Know Your Bible

VOL. 12                                                                                                                          November 24, 2013                                                                                                                            NO. 39



"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son,.. ."(Hebrews 1:1,2). Any voice not in agreement with God's Word is a conflicting voice. We hear a lot of voices in the religious world and they all profess to be speaking God's Word. Yet, they conflict each other and this has lead to the different denominations that are in existence.

I have yet to met a preacher, or hear one preach, who does not say he is preaching what the Bible says. They all claim to preach only what God would have them preach. However, when I compare what they preach with what I preach, there are clear differences. Some time ago I attended the funeral of my aunt. The preacher made the statement several times that he only wanted to preach what God would have him to preach. Well, that's exactly what I want to do so I expected him to preach the same things I preach. As his sermon pro-gressed it was obvious that he and I don't preach the same things especially when it come to what a person must do to be saved. He was telling his audience to accept Jesus as their personal Savior and I've never preached that. Is he preaching God's word? If he is, then what am I preaching when I preach something different from him? Is he sincere in what he preaches? I'm sure he is but, then again, so am 1. One or the other of us is right or it could be possible that we are both wrong but we both can't be right. If I were to ask two people what is the sum of 3,250 and 6,750 and one answered 10,000 and the other answered 100,000, could I say both were right? No, certainly not! We understand this as we apply it to mathematics but we want to throw away logic when it comes to religion and say the preacher preaching my aunt’s funeral and I are both right. No, we are divided even though both profess to be worshiping the same God and preaching the message of God.

What is the way to solve this dilemma? Can I compare him to me? No! "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." (2 Cor. 10:12). There has to be a higher standard by which we can measure the things being taught in the religious world. That standard of reference is to be the Word of God.

We must take God's Word and take God at His Word. It is not for me or anyone else to interpret what God says because God means what He says. If I tell my children to go to the store for milk and bread, they do not have to interpret what I said, they must simply do what I've told them to do. When Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16) that is not left up to anyone's interpretation. We must simply do what He says. Since I can no where read in the Bible that a person must accept Christ as their personal Savior, I would be conflicting with what God says to preach such a thing. When we read: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (James 2:24), anyone who teaches a person is saved the moment they believe is a voice conflicting with what God has said.

In all that we hear taught, let us compare it to God's Word and be sure we are "rightly dividing the word of truth" (l Timothy 2:15). God means what He says and says what He means. No one needs to interpret what God has said. It is when God's Word is interpreted that all these conflicting voices can be heard.

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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T When the great crises of life loom before you, would you rather have assurance from God or self-assurance?  Great moments of choice and lifelong decisions in terms of consequence should be based upon the strongest assurance available.  To true believers, assurance from God is the most profound and only choice upon which to base life's pathway.  Self-assurance is empty when it lacks divine guidance, and all human assurance is subject to the frailty of human knowledge, experience, and absence of foreknowledge.

The believer has the greatest source of assurance, but "not all have faith" (2 Thes. 3:2).  Many who claim to have faith do not seek solutions to their problems in life from the wisdom of God. Many who say that they are Christians have opportunity to marry faithful  Christians who are steadfast and strong, but the opportunists choose rather to marry unbelievers of poor character to their own hurt and ruin.  They assure those who exhort and warn them that they know what they are doing and that all will be well. Their marriages end in divorce, and their children suffer the burden of their parents' folly for most of their lives.

Many professed believers seek salvation in ways not commanded of God, while refusing to accept God's way and His assurance in His Word.  Rejecting God's assurance, they choose their own standard of conduct, their spiritual fellowship, their own churches, their own form of religious conduct, and their own code of morals and ethics.  All the while, they assure themselves that all is well with their soul-self-assurance of salvation.

True believers turn to the Lord for their "full assurance of  faith:" (Heb. 10:22). "Teach me Thy way, O Lord, teach me Thy way," they sing and pray. They apply themselves to diligent study of the Word of God with the aim of complying with it and walking in "the old paths wherein is the good way" (Jer. 6:16), unwilling to walk elsewhere. They pursue diligence in faithful service to God "to the full assurance of hope until the end" (Heb. 6:11). They seek to enrich their hearts "to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:2,3). What a comfort it is to do anything with the assurance of the Word of God that it is the right and proper thing to do! No nagging doubts or fearful worries accompany assurance from God. Our hearts are assured before God when we live and love as we ought (1 Jno. 3:14-19). 

Assurance that originates from self or from mankind is a form of pride and self-exaltation.  Assurance from God honors and glorifies God and keeps human humility intact.  If we know that we cannot see prophetically, that knowledge should impel us to seek the greater knowledge and guidance of God, to study and apply the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise for salvation which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15). Then "blessed assurance" reigns, and we can say with Job, "I know that my Redeemer lives," and with Paul, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until that day."

---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.

--- E.R. Hall, Jr.





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