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May 2017 Q&A

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Q: How should a Christian handle bullying when people lash out at them on the internet and slander them?

The Internet seems to make cowardly people more prone to say things they wouldn't say to a person's face. The twist in it is, on the Internet it's also often preserved for the viewing and commentary of others. How does the Christian deal with people who slander and bully them?
Proverbs 26:4 ESV
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.
Proverbs 26:4 ESV
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.
- consider your answer - maybe don't answer.
-Consider your answer - maybe don't answer.
Consider your answer - maybe don't answer.
1 Peter 3:9 ESV
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
- "railing" or "reviling" (other translations) - this is slander. Don't respond in a like manner. Don't do anything that appears to slander them in front of everyone else. Take the high road.
"Railing" or "reviling" (other translations) - this is slander. Don't respond in a like manner. Don't do anything that appears to slander them in front of everyone else. Take the high road.
1 Peter 3:11 ESV
let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
Pursue peace if possible (even .). If they are truly penitent, they will appreciate you coming to them in private, not publicly.
Matthew 8:15ff ESV
He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
If they are truly penitent, they will appreciate you coming to them in private, not publicly. - give "place" - distance yourself from that person. Drop them, or the service.Just be sure to respond in a Christ-like way.
Romans 12:19 ESV
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Give "place" - distance yourself from that person. Drop them, or the service. Just be sure to respond in a Christ-like way.

Q: What kind of heresies were there in the early church?

Several - many of which even appear in forms today.
What is heresy?
HERESY A deliberate departure from Christian orthodoxy,* together with the acceptance of error (2 Pet. 2:1). The basic meaning of the Greek word hairesis is “choice,” giving the meaning of heresy as a self-willed opinion in opposition to biblical truth. Such opinions frequently give rise to sects or parties (Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5, 14; 26:5; 28:22; 1 Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20). A heretic, therefore, is a sectarian. Thus he is to be cut off from church fellowship (Titus 3:10) Cairns, Alan. Dictionary of Theological Terms 2002 : 207. Print.Heresy - "hairesis" - faction, choice, option, sect - teachings that bring division

HERESY

A deliberate departure from Christian orthodoxy,* together with the acceptance of error (2 Pet. 2:1). The basic meaning of the Greek word hairesis is “choice,” giving the meaning of heresy as a self-willed opinion in opposition to biblical truth. Such opinions frequently give rise to sects or parties (Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5, 14; 26:5; 28:22; 1 Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20). A heretic, therefore, is a sectarian. Thus he is to be cut off from church fellowship (Titus 3:10).

Gnosticism - ,

Basic idea is that Jesus never came in the flesh (because they believed all flesh to be inherently evil).
John 1:1–2 ESV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
1 John 4:1–4 ESV
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Some taught the resurrection never happened -

1 Corinthians 15:12 ESV
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

Judaizing teachers -

Galatians 2 ESV
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

"Colossian Heresy" - Judaism, asceticism, and Gnosticism -

Colossians 2 ESV
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Col. 2Paul warned of coming heresy - -3Ultimately the acceptance of heresy is what has brought us to the religious divisions that we had today - consider what the church would be like if everyone had obeyed ...

Paul warned of coming heresy -

1 Timothy 4:1–3 ESV
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Ultimately the acceptance of heresy is what has brought us to the religious divisions that we had today - consider what the church would be like if everyone had obeyed ...
1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

Q: If someone asks me where does God come from what would I say, and where would I go in the Bible to explain?

It's easy to overthink the answer to this question... and at first, to some people, it may seem unanswerable.
Those who ask often want to make it seem as though Christians are creating some sort of error of logic. "Oh, I'm going to stump that poor Christian! He hasn't thought about this one!"
Their intent is to cause someone to stumble through words, and create a sort of "nesting dolls" problem (you know, those little doll figurines that come in a set which all fit inside of each other). If God created us, who created God? And who created who created God... and so on... and on...
In other words, the question is nonsense. It's a bad question. It can't really be answered. It's based on faulty assumptions.

