Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                         August 3, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 22



When a person immerses himself in something, he totally surrounds himself with it. He spends time thinking about it and making plans around it. It occupies his mind, utilizes his energy and expends his resources.

People can immerse themselves in many different things.  Some are immersed in hobbies, recreation or sports such as hunting, fishing, college football, baseball, golf, racing, collecting, or gardening. Others are immersed in their work or school. Some are immersed in their children or grandchildren. When a person is seriously sick, it is easy to become immersed with health concerns.

As Christians, "we were all baptized into one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13).  Most of us understand that the word "baptized" means "immersed." But what we may not have thought much about is the connection between being immersed in water and being immersed in Jesus.  The apostle Paul puts it this way in Galatians 3:27: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."  Those of us who have been "baptized into Christ" are to have put Him on like a garment.  We are to be covered up with Him -- immersed in Him.

By itself, immersion in water does nothing to change a person's life. But when that immersion is the beginning of being overwhelmed with Jesus Christ, lives are truly changed. Baptism into Christ results in a person being raised to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17). This new life is one that is immersed in Jesus. 

Every sinner needs to be immersed in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). But every one who is immersed in water is thus obligated to live a new life immersed in Jesus. Are you immersed in Him?  "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:14). 

—Steve Klein

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"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, ‘Whom do men say that I the Son of man am'? And they said, ‘Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.'" (Matthew 16:13-14). Since Jesus knew the hearts of all men (John 2:24), it is obvious that He was not asking this question to seek information but rather to enable His disciples to learn. Were those individuals who thought Jesus was John, Elijah, or Jeremiah sincere in their belief? No doubt! In fact, I would not doubt their sincerity for one minute. Jesus shared many similarities with all three. Yet, regardless of the common ground He might have shared with these prophets and regardless of how sincere people were who honestly believed these things about Him, their sincerity did not turn Jesus into John or Elijah or Jeremiah.

What about people today who sincerely believe the church they belong to is the Lord's church? Does that make whatever denomination they belong to the Lord's church? There are most certainly similarities between denominational churches and the Lord's church but do the similarities make them identical? A cow and a horse are similar. They both have a head, a tail, and four legs but everyone will admit they are not the same! The problem today is that people are satisfied with similarity in religion but not in other things. An avid football fan realizes that all football teams have the same number of players and play on similar fields. However, what is not identical is where the team is from, the team colors, and the players names and that makes the difference that distinguishes his team from all the others.

We often hear statements like: "We worship similar in that we both sing!" but similar is not identical. While we both may sing, one uses a mechanical instrument of music and the other simply sings as directed in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. Another statement heard is: "We worship similar in that we both observe the Lord's Supper!" Yet, one takes it on Saturday night, once a month, or once a year while the Lord's church is to observe it every first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Some said, "Our church preaches the Bible just like yours!" Yet, one let's women preach from the pulpit and be in other leadership roles while the Bible teaches women are not to preach or be in a position of authority over the man (1 Corinthians 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:12).

We should not be interested in ‘similarity' in spiritual matters, but in being ‘identical' with the Lord's church we read about in the New Testament. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God...." (2 John 9) "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2:8).

When Jesus asked His disciples, "But whom say ye that I am?", Peter replied, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.", to which Jesus replied, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 16:15-17). Peter's answer was what he had heard from God in heaven. We need to do exactly like Peter; "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles (words) of God;..." (1 Peter 4:11). SIMILAR is not IDENTICAL

——E.R. Hall, Jr.

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Have you noticed how easy it is to find the time to do the things we really enjoy doing and how hard it is to find the time to do the things we do not enjoy doing? Could it be that this explains why it is so hard for some to find time to study the Bible or teach it to others or to assemble, but seem to have no problem finding time to watch their favorite TV program or engage in some recreational activity?

Have you noticed how much our attitude toward something or someone can make any task either one of joy or one of weariness?  The priests in Malachi's day viewed their service to God as "what a weariness is it" (Malachi 1:13). Their attitude toward God (a lack of love and devotion) caused them to have this attitude toward serving Him. Is it possible that the same could be true today? When we hear those who claim to be Christians complaining about everything they are called upon to do (assembling with the saints, giving, study of His word, etc.) it tells us a great deal about their attitude toward God.  Their attitude is the same as that of the priests mentioned in Malachi. More importantly, God's attitude toward them is the same, also. Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change;…”; Malachi 1:10 “‘Who is there even among you who would shut the doors, So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain? I have no pleasure in you,’ Says the Lord of hosts, ‘Nor will I accept an offering from your hands.’”

Brethren, let us make sure we have our priorities in order. See Matthew 6:24-34. 

—James Hahn

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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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