Know Your Bible

VOL. 12                                                                                                                          August 11, 2013                                                                                                                            NO. 27



In regard to religious and moral matters, a major portion of today's society doesn't want to be preached to. For preachers or anyone to insist upon an agenda where the commands and principles of God's word are to be applied in folk's lives, many have the attitude, "Don't preach to me!". Yet, these same individuals allow other "preachers" to preach to them and they delight in what they hear and are eager to conform their thinking and their lives to the message of these preachers. To what other "preachers" am I referring?

PREACHERS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. The rock, rap, heavy metal, and country music singers are preachers. When you consider the definition of "preacher" and what it involves, Webster defines it as "to declare in public", "to proclaim", "to deliver a sermon". "Sermon" is defined as "a serious talk on behavior or responsibility." Are not all these ingredients in the songs that singers sing? Are they not advocating and proclaiming their agenda for a certain type of behavior upon their listeners? What about the message of violence, hate, fornication, lying, and lose morals that far too many of these preachers advocate?  Let's get our heads out of the sand and realize that preachers aren't just in pulpits but they are on CD's, VH-1, MTV, and CMT preaching their message with the lyrics of the songs they sing. There is more to this than just pure entertainment. A message is being sent.

PREACHERS OF THE TALK SHOWS. Television and radio are filled throughout any twenty-four hour period with talk shows. They all have their agenda which is generally to bring about a point of view intended to affect the way we think on a variety of social, political, and moral matters. Talk show hosts fit every aspect of the definition for preachers but, in far too many instances, their message is anti-Christian and anti-moral. Public opinion is easily swayed by these smooth talking sympathizers of a new morality. A message is being sent and we are the receivers of it.

PREACHERS OF TV AND THE MOVIES. We refer to them as "actors" but in reality they are preachers. With the TV sitcoms and movies in which they act, they "proclaim to the public" a message that can and will affect our attitude toward the family, homosexuality, sexual behavior in general, honesty, vulgarity, and will give new definitions for decency in far too many cases. They are making us to laugh at things that ought to be to our shame (Philippians 3:19). They are preaching an agenda and we are buying into it under the disguise of comedy and entertainment.

So, let us not be so naive as to think that preachers are only the ones dressed in suits and mount a pulpit with a Bible under their arms. No doubt they proclaim a message and have an agenda but they are not the only ones. In reality, we are being preached to every time we turn on our radios and listen to a singer declaring his message to us. What message is he trying to convey? In what way is he wanting to change our attitude and mold our thinking. Let us realize that whatever our attitudes and thoughts are will determine what we do (Mark 7:21-23). We are being preached to every time we turn on a television or sit down to watch a movie. What message is the actor acting out before us?

We need to be careful of the preachers that are preaching to us and always examine their message for it will influence and affect us far more than we are willing to admit.

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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"I don't want to judge anyone -- it is not my place to judge." So often we hear such sentiments. We are accustomed to being tolerant and loving, forgiving, tender and kind -- and that is very, very good. I wonder if one is truly tolerant, kind, and loving by refusing to judge properly.

We ought all to remember Jesus''words, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Matt. 7:1-2, NIV). Often this verse has been taken to mean all judgment is forbidden. But there is a qualifying phrase, "or you too will be judged." This is the consequence one may expect when judging others. The next verse shows that judgment of self must precede any judgment of others. But is Jesus saying that we will be judged eternally by the way we judge others? Consider that Jesus is expressing a common human trait. We generally get from others what we give them. The way we judge others is how they judge us. That being the case, we ought to judge others with the kind of judgment we hope they might extend to us. It is about the same as the "Golden Rule." So we ought to judge righteously. The verb form of this word comes from the Greek word, krinw. Vine says it "primarily denotes 'to separate, select, choose,' hence, 'to determine,' and so to 'judge, pronounce judgment'." (Vine''s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words). Part of Paul's prayer for the church at Philippi was, "That you may approve things that are excellent...," (Phil. 1:10). Not an easy task, it surely is a necessary one. Discernment based on facts and prompted by genuine love is never sinful.

Love never shuns righteous judgment. A physician whose "compassion" weighs more than his concern for hurting a patient is reprehensible. Sometimes pills are bitter and remedies hurt. There are times when failure to judge shows more lack of love than it does genuine concern for another.

Which would you rather have -- someone to refuse to tell you the truth out of consideration for your feelings, or someone who will lovingly inform you of imminent danger? Marital problems, like mine fields, require great caution. Compassion and emotions often sway our judgment. Those who become enmeshed in divorce will more times than not end up in adultery. When that happens, it is natural to want to walk carefully into such a "mine field." But what is love? Is it love to justify adultery? Is it love to condone a sinful relationship? You see, God has judged already on such a situation. He has condemned adultery. He expressed His emotional reaction to breaking up marriage. Mal. 2:16 reads "For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously." Both the New King James and New International versions substitute the word "divorce" for "putting away." Has God given His judgment on divorce? How can our judgments be different from His -- if we love like He loves? Frankly, I appreciate the judgment of others, even the kind that appears to be unkind, censorious, and cruel. I can reject that which I find to be completely inappropriate and unjustified.

I can also recognize that when I am shown the errors and mistakes of my life, I can discern both the basis and motive of such judgment. But regardless of the motive, the basis for judging others must be soundly rooted in fact. Emotions are hard to put aside, but they sure get in the way when righteous judgment is required. So, don't you agree that we ought not to say, "I don''t want to judge anyone; it is not my place to judge." Go ahead, judge me. It will help me.                                                             

---Dudley Ross Spears

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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.

--- E.R. Hall, Jr.





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