Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                                                                                August 19, 2012                                                                                                                                                                                NO. 30



According to a humorous television commercial, one of the first signs of termite infection in your home is that "everything looks perfectly normal." It is their way of convincing us that a lot of damage can be done before you even notice it. The ad might serve to remind us of problems that can occur in our spiritual house if we do not take protective measures. The very foundation can be destroyed while everything on the outside seems to be normal by the standards of our day. When our lives are comfortably blended into the society we live in, when there is nothing unusual about our moral or religious principles, when our priorities are the same as the great majority of our neighbors, then things are dangerously "normal." The problem is that ''normal'' is a term that is determined by man's standards, and though measuring up to it may provide a degree of comfort here, it falls far short when it comes to laying up treasures in heaven.

Paul warned the Corinthians of some who "measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understand-ing." (2 Cor. 10:12.) It is God's yardstick that matters, not that of the "main-stream of society." God has always required His people to be separate (Isa. 52:11; 2 Cor. 6:17 - 7:1)  not physically withdrawn, but distinct in conversation and conduct, not fashioned according to the world. (Rom. 12:1,2.) It is a sobering Biblical truth that few will be saved; the majority will enter the broad way that leads to destruction. (Matt. 7: 13, 14.) It is strange, then, that we should be satisfied with attaining a status accepted by society. What value is it, if we lose our souls?

Friend, if your life seems "normal" enough by man's standards, it may be that your spiritual house is caving in. It will not be shored up by man's money or man's tools, but by the Word which framed the worlds. (Heb. 11:3.) The answer is some honest, objective study of it, for it is the standard which will judge us. (John 12:48.)

---Larry Walker

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"Therefore I take pleasure in infrimities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake.  For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:10).

One Of The Most Difficult Kinds Of Weakness To Endure Is Physical Disability: -- Even for the person of extraordinary spiritual strength, it is hard to keep a positive focus on God when the body is not able to function normally or is racked with pain. We understand, at least in theory, that spiritual concerns are more important than physical ones, but the fact is, our bodies are the instruments through which our spirits must do most of their work. When the instrument is broken, it isn't easy to maintain joy and give thanks. What, then, should be our attitude toward physical impairments or diseases, especially those of a serious nature?

We should "go to the balcony"  and look at each day from a larger perspective. If, for whatever reason, today is difficult, the thing we must always do is to see today against the backdrop of eternity.  Today's truth may be hard to bear, but it's never the whole truth.

We should give thanks, if not for the pain, at least for the progress it produces in our character. There is no more challenging text in the New Testament than James 1:2,3, which says: "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing  that the testing of your faith produces patience." The testing is not pleasant, and none of us should be so naive as to suggest that the physical sufferer should just smile and be happy. Yet if suffering bathes our hearts in humility and reminds us to lean on God, it has done us a significant favor. "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities," Paul could say, "...for when I am weak, then I am strong."

We should understand that our troubles are not unique. Paul also wrote: "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man" (1 Cor. 10:13). There may be no one in our personal experience who has had to endure what we are enduring, but that doesn't mean no one ever has. Whatever our affliction, there are others who've coped with it -- and some who've coped with worse.  Truth to tell, every person we've ever met is hurting in some way.  Some become bitter, while others become better.  

---Gary Henry

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I believe there is a personal God who is the creator of the universe, the giver of life, and the judge before whom we must ultimately appear and give an account for how we’ve lived our lives. And I believe this God is the God revealed in the Bible.

I believe Jesus is God’s son. And I believe Jesus was proven to be God’s Son by His resurrection from the dead.

Christian faith is not ignorant gullibility. It is conviction based upon convincing evidence. It’s not a matter of what I want to believe, or what my parents believe. And it’s not a matter of what I have always been taught to believe. It’s a matter of evidence. I have seen the evidence and I believe because of the evidence.

Other people may believe (or, say they believe) for other reasons, but real Christians believe because of the evidence.

The Bible writers warn against being gullible and too easily convinced. For example, when the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Ephesus, he said they “should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14). In his epistle to the Christians at Thessalonica he cautioned them to examine everything carefully and accept only what was proven to be true (1 Thess. 5:21).

The apostle John, in his first epistle, warned Christians everywhere about the many false prophets at work in the world. He said that every prophet should be put to the test (1 Jn. 4:1). The Lord commended the Christians at Ephesus for having exposed some who were false apostles (Rev. 2:2).

The Bible writers always pointed to the evidence in calling upon people to believe. Consider the example of Paul at Thessalonica: And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I proclaim to you is the Christ” (Acts 17:2-3).

There are many reasons why people believe the things they do, but the only valid reason for believing is the evidence.

---Bill Walton

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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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