Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                           August 14, 2011                           NO. 32

 Things To Learn

    With the start of a new school year there comes an increased emphasis on learning.  Study and hard work lie ahead.

    But it is worth noting that there are some things we should NOT learn. Jeremiah warned God’s people to “learn not the way of the heathen” (Jer. 10:2). Certainly this counsel is much needed in today’s world. All sorts of wickedness and immorality are being promoted in our culture. Young people – be careful! Don’t let the influences of a sinful world take you on a path to eternal destruction.  We pray that you will have the wisdom to realize that the things of this world are temporary (1 John 2:15-17) and the pleasure they bring won’t last (Heb. 11:25).

    On the other hand, there are definitely some things that you need learn. “Learn to do well,” so said Isaiah (1:17). And Paul added, “learn to maintain good works” (Titus 3:14). These things do not come naturally, so you must work at learning them. Spend some time thinking seriously about what you can do that will help the cause of Christ, promote His church, and assist his disciples.  There are many opportunities, but you must be looking for them – and you must learn to use them.

    Of course, the most important thing to learn is obedience to God. It is said, even of Jesus, that “though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). His example is the one we must follow (1 Pet. 2:21). When we learn from Jesus, we find “rest for our souls” (Matt. 11:29). 

    Young people, as you begin a new year of learning, beware of the bad lessons out there. Avoid them! Commit yourself to learning the good things of God. You’ll never regret it.

                                                                                                                                  ---Greg Gwin

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The Psalmist's Soul-Winnng Formula

  "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You." -- Psalms 51:12,13 (NKJV).

    The Psalmist may be saying that if the Lord restores the joy of his salvation then he promises to teach transgressors. Or he may be saying that when the joy of salvation is restored teaching transgressors will naturally follow. In either case, sinners will be converted.

    Answers to why we are not converting more to Christ are offered by the dozens. "How to" instructions abound. Several preachers specialize in "soul-winning techniques". "Specials" are held from time to time to consider the matter. Book stores stock books and kits that are supposed to tell us how to make virtually every Christian an effective soul-winner. Yet, all the above combined produce meager results. Even what appear to be spectacular results often turn out to be nothing more than a mirage -- a flash in the pan.

    All this somewhat reminds me of a story that I heard several years ago about a company trying to increase its sales. They hired an expensive sales expert to lecture their salesmen on sales organization and technique. Their experienced salesmen and new recruits were required to attend so they, too, could become experts. The expert unveiled his plan. He demonstrated his sure-fire technique. He organized the territories complete with a wall map with pins placed at strategic points to illustrate the salesmen, customers and potential customers. He had refined his program to a fine art. During his lecture he spotted an old salesmen sitting over in the corner who was reputed to have been the top salesman for the company over several years. After, proudly and with fan fare, presenting his technique he asked the old salesman if he had any words of encouragement or advice that he might add to what had been said. The old salesmen replied, "Yes, take all those pins out of that map and stick them into the salesmen!"

    Could it be that our problem in teaching transgressors the Lord's way and thus converting them to Lord is not so much poor methods, materials, and facilities as it is poor motivation with no proper foundation? It may be that the joy of our own salvation is the missing element. Pep rallies and motivational hype on the subject of soul-winning may stir brethren into spurts of action, even producing some results. A sustained effort and lasting results will likely come from one who really knows both the plan and joy of salvation. Such a one understands what it means to be lost. He knows what it means to be saved. His knowledge is not based on fleeting feelings but on a knowledge of what God's word teaches on damnation and salvation. 

    His joy is not the superficial cart wheel turning, hand clapping, "praise the Lord" shouting variety, but a far deeper joy of thankfulness, knowing that he has been delivered from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son. One with such joy understands what it means to no longer be a sinner alienated from God. He understands God's plan of salvation. He understands what the Bible teaches about being a Christian. His joy is produced by that understanding and his knowing that his life is now in harmony with that understanding. Thus, he wants others to know what he knows and do what he has done to be saved -- and is doing to stay saved. His genuine faith in the promises and blessings in Christ produces the joy of salvation that leads him to teach transgressors the Lord's ways so that they can enjoy what he enjoys.

    Brethren filled with the knowledge and joy of salvation will find ways (or techniques) to teach others consistent with their own temperaments and abilities and of those they are trying to reach. Their methods may vary widely but their message and results will be the same - the gospel will be taught and sinners will be converted.

    It may well be that the best personal work program that a church can develop is to set about to restore that genuine joy of salvation to its membership by building them up in the faith through teaching.

---Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.
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Are You Looking For Work?

    Occasionally we hear complaints from some Christians that they 'just aren't being put to work," or that they 'just aren't being used." What is generally meant is that these individuals are not frequently being called upon to word prayers during the public worship; or perhaps they are seldom scheduled to help pass the Lord's Supper; or it may be that their opportunities to lead singing or give a talk are few and far between.

    Let us plainly state that all the above mentioned activities are good and important. We want to encourage every male Christian to grow and develop in all these vital roles.

    But, having said that, we would also urge everyone to realize that these things do not, in and of themselves, constitute full and complete service to the Lord.

    There are so many other opportunities to serve in areas where we urgently need your help. "Lift up your eyes and look" (John 4:35). You are surrounded by lost souls that need to be taught about salvation. Your own knowledge of the Scriptures needs to be increased by diligent study and personal preparation. 

    You are needed to help encourage and strengthen some of your brethren who are weak and struggling. 

    Do you get the point? Many opportunities await the humble, faithful servant who is looking to work for the Lord.

    Don't be deceived into thinking that if you are seldom used in the public assemblies you are, therefore, not being "used" effectively. And, likewise, don't fall into the trap of thinking that if you are frequently called upon to pray, lead singing, or wait on the table you are necessarily doing all of the real work that God desires of you. 

    Duties performed during the worship assemblies are important, but they are not the absolute test of your service to the Lord.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ---Greg Gwin

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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