Know Your Bible

VOL. 9                           April 18, 2010                           NO. 16

 Good Advise To New Christian


            If called upon to give some good, practical advice to a new Christian, what would you say? That might seem to be a very simple thing to do until you are put in the position of actually giving the advice yourself! One might suggest, "Read your Bible daily." Another, "Attend all the services of the church." Still another might suggest, "Listen to the counsel of the elders, attend gospel meetings, and study with a mature Christian in whom you have confidence." All of these suggestions are good, but the "doing" of them is the product of something even more basic. What we are referring to may be found in Acts 11:23.


            The eleventh chapter of Acts discusses the dispersion of Christians which occurred during the persecution which arose in conjunction with Stephen's preaching. Christians in Judea were scattered as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch (of Syria). Those in Antioch converted a lot of folks. This news, reaching the brethren in Jerusalem, prompted them to send Barnabas to encourage the brethren there. Note verse 23: "Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave to the Lord." A new Christian simply needs to be encouraged to "cleave to the Lord." Let's notice what this entails.


            First, the new Christian must put service to Christ and His church FIRST in his/her life. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (NKJV) New Christians need to be impressed with the fact that service to Christ means changing priorities. They must set their priorities in line with Christ's priorities, not vice versa.


            Second, the new Christian must be advised that total commitment to Christ is required in order to be His servant. In Luke 14:33 Jesus said, "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."(NKJV) A Christian cannot be a "fence straddler." The Christian cannot compromise their service to Christ by trying to serve "conditionally." James reminds us that "friendship with the world is enmity with God." (James 4:4)


            Thirdly, the new Christian needs to be advised to take his/her commitment to Christ seriously. The Hebrew writer reminds us that our level of commitment has a direct affect on others and that the faithfulness of other Christians can be directly affected by our example. (Hebrews 10: 23-25)


            Fourth, the new Christian needs to be encouraged to observe ALL of Christ's commands. Jesus, after giving His apostles the great commission to take the gospel to the whole world, said," ...teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. (NKJV) The Christian cannot "pick and choose" which of Christ's commands he/she wishes to obey. We must obey ALL!


            Finally, the new Christian needs to desire and receive exhortation daily. Through the association with faithful Christians, God has provided the avenue for our spiritual growth (Heb. 10: 25; Acts 2:46,47). This is God's Way; let us have the determination to follow!


---Steve Nale

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            The faithful child of God never seeks ways by which he can disobey God. Yet the Bible indicates different manners in which God may be disobeyed. It might help us to avoid some pitfalls of apostasy to reflect on the way in which God is disobeyed.


1. By Doing What Is Forbidden: -- (Gen. 2:16; 3:6) Adam and Eve, in eating the forbidden fruit, transgressed or violated the Will of God. We refer to this kind of sin as a sin of commission. They committed an act which God specifically had prohibited. Men today often do exactly what He has forbidden.


2. By Refusing To Do What God Has Commanded: -- (Jas. 4:17; Lk. 7:30; Heb. 10:25). The Pharisees and lawyers in Lk. 7:30 rejected the counsel of God on baptism. They therefore committed a sin of omission. James states that when one knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin. One can do nothing and be sent to hell for doing nothing, for God has made demands upon us.


3. By Adding To The Word Of God: -- (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18). God states that if one adds to His Word, the plagues written in the Word will be added to that person. John declares that "lawlessness is sin" (1 Jn. 3:4 - ASV). Sin, as defined by John, is that which is lawless. Sin is the doing of anything for which there is no law or for which there is no authority.


            Men frequently ask, "Where is the Scripture against it?" But John declares that if there is no law for the act under question it is "lawlessness", and lawlessness is sin. To act or speak where Christ has not spoken is a sin of presumption (Num. 15:30; Lev. 10:1,2). When one acts without divine authority, he presumes to speak in God's behalf. Such is insolent sin, and is intolerable by God.


            John declares that when one goes beyond the doctrine of Christ, he gives up both Christ and God, (2 Jn. 9). Paul therefore insists that we must learn "not to go beyond the things which are written" (1 Cor. 4:6).


4. By Taking From The Word Of God: -- (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:19). To take from God's Word is a sin of the same sort as to add to His Word. Taking from His Word will result in one's part being taken from the tree of life and the holy city written in the Book.


            When one begins to talk about God's "nonessential commands," he is prepared in heart to commit the damning sin of taking from God's Word.


5. By Substituting For What God Has Commanded: -- (Gen. 4:4; Lev. 10:1-3). Cain substituted a vegetable sacrifice for what God had commanded (Heb. 11:4) and God had no respect for his gift. Nadab and Abihu, though they offered fire, did not offer the fire that God had commanded, and thus were consumed because of the strange fire. In religion men must learn to accept no substitute, for God will not accept a substitute for obedience (1 Sam. 15:22,23).


            Realizing wherein we can fail, we need to use great caution "lest we fall." "If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Pet. 4:11).


---Cecil Willis

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