OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew




A.    There is a book on the market entitled:  The Book of Questions.

1.        Its author is Gregory Stock.

2.       The first printing was in March, 1987.

3.       The book sets forth 265 questions with absolutely no answers to the question.

4.       One of the reviews states:  “The Book of Questions may be the only publication that challenges and changes the way readers view the world, without offering a single opinion of its own.”


B.      The first three questions:

1.        For a person you loved deeply, would you be willing to move to a distant country knowing there would be little chance of seeing your friends or family again?

2.       Do you believe in ghosts and evil spirits?  Would you be willing to spend a night alone in a remote house that is supposedly haunted?

3.       If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone?  Why haven’t you told them yet?


C.     We are not reading from The Book of Questions tonight.  We are reading questions taken from our Q&A box in the foyer. 


D.    In our lesson tonight, we are going to answer three of your questions.


I.             QUESTION #1:  A man in the Garden of Gethsemane


A.    There is a strange verse found only in Mark’s gospel (Mark 14:51-52).  Please explain why this verse is in the text.


B.      Answer:

1.        Let’s first read the text (Mark 14:51-52).


And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:  and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.


This is an interesting text.  Why is it there?  Why is Mark the only one to record it?  What purpose does it serve?

2.       The background:

a.       The mob has come into the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus (Mark 14:43).

b.      “And they laid their hands on him, and took him” (Mark 14:46).

c.       One tried to defend him with a sword, but his efforts were stopped by Jesus (Mark 15:47).

d.      At this point, all of the disciples “forsook him and fled” (Mark 14:50).

3.       Mark tells us that there was another person in the garden as well.

a.       He is described as “a certain young man.”

1)       Since the Bible does not specifically reveal his name to us, we cannot be absolutely certain who this was.

2)      Commentators disagree about the identification:

a)      Barnes believes this was the keeper of the garden who was aroused by the mob.

b)     Some believe that this was John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark.  “This incident alone in Mark. It is usually supposed that Mark himself, son of Mary (Act_12:12) in whose house they probably had observed the passover meal, had followed Jesus and the apostles to the Garden. It is a lifelike touch quite in keeping with such a situation” (Robertson, e-sword).

-          This could have been the case because Mark was very close to the apostle Peter (See Acts 12:12-14; I Pet. 5:13).  

-          His interest in the Christ could have caused him to follow them into the Garden of Gethsemane.

b.      The purpose was two-fold:

1)       To set forth a fact that the other writers did not know.

2)      To help to establish evidence that Mark is the author of this book.

4.       Other questions:

a.       Why is he scantily attired? 

b.      How was he spotted and almost caught?

c.       Where did he go after he exited the garden?


II.           QUESTION #2:  Non-institutional vs Institutional


A.    Stated:  What is the difference between “institutional” and “non-institutional” churches of Christ?  Why do we call the “non-institutional” churches “anti”?


B.      Answer:

1.        The question plainly notes that there is a division in the body of Christ between “institutional” churches of Christ and “non-institutional” churches of Christ.  It is sad that the churches of Christ have been and are divided among themselves.

a.       Our divided state does not fulfill the Lord’s prayer in John 17:20-22 wherein Jesus desires for His followers to be one.

b.      Our divided state also hinders our evangelism.  How can we strive to teach our denominational friends not to be divided when we are divided among ourselves?

2.       Definitions:

a.       The institutions referred to in the question are three in number, but presently only two exist:  the missionary society, children’s homes, and Christian colleges.  The missionary society has gone by the wayside.

b.      The “non-institutional” churches of Christ are often called “anti’s” because they are

against the church supporting those institutions out of the church treasury.

c.       The OceanSide congregation would be referred to as “institutional” because we support two children’s homes from the treasury of this church.  In this answer, we will deal only with the support of children’s home therefore.

3.       The objection to children’s homes:

a.       A children’s home is an institution that was formed by man.

b.      The institutions are run by a board of directors and an executive director over the home.

c.       There is no Biblical authority for a church to support this type of man-made organization.

4.       Three major points:

a.       The home is a divinely authorized institution (Gen. 1:27-28a).


So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…


b.      Homes can take many different forms.

1)       There are homes with a mother, father and children (Gen. 4:1-2).

2)      There are homes wherein a family member is taken into the household due to the death of a family member.  Lot’s being part of Abraham’s household is an example of this (Gen. 12:4-5).

3)      Moses grew up in two homes (Exo. 2:6-10).

a)      His real parents were Amram and Jocebed.

b)     His “step-mother” was the daughter of Pharaoh.