Q: When someone dies, will they know relatives and friends in Heaven?

The reality is that the question, "Where did God come from?" is really only showing the ignorance of the asker. And if this person is a militant skeptic, it's showing their shallowness and lack of true intellectual thought on the subject.
So instead of an answer, I'll give you a response: No one created God. He is an eternal being. He has always existed. He has no cause.
To be eternal means to last or exist forever, without beginning or end.
The Bible speaks of God being eternal:
The Eternal God, ()
Deuteronomy 33:27 ESV
The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’
Isaiah 57:15 ESV
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Pre-existed everything, , ,
Psalm 90:2 ESV
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
John 17:5 ESV
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
John 17:24 ESV
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Will exist after time,
Psalm 90:2 ESV
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Deuteronomy 33:27 ESV
The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’
John 17:5 ESV
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
John 17:24 ESV
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Isaiah 57:15 ESV
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Deuteronomy 33:27 ESV
The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’
Psalm 90:2 ESV
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Hebrews 1:11–12 ESV
they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”
John 17:5 ESV
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Isaiah 57:15 ESV
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
John 17:24 ESV
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Hebrews 1:11–12 ESV
they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”
The law of cause and effect is a product of nature. God is supernatural, which means he exists outside nature and time—which ultimately means he needs no cause.
Consider that for the universe to exist (since it is an effect), it needed a cause greater than itself—it needed God to be uncaused... so saying God had no cause is actually... logical!

Q: How do we know if we are led by the Spirit?

It is possible to know - not some "better felt than told, God laid it on my heart" thing.
- "led by the Spirit are the sons of God" - , ,
Romans 8:14 ESV
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Galatians 5:16 ESV
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:18 ESV
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Galatians 5:25 ESV
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
, , 25Jn. 16:12-15 - Spirit sent as a guide (who we will want to follow) to truth. - Truth is synonymous with God's Word (the Bible).The Bible is "Spirit inspired" - ; -6We know we are led by the spirit when we allow the spirit to guide us through what HE inspired and delivered - the Bible!
- Spirit sent as a guide (who we will want to follow) to truth.
John 16:12–15 ESV
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
- Truth is synonymous with God's Word (the Bible).
John 17:17 ESV
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
The Bible is "Spirit inspired" - ;
2 Peter 1:20–21 ESV
knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 3:3–6 ESV
how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
We know we are led by the spirit when we allow the spirit to guide us through what HE inspired and delivered - the Bible!

Q: When someone dies, will they know relatives and friends in Heaven?

YES! This question is really asking if personality is retained in the hereafter.
There are lots of passages where the belief that people will be recognizeable is expressed. But let's just look at a few from the New Testament which demonstrate it:
Sitting down in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—if they can't be identified, there is no valid promise here at all!
Matthew 8:11 ESV
I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,
The Transfiguration—Not only were Moses and Elijah recognizeable, but they were recognized by Peter, who was still alive!
Matthew 17:3–4 ESV
And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Rich Man and Lazarus—The rich man, Lazarus, and Abraham all retained their identities; The rich man also remembered his relations who were still alive!
Luke 16:19–31 ESV
19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”
But won't I be unhappy if someone I love isn't in heaven with me? This is the most common objection. But I hope that you see using this argument as a means of saying we won't recognize people in Heaven isn't an argument from scripture, but from emotion.
The facts are:
God loves everyone more than you—even the people you think you love the most! Yet he is said to be happy, even being the one who will sentence them to Hell (; )
1 Timothy 1:11 ESV
in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
1 Timothy 6:15 ESV
which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
God will wipe away every tear (; )
Revelation 7:17 ESV
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 21:4 ESV
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
How can this be? I don't know. I just know that when we are in God's presence for eternity, maybe the things we think matter here simply won't. We will see truth, holiness, and righteousness in God. We will then understand things in a way we simply can't now, with our earthbound ways of thinking and reasoning.
I'd suggest, then, that instead of focusing on the eternal separations that may take place, think about and live for the reunions!
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