Know Your Bible

VOL. 5                           August 13, 2006                           NO. 30

"Just Prove What is Right;

Don't Prove What is Wrong"

    It is said that God does not obligate us to prove what is wrong; he only obligates us to prove what is right. "I do not look for prohibition; I look for permission," some say. I believe the Bible requires us not only to prove what is right -- but to reprove what is wrong and sinful.

    Sin is a transgression of law (1 John 3:4). Vine says transgression means, "to go aside" or to "go beyond." All who go beyond the doctrine of Christ, for religious teaching and practice, are guilty of transgression -- sin (2 John 9). Since transgression of the law of God is sinful and since going beyond the doctrine of Christ is transgression, religious teachings and practices not found in the doctrine of Christ are sinful. We are to prove they are sinful, and this is how we do it.

    The doctrine of Christ cannot be limited only to the teaching about Jesus. Caiaphas, the high priest, clearly understood the teaching of Christ when he asked Jesus "of his disciples, and of his teaching" (John 18:19). He understood it to be what Jesus taught. The teaching of Christ was his personal teaching, just as the disciples were his personal followers. To act without authority from Christ's teaching is sinful because John said it is transgression, which he defined as sin, and Paul said we must prove it is sinful.

    The teaching of Christ prohibits sinful transgression. Jesus is our example. When he accused the Pharisees of "transgressing the commandment of God" (Matt. 15:3) He was not proving what was right; He was reproving what was sinful and wrong. He proved it was wrong to make hand washing (and a lot of other pharisaical practices) a ritual of religion. We'd be well served to follow His example.

    The faithful Christian is to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). The prohibited fellowship is with sinful doctrines and practices. To reprove unfruitful works of darkness is proving what is sinful and wrong. We are required by the Lord to do that.

    Elders are shepherds of the flock over which the Holy Spirit made them overseers (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2,3). A novice cannot be a qualified shepherd (1 Tim. 3:6). A shepherd must be mature and able to prove what is right as well as to prove what is wrong and sinful. To qualify as a functioning elder a man must hold "to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayers" (Titus 1:9). In short, he must reprove what is sinful and wrong by his knowledge and application of the doctrine of Christ.

    There is an old maxim: "The specification of one action is the exclusion of another." The New Testament specifies singing as the kind of music offered in worship to God. There are other kinds of music but they are not mentioned in the New Testament in connection with worship. Is another kind of music in worship included in the teaching of Christ, or does one go beyond the teaching to find it? Going beyond the teaching of Christ is transgression of Christ's law and John said that is sin. Dear friend if another kind of music than singing in worship is not included, by the very nature of language, it is excluded.

    Based on these thoughts, I confess that I look for permission and prohibition. I intend to try always to prove all things and hold fast to what is good as well as abstaining from every form of evil (1 Thess. 5:21,22).

---Dudley Ross Spears


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Truth's Consequences

    The consequences of truth are sometimes bitter. Many a man has lost his job, or home, or friends, or life because of his stand for truth. Many a preacher has been ousted from the pulpit, having neither house nor salary, because he preached the truth. Many a person has had his name slandered and maligned because of truth. With all such people, love for truth is greater than love for comfort, security, or even life itself.

    Unfortunate indeed is the man who looks ahead to evaluate the consequences of a position before evaluating the position itself. Such a man will rarely come to a knowledge of truth. His thoughts concerning "What will my wife think?" or "Where will I preach?" or "Won't I be condemning my good mother to hell?" or "How will I explain my change to good ole Brother Jones?" or "How will I support my family?" or "Everybody will think I'm crazy," may well blind his mind to whatever evidence is at hand.

    The man who really demonstrates a love for truth is the man who studies every subject objectively and then lets the consequences - whether they be good or bad - take care of themselves.

    Unfortunate, too, is the man who complains and grieves over the consequences of truth, for truth must bring joy to the heart, whatever may be its consequences. Self-pity may lead one to "sell the truth" and to profane this precious commodity. If pity is to be felt, it must be felt for that person who has never suffered the consequences of truth, for such a man has obviously loved the praises of men more than the praises of God.

    No men ever felt the consequences of truth to a greater degree than did the apostles, but they faced all such consequences "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name" (Acts 5:41). Worthy! There's the key! The man who lets a fear of consequences dictate his position on every question never suffers, for he is not worthy to suffer. Pity him! But the person who stands for truth regardless of the consequences shall suffer, for he is worthy to suffer. Rejoice with him!

    What a difference between the man who is "heaven" oriented and that one who is "this world" oriented!

---Bill Hall

Page 2


Rumors are very buoyant. They are easy to float,

and hard to sink.


Discontent is the penalty we pay for being ungrateful for what we have.


One of the weaknesses of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish need from greed.


Every time history repeats itself, the price of the lesson goes up.

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