Know Your Bible
August 2000

Don't Call Me God, I'll Call You!

People want God involved in their lives on their own terms and in their own time.

Some do not want to be responsible to God when they are healthy. They want to be free to chase after their desires and pleasures. Yet, when they face a serious illness they call out for God to help.

Some do not want God involved in their marriage. They think they know how to treat their spouse and they don't want God's standards interfering. Yet, when they began that marriage with a wedding ceremony they asked for His blessings on them.

Some do not want to heed God's will on raising children. They think little about the impact of their example. They think disciplining them, teaching them morals, and teaching them the Bible is not all that important. Yet, when their child has grown to be a teen and they are in jail or pregnant or on drugs, they want God to storm in and fix the problem.

Some do not want to submit to God's standards of honesty and dependability in their job or at their business. But when they are on the verge of being laid off or their business is about to go belly up, they want God to bail them out.

That is the kind of relationship that people want with God, but that is not the kind of relationship that He allows.

"Seek first the kingdom of God" (Matt 6:33)... "Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33)... "Present your bodies a living sacrifice" (Rom 12:1)... "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Col 3:17).

When it comes to having a relationship with God, it is either all or nothing. You can't expect God to be your Savior and Provider in time of need when you have refused to allow Him to be your Lord and King every day.

---Phillip Mullins

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What Is A Denomination?

A common term used to describe a religious body is the word, "Denomination." In a discussion of religion, someone may ask, "What denomination are you." What they are asking is what organization of faith do you prescribe and follow after. The dictionary helps us understand the meaning of this word and the Bible will show us how this word fits into the plan of God.

The word "denomination" is defined as: "an act of denominating; a class or kind (esp. of units in a system) having a specific name or value (coins or stamps of different denominations); a particular religious body, with a specific name, organization, etc." In the same use of the word we find "denominationalism" defined as: "a devotion to denominational principles or interests; the emphasizing of denominational differences to the point of being narrowly exclusive; sectarianism." The root word from which these words are found is "denominator" which gives an understanding to the nature of denominationalism: "the part of a fraction below the line signifying division that functions as the divisor of the numerator."

Taking these definitions and applying them to religion explains why believers in Christ are not united. If a denomination is a denominator, then a denomination is the part of a fraction below the line of God signifying a spirit of division that functions as the divisor or agent of division of the numerator which is Christ. By its very description, to be part of a denomination is to be part of the division among those who profess to be followers of Christ. Does the Bible approve of denominational concepts in the church?

How many divisions did Jesus die for? "The church of God which He purchased with His own blood." (Acts 20:28) How many divisions did Jesus say He was going do build? "I will build My church." (Matthew 16:18) How many body's are there? "There is one body." (Ephesians 4:4) Since the body is the church - "The church, which is His body." (Ephesians 1:22,23) how many churches are there? Only ONE! Jesus did not die for division. Jesus did not build any denominating churches. Paul affirms there is only one church. One is not a fraction and is not part of a division.

Jesus prayed that His disciples be ONE! John 17:20,21 says, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." Paul challenged the Corinthians with this probing question: "Is Christ divided?" The answer is "No, Christ is not divided."Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1 Corinthians 1:10) There should be no divisions among the believers in Christ.

The Bible condemns division and so condemns denominationalism. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) There is only one way to salvation and the eternal reward. Jesus is the one and only way to salvation. Denominational organizations cannot be part of the oneness found only in Jesus Christ. Matthew 15:13 declares the words of the Son of God: "But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." Denominations will be rooted up because they are not planted by God but by man.

---Kent E. Heaton Sr.

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Does Baptism Save?

The fact that the Lord required the bitten Israelites to look "unto the brazen serpent" as a condition of being healed did not destroy the fact that the Lord healed them after they obeyed! (Num. 21:4-9.)

The fact that the Lord required the Israelites to compass about the walls of Jericho seven days as a condition of the walls falling down (Heb.11:30; Jos. 6), did not destroy the fact that the Lord caused the walls to fall after the Israelites obeyed!

The fact that Naaman was required to "wash" or dip himself seven times in the Jordan as a condition of his being healed of leprosy did not mean that in doing so he would earn his cleansing of leprosy, nor did it destroy the fact that the Lord healed him after he obeyed! (2 Kings 5:10-15.)

The fact that the blind man was required to "go, wash in the pool of Siloam" as a condition of his receiving his sight did not destroy the fact that the Lord healed him after he obeyed! (John. 9:6-11.)

The fact that a penitent believer is required to be baptized in water as a condition of being saved from his past sins, of having his sins remitted, that they might be washed away, and that he might enter into Christ Jesus (Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27), does not destroy the fact that the Lord does the saving of the penitent believer who obeys Him! (Heb. 5:8,9.)

—Jim Sasser

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Obedience and Salvation
Question: "Is obedience essential to our salvation?"

Many in the religious world teach that obedience is NOT essential to salvation, saying that anything which we ourselves do plays no part whatever in our being saved. What did Jesus say? "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." (Matthew 7:21). That sounds as if Jesus taught we must do something to be saved.

Those on Pentecost asked what to do (Acts 2.36). Saul of Tarsus asked the Lord what He would have him to do (Acts 9.6). Cornelius was told that there was something that he ought to do (Acts 10.6). And the Philippian jailor asked what he must do to be saved (Acts16.30).

What's interesting is that in each case, these people were NOT told there was nothing for them to do because God had already done it all through Christ. Those on Pentecost were told to repent and be baptized (Acts 2.38). Saul of Tarsus was told to arise and be baptized (Acts 22.16). Cornelius was commanded to be baptized in the name of the Lord (Acts 10.47-48). And the Philippian jailor was told to believe on the Lord, after which he was immediately baptized (Acts 16.31-34).

The only logical conclusion is that we must DO something in obeying the gospel to be saved.


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