because we lie, cheat, steal. But really it is the reverse: we do sinful things because we are sinners. Sinfulness is a condition that we are in, and the condition is there regardless of whether it expresses itself Keep reading…

Why Did God Create Us?

September 1st, 2014 by

The fact that God created the universe, and human beings in particular, is one of the greatest evidences of his goodness and generosity. Perhaps the best short answer we could give to this question is that God chose to create humanity out of the overflowing abundance of his love. The first thing to notice from Keep reading…

What Happens When A Christian Dies? Does He Immediately Go To Heaven?

August 1st, 2014 by

New Testament passages that allude to the state of the righteous between death and resurrection come largely from Paul. In the context of anticipating the possibility of his own death (Phil. 1:20-22), the apostle indicated that after death he would be “with Christ” (Phil. 1:23), a state that was the obverse of remaining “in the Keep reading…

Is It Acceptable To “Lay Out A Fleece” Before God?

July 1st, 2014 by

In the book of Judges, the Bible tells of a man named Gideon who was chosen by God to deliver the Israelites from the hand of the Midianites. On the eve of one of the battles, Gideon sought divine reassurance about whether or not he would be successful, and he prayed the following prayer: “YHWH, Keep reading…

What Does The Bible Teach About Dating?

June 1st, 2014 by

The short answer is that the Bible teaches nothing about dating, at least directly. Dating as a cultural practice of modern Westerners was unknown in the ancient Near East and still is not practiced in much of the Two-Thirds World. It emerges out of the western concept of individual freedom. Whereas in the ancient world, Keep reading…

Why Does God Want, Or Need To Be Worshipped?

May 1st, 2014 by

Scripture makes clear that God commands our worship. The first two commandments call us to the worship of God at the exclusion of all other things that might lay claim to our hearts (Ex. 20:1-6), but why? Is there something missing in him so that he somehow needs our worship? Is he an ego-maniac who Keep reading…

What Does It Mean To Be Anointed?

April 1st, 2014 by

In the Old Testament, the word anointing can be traced to a special oil whose manufacture is prescribed in Exodus 30:22-33. The purpose of this oil was to set apart certain things as holy (e.g., the Tabernacle) or certain people as holy (e.g., the priests). But anointing wasn’t the only way to render something holy. Keep reading…

What Did Jesus Mean When He Said, “This Generation Will Not Pass” In Matthew 24:34?

March 1st, 2014 by

The various portents preceding the climax of the end of the age, Jesus said, were like spring leaves heralding the coming of summer. Early leaves indicate that summer is near, and similarly, all the various portents Jesus described are preliminary indications of the nearness of his coming. Dispensationalists have often attempted to be even more Keep reading…

In the Apostles’ Creed It Says That Christ Descended Into Hell After His Death. What Does This Mean?

February 1st, 2014 by

There is a certain discomfort for the modern mind by this phrase, and it is perhaps sharpened by the fact that the phrase does not appear in either the old Roman Creed, which preceded the final form of the Apostles’ Creed, or in the Nicene Creed which came later. It is generally agreed that this Keep reading…

In The Lord’s Prayer As It Is Commonly Recited In Protestant Churches, The Ending Phrase “For Thine Is The Kingdom And The Power And The Glory, Forever And Ever” Is Not In The Prayer As Delivered By Christ. What Is The History Of That Ending?

