Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                                                                                                                                                                                December 18, 2011                                                                                                                                                                                NO. 47


 Will Your Children Go To Heaven?


Church leaders all over the nation are concerned about the drop-out rate of young people. And well they should be. It is a tragic thing to see these precious boys and girls, who are so thrilled with Bible Study as little people, grow cold and uninterested in the Lord's work as they grow older.

Lately, several congregations have made in-depth studies of the factors leading to youth leaving the church, with an eye to learning what might be done to help solve this problem. What do we need? More youth programs? More rallies? Special teachers?

A great central truth has begun to emerge from these studies. Their faithfulness to Jesus doesn't have anything to do with special programs or teachers. It is not dependent on whether they are members of a large congregation or a small one. The single most important factor is their own immediate family.

One congregation found that when both parents were faithful to the Lord, and that includes active interest in the local congregation's programs, 93 percent of the children remained faithful. On the other hand, if only one parent was faithful, the figure dropped to 73 percent. Where both parents were only marginally active, it fell to 53 percent. Now comes the shocker-when both parents attended infrequently, 6 percent of their children remained faithful to the Lord.

Do you want your children to go to heaven? Then make certain you are leading them. The likelihood is they'll go no other way!

---Ron Readhimer

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The Culture Of No Consequences

In the beginning, the Lord blessed man with a paradise garden to keep, trim, and enjoy. Only one prohibition was mentioned. Adam and Eve were not to eat of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Gen. 2:17). If they ate, they would lose their place in the garden and forfeit their right to the "tree of life." They would lose their lives and their special relationship with the Lord. This was the consequence. Sadly, they ate of the prohibited tree and paid the consequences. 

Have you noticed the singular lack of consequences in almost every system of American culture? God's plan of behavior management for children (the rod of discipline Pro. 22:15) has been set aside by parents and schools. Athletes, stars and politicians are seen to break laws with impunity. Bad manners and rudeness are tolerated if one is popular or famous. Coaches throw chairs, athletes sling helmets, and parents attack other parents, all clear violations of team rules and rules of appropriate behavior. Yet, rarely are those actions held to account. Proverbs 19:19 tells us the truth: "A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again." Priests and teachers have abused children without penalty.  Presidents lie, congressmen take money, etc. 

Human beings require structure and discipline. Fortunately for us, our Creator planned for our growth and happiness by holding us accountable. God is honest with us: sin brings death. The Word clarifies His expectations and holds us accountable. God is predictable, consistent, and fair.  And aren't we thankful for that! The beauty queen and best player have the same consequence and reward as the rest of us. Moses, God's chosen leader, was held accountable for disobedience (Number 20). Samson, a judge chosen by God, maintained supernatural strength as long as he followed God's directions. However, God allowed Samson to suffer the consequences of foolish behavior: the Philistines cut his hair, blinded and imprisoned him. Ultimately Samson gained victory over himself and over his enemies; God did not abandon Samson but answered his prayer.

Not all consequences are bad. In fact, the disciplining of the Corinthian adulterer caused him to repent and return to Christ. Paul urged the brethren to reaffirm their love to him (2 Cor. 2:3- 9). The renewal of Christian fellowship was crucial in helping this brother remain faithful. It remains the same today. We can not live without consequences. Some believe, because God does not punish sin immediately, He will not punish it at all. "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" (Eccl. 8:11). This is a serious mistake. In this life we might evade many bad consequences. However, in judgment all will be made right. Everyone will stand before God to be judged based on the things we have done on earth (2 Cor. 5:10). Don't buy into the idea of a culture with no consequences, for there is no such place in existence.

---David Hartsell

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Sensational Religion 

“Sensational journalism” is the norm of the day. In an effort to spruce up newspapers, magazines, television news, and even the weather, the appeal is to the physical senses to get and hold our attention. Sad, though true, many religious groups have resorted to what I call “sensational religion” in order to get and hold a crowd. This has been accomplished in many ways. Some religious groups have resorted to more than modest church buildings with expensive stain glass and lavish furnishings to appeal to people.

Worship, if you want to call it that, in many churches has become a “sensational” event. Elegantly clothed choirs perform before an audience of “worshipers”. Numerous and expensive electronic musical instruments are used to further the sensation. With all the talent that is on display, it is a wonder that some churches don’t start charging admission to get in instead of waiting until after you are there to take up a “love offering”.

Preachers are certainly not immune to giving in to sensational tactics. If the flashy expensive clothing and jewelry some wear don’t grab your attention, their preaching style is sure to do the job. They almost always manage to get the audience worked up into an emotional frenzy by telling a series of death bed stories or human tragedy experiences. As the pitch becomes feverish, some preachers resort to unscriptural tactics such as claiming to speak in unknown tongues like disciples did in the first century. With only tidbits of the Bible being used up to this point, the Bible is sure to be thrown out the window when the call is made to come down to the front. Some call it the “altar call” but whatever words are used to describe it, the preacher is challenging the audience to come forward to either pray their sins away or to relate their experience of salvation. Nothing could be further from what the Bible teaches but it makes for a sensational time for people to shout and holler, leap and jump around like a bunch of unruly children.

After everything finally gets calmed down and services are dismissed, everyone goes home with an “emotional” high. The interesting thing about all this is that it seems to be addictive because they expect to get this “high” every time they go. Yes, religion in many quarters has become very sensational and it is the church that offers and sustains the highest sensations that generally have the larger crowds. Could it be that while our physical senses are feasting our souls could still be thirsting for something more?

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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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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