Know Your Bible

VOL. 14                                                                                                      August 23, 2015                                                                                                               NO. 24



Post modernists prefer thinking about the pleasant aspects of God--His love, His care for us, the blessings we receive from a loving God. And these aspects of God's character are real, and we would do well to be mindful of them and to remind others of just how much God loves them. In fact, Paul wrote the Romans that God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

However, if one seriously studies the scriptures, one finds quickly and often that Christ was constantly troubling the waters. His preaching brought genuine anxiety to a society unaccustomed to the boldness of his pronouncements. He claimed deity and they said he had a demon. (See the discourse in Matthew 9, 12). He healed on the Sabbath and they accused him of violating the law. His company was with sinners and publicans and they accused him of sinful behavior.

In his teachings Christ confounded even his own disciples. When the Lord described the difficulty of a rich man going to heaven, the disciples failing to understand his language dejectedly asked, "Who then can be saved?" 

He said he came to set at variance a man from his family suggesting the supreme sacrifice that might be required to follow the Lord (and there are many even today that know obeying the Lord brings about the rejection of family). Jesus said if a man would be his disciple, he must first deny himself. The very thought of self denial is in opposition to the thinking of the vast majority of the world which seeks indulgence and self promotion. Jesus said we must deny ourselves. Take up our cross. My friend, discipleship comes at a cost. There is a cross to be borne. And follow me. Not follow some man, some preacher, some religious leader or prophet..."follow me" Jesus said. And that last phrase was as controversial in Jesus' day as in ours. 

The religious leaders of the time could not stand Jesus because he threatened their power. The masses followed the Lord and recognized the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders.

Many today wish to dismiss the controversial Jesus for the Jesus that makes us feel better about ourselves. But this Jesus of the Bible said "except you repent, you will all perish." This Jesus of the scriptures demanded that we "love one another as he loved us." These are hard sayings, who can bear them?

Do not be deceived, my friends. Jesus' teachings are controversial. Those who wish merely to have a form of Christianity without the teachings of Christ are merely deceiving themselves to hell. Jesus said, we cannot serve two masters. We must choose to serve God, the Father and be led by the Great Shepherd of our Faith, Jesus the Christ.

—Keith Pruitt

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God created mankind and placed them in a garden which provided a wholesome, healthful environment.  They responded by disobeying God's one commandment of restraint.  God expelled them from Eden, yet He continued to bless them with the needs of life, for which they had to toil much harder.  The guilt of their sin was held in remembrance, and its consequences affected their descendants greatly.

      Cain and Abel were blessed with instruction from God.  Abel served God by faith, but Cain was disobedient and took his anger out on his  own brother, by killing him.  A hard sentence was given to Cain in his life, and his sin held in remembrance.

      By the time of Noah, in the comparatively few generations from the beginning, most of the human race had corrupted themselves to the degree that they thought about evil continually. Noah was an exception.  He obeyed God by faith, found favor with God, and was delivered from the flood by doing what God told him to do.  All people except the family of Noah perished in the flood.  After that great salvation, Noah's son, Ham, acted wickedly and incurred the judgment of God upon him.

      In the days of Abraham, the world was greatly involved in idolatry. Abraham, the exception to many, was a faithful servant of God. God made promises to Abraham that would fulfill His plan of offering to fallen humanity a way of redemption form their transgress- ion.  How great are the longsuffering, mercy, and grace of God!

      God had looked upon this great drama of life before He ever brought it to pass, and had concluded that salvation was to be a part of this great story, in spite of His foreseeing the disobedience of His future creatures.  He foresaw that some would repent if they were or a long time we have been warning about the dangers of departing from a strict observance of the pattern set forth in the Scriptures. It has been pointed out that once any departure is allowed, there then becomes no stopping place. If one innovation is tolerated, soon man given opportunity, so He made provisions for that opportunity.  What a trial He endured from the children of Israel in order to accomplish His purpose and keep His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!  How ungrateful the Israelites were!

      With a mighty had God brought Israel out of Egypt, provided for them in the wilderness, and gave them the land He had told Abraham that He would give his descendants.  He gave them His law, gave them great leaders, and protected them from their wicked enemies.  Yet they turned away from Him to idolatry, and their sins were multiplied.  Through defeat and captivity, God brought a remnant back to their land to serve Him.

      He sent His Son to them, and they rejected and killed the Son -- as God had foreknown.  Even then, God loved humanity — what inexpressible love!  The gospel was proclaimed, and the majority of the race rejected it.  It is still being proclaimed, and the majority of the race still rejects it.  What a wonderful and sad story!  Where are you in this equation or sad story?

—Gilbert Alexander

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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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