January 1st, 2014 by

Here, indeed, is a true observation. In the two versions of the prayer that Christ taught his disciples to pray (Mt. 6:9-13; Lk. 11:2-4), neither of them have this ending in the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. To be sure, this ending does appear in some Greek manuscripts of Matthew and Luke from Keep reading…

Why Does The Bible Say That When Joseph Discovered That Mary Was Pregnant He Considered Divorcing Her. Weren’t They Only Engaged At The Time? (Matthew 1:19)

December 1st, 2013 by

Mary, as the Gospel of Matthew indicates, was pledged to be married to a man named Joseph. Some knowledge of Jewish marriage customs is necessary to fully appreciate the circumstance. Jewish marriage at this time consisted of two distinct parts, the betrothal and the home-taking (Dt. 20:7). The word betrothal translates the Hebrew verb ‘aras, Keep reading…

What Does God Mean When He Says That He Is “A Jealous God, Punishing The Children For The Sin Of The Parents To The Third And Fourth Generation Of Those Who Hate Me, But Showing Love To A Thousand Generations Of Those Who Love Me And Keep My Commandments”? (Exodus 20:5-6)

October 1st, 2013 by

For many people, the idea of jealousy is often classed as a kind of petty emotion, and therefore many newer translations of the Scripture have sought to translate this passage somewhat differently. I believe the traditional translation is good, however, because it calls to mind a frequent metaphor in the Bible: namely, that Israel is Keep reading…

What Does The Bible Teach About Tithing In Our Day?

September 1st, 2013 by

The New Testament ethic of giving is perhaps best summed up in a statement by St. Paul, who said, “Each person should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Co. 9:7). The freedom for Christians to financially support God’s mission Keep reading…

Why Was It Wrong For The Spies In Numbers 13 To Give A Bad Report? Weren’t They Told To Go Check It Out? Weren’t They Just Being Truthful?

August 1st, 2013 by

There are two accounts of the spies sent into the Land of Canaan, one in Numbers 13 and the other in Deuteronomy 1:19ff. It is important to read both accounts if one is to have a complete picture of what happened, because the two accounts are complementary. Numbers 13 begins with Yahweh telling Moses to Keep reading…

What Is Holiness?

July 1st, 2013 by

Holiness is often listed among the attributes of God, but it might be more accurate to say, as one scholar, V. M. Sinton, has put it, “Holiness is the shining brilliance of all God’s attributes blended together into a whole.” We human beings cannot possibly comprehend the full scope of God’s holiness. In fact, on Keep reading…

Why Would God Write The Bible In Such A Way As There Are So Many Interpretations? Is There One Right Interpretation?

May 1st, 2013 by

Probably the first thing that should be said is that all writings, religious or secular, ancient or modern, require interpretation. As soon as there is a reader, the process of interpretation begins. Words have meaning. Grammar has meaning. Interpretation is the skill and art of understanding how language is used, how thought forms are communicated Keep reading…

What Is Blasphemy Against The Spirit?

March 1st, 2013 by

In the synoptic gospels, just after he had been accused of exorcising demons through the power of Beelzebub, Jesus warned against the sin against the Spirit, what he called an “eternal sin” (Mt. 12:31-32; Mk. 3:28-30; Lk. 12:10). All sins were forgivable except one—the sin against the Holy Spirit (12:30-32). Clearly, these passages say that Keep reading…

Can Satan Read Your Mind? Can He Inject Thoughts Into Your Mind?

March 1st, 2013 by

To over estimate Satan’s power is just as debilitating as to underestimate his power. In the first place, the Scripture is quite clear that Satan is not omniscient. God was able to conceal from the devil his eternal purposes in Christ Jesus until after the fact of the resurrection (Ep. 3:9-11; cf. 1 Co. 2:6-8). Keep reading…

Should Christians Be Tolerant Of Other People’s Religious Beliefs?

February 1st, 2013 by

In this age of “Tolerance” this question is becoming more and more common in the church. The common place of this question is not a production of the church itself but rather the culture having its influence on the church. Let me try to explain what I mean. The issue before us as we talk Keep reading…

How Can I Be Sure I Am Praying According To The Will Of God?

January 1st, 2013 by

Many Christians see God’s will as a set map for their lives which must be discovered and followed or negative consequences will follow. In actuality, God’s will is very clear in scripture. Romans 8:29 says God has predestined everyone he has called into relationship with himself to be conformed to the likeness of his son. Keep reading…