Know Your Bible
DO YOU KNOW THE STORY OF JESUS?
While many claim to know Jesus, the question we pose is: Do you know the story of Jesus? His story is the way by which we know who He is. What do the Scriptures tell us concerning His story?Page 1
COMPASSIONATE. In Luke 7 Jesus came into the city of Nain and saw the funeral of a young man who was the only son of a widow. "And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not." (verse 13). In Galilee a leper came to Jesus wanting Jesus to heal him of his dreaded disease "And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and said unto him, I will; be thou clean." Jesus did what other people would not dare to do in that He touched the leper. No doubt it had been a long time since he had been touched by anyone.
MEEK. Jesus said, "...I am meek and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:29). He proved His meekness as He hung on the cross and said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Let us also remember the story of how Jesus engaged in the meek and humble act of washing His disciples' feet in John 15:5.
LOVED BY SINNERS. He forgave the sins of the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11). While in the house of Matthew "...many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples"(Matthew 9:10). When questioned about His eating with them, He answered, "...I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (verse 13).
While the things we have considered so far are truly the story of Jesus it is not the whole story. Yet, far too many people's perception of Jesus is limited to the things we have just examined. Let's continue to look at "the rest of the story".
NARROW-MINDED. It was Jesus who said, "...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6). This is starkly opposite to broad minded thinking which allows for Buddha, Mohammed, and a host of other gods and other ways. Truly, if Jesus were on earth today, He would have to change His attitude about other religions or be rejected and crucified all over again. Let us be narrow-minded as Jesus is.
INTOLERANT. Jesus did not allow the money changers to go on making the temple a "house of merchandise" (John 2:13-17). Instead, he made him a scourge of small cords, drove them out, poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables. Churches today are involved in entertainment, recreation, eating in the meeting house and a host of other things that people have come to expect of today's churches. Would Jesus be as tolerant and not open His mouth to rebuke as He did the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:13-33? We, too, would do well to be intolerant of those things that are contrary to the will of God.
OBEDIENT. Jesus stated: "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." (John 6:38). He also said, "...for I do always those things that please him." (John 8:29). "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;" (Hebrews 5:8,9). Would Jesus been the "author of eternal salvation" if He had not been obedient? Certainly not! Do we have the hope of eternal salvation if we do not obey Christ? Certainly not! If obedience was required of Christ, it most certainly is required of us! Christ is the "author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him". Could language be any plainer? The verse does not need an interpretation place on it, it just simply means what it says: To Obey Is To Have Eternal Salvation! Therefore, it goes without saying that if we do not obey, we will not have eternal salvation! Obedience is the test of our love for Christ. "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15) because obedience was the test of Christ's love for the Father. "But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do...." (John 14:31). When Jesus kept the commandments of the Father, did He have anything of which to boast? No! When we keep the commandments of the Father, do we have anything of which to boast? No! "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." (Luke 17:10).
By and large, the world does not truly know who Jesus was. What controls your life? To be truly liberated is to let Christ control our lives through our obedience to His will. Jesus is the only One who can control us without destroying us!
---E.R. Hall, Jr.
Can A Man Save Himself?
There is a great deal of emphasis being put on a man-made doctrine which teaches it is impossible for a person to do anything towards salvation from sin. This doctrine sets forth the idea that any action, on the part of a person, nullifies the grace of God.
The Bible teaches that salvation is dependent upon both DIVINE and HUMAN action. It shows very clearly what God does to save the sinner and what the sinner must do to save himself. God's part in our salvation is comprehended in the word "GRACE". Our part in our salvation is comprehended in the word "FAITH". Our faith is shown by our obedience to the will of God. "For by grace are ye saved through faith..."(Ephesians 2:8).
THE DIVINE SIDE. God conceived the plan of salvation, Christ made it possible by His death, and the Holy Spirit revealed it through inspired men. Thus God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit play a most vital part in our salvation. We are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8) as we are cleansed by the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7). We have no righteousness or merit with which to boast ourselves to God and He is under no obligation to save us. We must depend upon God's mercy and upon Christ's atoning blood.
THE HUMAN SIDE. When the gospel is preached, we must hear it with an open mind and receptive heart (Romans 10:17; Ephesians 1:13). We must repent of all sins, for this God has commanded us to do (Acts 17:30). We must confess Jesus as the Son of God (Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9,10). Then we must be baptized (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:37-39). Baptism is always "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38), to "wash away sins" (Acts 22:16), to put us "into Christ (Galatians 3:27), and to "save us (1 Peter 3:21). These are actions which we must take. God cannot believe for us, nor repent for us, nor be baptized for us. We are commanded to do these things in obedience to His requirements. When we do that which God has commanded we have not earned nor do we merit salvation. This is how we benefit from the grace of God or else everybody will be saved and no one will be lost.
If it is true that we cannot do anything to save ourselves, then it follows that our salvation is wholly dependent upon God and it will be the fault of God if anybody is lost! If not, why not? However, God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). If a person is lost, it will be because HE CHOOSES to be lost. The same is true if we are to be saved; WE MUST CHOOSE to do what God commands.
The Bible says, "...save yourselves from this untoward generation" (Acts 2:40). Again, "...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). Christ is the "author of eternal salvation unto all that obey him" (Hebrews 5:9).
---E.R. Hall, Jr.
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