Know Your Bible
April 2002

False Standards

Sometimes we think it is a little funny that Australians drive on the left side of the road, while we drive on the right. But imagine this: an Australian moves to America, becomes a police officer, and gives you a ticket for driving on the right side of the road because that is what he is accustomed to. That would be crazy wouldn't it? Aren't you glad Americans are not judged by Australian law?

Now let's make a parallel with this to spiritual matters. It is crazier when one thinks God will judge him by man-made standards. The Bible is the only standard of right and wrong, and it is the same for everyone, American or Australian.

I often hear people trying to establish right and wrong based on the wrong standard. Here are some examples:
Our Parents (Mt. 10:21, 34-37). As much as we should love and respect our parents, we cannot establish right and wrong on the basis of our parents alone.
Our Conscience(Ac. 23:1; 26:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:12-13). Even though our conscience can be useful, we may still be wrong even though our conscience doesn't bother us. Paul had followed his conscience even when he was a persecutor of the Lord.
Emotions & Feelings(Pr. 14:12; 28:26; Jer. 10:23). Just because something "feels" right to you, that doesn't necessarily make it right. Sin can even "feel" right.
The Majority (Mt. 7:13-14). Don't ever think that something is right simply because most believe it. The majority are headed to destruction.
Preachers & Religious Leaders (2 Cor. 11:13-15; 2 Pet. 2:1-3). Your preacher may be a great guy, but that doesn't mean he is right.
Tradition (Mt. 15:1-9; Col. 2:8). Truth is not established by how long something has been around. Sin has been around a long time too.
The Good End (Rom. 3:8). The end doesn't always justify the means. Something is not right just because we may think it is causing "good".

Well you might ask, what is the "RIGHT" way to tell right from wrong? GOD'S WORD, and HIS WORD ALONE (Jn. 12:48).

---Andrew Mitchell
andrewm@wnclink.com

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The Creed That Needs No Revision

If you were to ask a Christian for a copy of the "creed" or "book of rules" of the church of Christ, he could only offer you a copy of the New Testament. The only written creed the church that Christ built has ever had is the New Testament. It was given by the inspiration of God, and is sufficient to furnish the man of God unto all good works, (2 Tim. 3:16,17). It meets the needs of the whole world, (Mk.16:15).

This is the only message we are authorized to use in the conversion of sinners, (Mk. 16:15,16; Matt. 28:19,20). Jesus taught that the word of God is enduring and that by it we shall be judged, (Lk. 21:33; Jn. 12:48). The authority of Christ, as expressed in the New Testament, is the only safe guide for the church. It is sinful for the church to submit to any other authority. The gospel is God's power to save, (Rom.1:16). James says it is able to save, (Jas.1:21). Paul writes that it did save the Corinthians, (1 Cor. 15:1,2). The curse of God rests upon the man who preaches another gospel or dares to add to or take from it, (Gal. 1:8; Rev. 22:18,19).

In spite of plain Bible teaching, we find good, religious people subscribing to human creeds. Even those who subscribe to man-made creeds will not claim for them any saving power. They are but the products of human opinion and stand as barriers to the unity of religious people. Man-made creeds are based upon two wicked assumptions: 1. The New Testament is not sufficient to meet the needs and govern the people of God. 2. This supposed insufficiency can be remedied by weak, fallible, erring man. Without such assumptions there is no excuse for the making of any human creed.

Human creeds are objectionable for a number of reasons: 1. They are not inspired of God. 2. The do not meet the needs of the whole world. 3. They are not perfect. 4. They must be revised every few years. 5. We shall not be judged by them. 6. They set aside and make void the word of God. 7. They teach many things contrary to the New Testament. 8. They keep people divided on the question of religion.

They should, therefore, be laid aside forever, or better still burned and forgotten. As long as a single one of them is in force anywhere, division will exist. They are subversive of divine authority and of the peace, unity, and fellowship that should characterize those who desire to please God and go to heaven when they die.

As simple Christians we take the authority of Christ, as expressed in the New Testament as our only rule of faith and practice. It is the one creed that needs no revision. We invite all of you to meet with us on the New Testament in order that we may be united in work and worship.

---Rufus R. Clifford

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The Enslaving Power Of Sin

Man today often pictures sin as a pleasant delight. Sin, according to many, is not something to be "avoided" but is something to be "pursued." The moral teaching of God's Word is often looked upon as "old-fashioned," and those who try to follow the high standard of the Bible and stand upon their convictions, are viewed as "judgmental" and "narrow minded."

In contrast, the Bible teaches that sin separates a person from God (Isa. 59:1-2), and it will cause one to be lost eternally (Rom.6:23, Ezek 18:20, Mt. 25:46). The seriousness of sin needs to be understood, and sin should not be looked upon in a frivolous way. Proverbs 14:9 tells us that it is the fool who "makes a mock at sin."

Sin also has "enslaving" power. In John 8:34, Jesus said, "...Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." In Romans 6:16 Paul said, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" The Greek word translated "servant" (KJV) is the same in both verses. It means "slave," and is thus rendered by many translations. It is easy to become a slave to sin!

Consider some ways in which the enslaving power of sin can be seen. The alcoholic, for example, craves alcohol as a thirsty man craves water. The enslaving power of alcohol can cause a person to lose his job, his family, and his reputation. Drug addiction, like the use of alcohol, violates many Biblical principles. The enslaving nature of commonly used "recreational" drugs is seen as people will frequently turn to crime, even stealing from their own families, to support their "habit."Cigarette smoking, although generally legal, is another enslaving sin. Others are addicted to gambling which frequently has very devastating earthly consequences. Still others are addicted to a "worldly" lifestyle in spite of the teaching in such passages as 1 John 2:15 which says, "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." Christians are to practice "self control" (2 Pet. 1:6), and Paul said that he would not be mastered by anything (1 Cor 6:12- NASB).

The story has been told about a blacksmith who was imprisoned. In the dark dungeon, a brief ray of light flickered in. The man glanced down at the chains on his feet and hands and saw his own initials on the links of chain. Years before, he had forged the links not realizing that one day he would be bound by them. Like many people today, the man became a victim of his own devices. Are we victims of our own devices? "Sin" is a terrible MASTER who pays a wage of spiritual death (Rom. 6:23). Do we allow sin to enslave us? We must not allow it to do so!

---Mike Johnson

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The Church Of Christ
  HAS:
 One Builder - Christ (Mt.16:18)
 One Purchaser - Christ (Acts 20:28)
 One Head - Christ (Eph. 1:22-23)
 One Savior - Christ (Eph. 5:23)
 One destiny - eternal salvation. (Eph.5:23)


   IS:
 The spiritual body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23)
 The kingdom of Christ (Mt. 16:18-19; Heb. 12:28)
 The depository of those saved (Acts 2:47)
 One body, not many bodies (Eph. 4:4; 1:22-23)


   IS IDENTIFIABLE BY ITS:
 Worship of singing, praying, observing the Lord's supper,
giving, studying each Lord's day (Acts 2:42; 20:7;
1 Cor. 11:17-34; 16:2) Work - preaching the gospel to all (Mark 16:16) Plan - a plurality of elders in each independent congregation (Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9) Entrance - believing from God's Word, repentance of sin,
confessing faith in Christ, baptism for forgiveness of sins
(Mark 16:16; Rom. 10:17; 10:10; Acts 2:37-47)

---Selected

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