4)      The home of some close friends to Jesus was unique in that two sisters and a brother lived together, Martha, Mary and Lazarus (John 11:1-2).

5)      There are homes wherein there is just one person living in them:  a single person, a divorcee, or a widow.

6)      NOTE:  A children’s home is just another form of a home, and the home is divinely authorized by God.

c.       Complying with the laws of the land does mean that a home is not a home.

1)       The Bible exhorts Christians to obey the laws of the land as long as those laws do not violate God’s law (I Pet. 2:13-14).


Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake:  whether it be to the king as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well.


2)      In order for a children’s home to exist, it must comply with laws given by the States.

a)      It must be a 501-C3, a non-profit institution.

b)     A board of directors

c)      By-laws

d)     An executive director

e)      Regulations about how the homes are built

f)       Compliance with safety regulations

g)      NOTE:  NONE of these things changes the fact that this is a home, a divinely authorized institution.  It just a different form of a home.

3)      If the children’s home has six or eight houses, each one of those houses has Christian parents and the home is run almost like other homes, except for the discipline that is established in the home.

d.      If the church can support a traditional Christian home from the church treasury, then it can support a children’s home from the church treasury.

5.       A MAJOR QUESTION:  If children’s homes cannot be supported by the church, how are we going to help the hundreds of children who are presently helped by the children’s homes?  There are only two alternatives:

a.       Each Christian home needs to strive to assist these children by bringing them into the home.  NOTE:  Very few Christians will do this.

b.      A church can purchase a house, find parents who will live in the home to take care of needy children.  The church would have to finance the house, the parents, and all of the supplies through the church treasury.  NOTE:  The financial obligation is so great that few churches could do it.


III.         QUESTION #3:  Voting for Political Candidates


A.    Stated:  Is it a sin for a Christian to vote for a person who publically supports abortion and same sex marriage?


B.      Answer:

1.        We need to understand that this is an issue for us because we live in a constitutional republic.

a.       We are granted the right to elect officials who are to represent us in the government.

b.      In other nations this is not a right of the people:  monarchies, dictatorships, and oligarchies.  Individuals become rulers without the consent of the people. 

2.       Let’s look at some Biblical principles.

a.       First, abortion and same sex marriage are sinful practices.

1)       Abortion is the murder of innocent life that is growing in the womb of a mother (Exo. 20:13).


Thou shalt not kill.  (NOTE:  Kill involves murder).


2)      Same sex marriage opposes God’s design for marriage (Gen. 2:18, 21-24).

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him…And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept:  and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof:  and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, make he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:  she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:  and they shall be one flesh.


NOTE:  Jesus affirmed and supported the truthfulness of this teaching during his earthly ministry (Matt. 19:4-6).

b.      Nations, meaning the leaders and citizens of those nations, are supposed to support God and righteousness.

1)       All nations are accountable to God (Ps. 22:28).


For the kingdom is the Lord’s:  and he is the governor among the nations.


2)      Proverbs 13:34


Righteousness exalteth a nation:  but sin is a reproach to any people.


3)      Psalm 9:17


The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.


4)      II Timothy 3:13


But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.


c.       Christians are not to support ungodliness and sin in any way.

1)       Ephesians 5:11


And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.


2)      I Thessalonians 5:20-22


Despise not prophesyings.  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.


3)      James 4:4


Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.


4)      I John 2:15


Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.


3.       We should look at every party, every party platform, every candidate, every candidate’s positions through the lens of God’s Word.

a.       Our lens should not be economics or culture.

b.      Having looked through the lens of God’s Word, let us cast our vote remembering II Corinthians 5:10.


For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.





A.    This lesson has certainly contained the variety you have come to expect in our Q&A Lessons.

1.        An unknown man in the Garden of Gethsemane

2.       Institutional vs non-institutional churches

3.       Voting for political candidates


B.      We close by reminding each of us of the last verse we considered:  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…” (II Cor. 5:10).

1.        None of us can come to the Judgment righteous based on our personal sinlessness.

2.       We can only be found righteous in the Judgment by having been cleansed with the precious blood of Christ.

a.       He washes us from our sins in His own blood (Rev. 1:5)

b.      We are cleansed by the washing of water by the word (Eph. 5:26).

c.       We are washed from our sins by arising, and being baptized, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16).

3.       If we will continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, Jesus will present us holy, and unblameable, and unreproveable in His sight on the Last Day (Col. 1:22-23).