Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                          January 20, 2013                                                                                                                            NO. 51



Let us suppose that an evangelist comes to our community to conduct a religious meeting and proceeds as follows:

·      At the first service he preaches that salvation is by faith only. but at the next one he contends that it is by faith exercised in obedience to the gospel rather than by faith alone.

·      At the third service he declares that either sprinkling, pouring or immersion is baptism, but at the fourth service he plainly shows that immersion is baptism.

·      At the fifth service he says that penitent believers are the only spiritual subjects of baptism, but at the sixth service he teaches that babies should be baptized due to original sin.’

·      At the seventh service he preaches once in grace, always in grace, but at the eighth he tells the people that it is possible for them to fall from grace, that some have fallen, and that the Bible tells how to keep from falling.

·      At the ninth service he teaches that it is right to have human creeds, but at the tenth he declares that we should take the Bible as our only guide in religion.

No thoughtful person would continue to listen to ONE preacher like that, but the majority of people 'are perfectly willing for TEN preachers to preach these conflicting ideas. They say that if one man should preach that way he would contradict himself and be inconsistent, but what kind of a God do they suppose we have if He endorses all these conflicting doctrines and has sent out these preachers to present them?

---Leslie G. Thomas

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What is the kingdom of heaven? John the Baptist came preaching, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2). Jesus also preached saying: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). And when a ruler of the Jews named Nicodemus came to Jesus one night, Jesus taught  him saying: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (Jn. 3:3). What are John the Baptist and Jesus speaking of?  Let's shine the light of Scripture on this question and see that they are speaking of the church.

First let's notice that the kingdom was close in the days of John the Baptist and Jesus. Both taught that the kingdom was "at hand" (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). Jesus also taught that the kingdom was near in Mk. 1:14,15 where we read: "Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying: 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.'" Whatever the kingdom is, it was close to coming in when Jesus and John called for repentance in their preaching.

We should also notice that the phrases “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” refer to the same thing. Jesus uses these synonymously in Matt. 19:23,24: "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'"

Now look at Matt. 16:18,19. The church and the kingdom of heaven are the same thing. Notice how Jesus uses these terms interchangeably in this passage. It reads: "And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

The Bible teaches that the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, and the church are the same thing. John the Baptist and Jesus preached that it was near. By the time the book of Hebrews was written, the kingdom had come. Notice what we read in Heb. 12:22,23: "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the  living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect." And just a few verses later, in Heb. 12:28, the same writer refers to the church of the firstborn as a kingdom. Heb. 12:28 reads: "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."

It is easy to see from these passages that the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, and the church are the same thing. It is also easy to see from these passages that the kingdom, or the church, has already come. Now think back to what Jesus taught Nicodemus in Jn. 3:3, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

---Tony Hudson

The Lighted Path, October, 2012 

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Should Christians tithe today? This is a very good question and one that is important. Tithing involves giving one-tenth to God. Many speak of tithing today, but is it binding upon Christians?

Tithing was a part of the Law of Moses, and there are very strict regulations concerning tithing found in such passages as Leviticus 27:30-34, Deuteronomy 12:5-18, and Numbers 18:21-32. The Old Testament is the only place where we can learn how to tithe, thus, if we are going to tithe, it is from various Old Testament passages that we must learn how to do it. 

There are many practices which were a part of the old law, the Law of Moses, which are not a part of the new law, the Law of Christ. Some examples are animal sacrifices, the Levitical priesthood system, Sabbath (Saturday) worship, and worship at the temple in Jerusalem. 

The Bible teaches that the old law has been taken out of the way (Col. 2:14-17, Rom. 7:6) and that it was not sufficient to take away sins (Heb. 10:1-4). Today, we are under the Law of Christ which is called the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25). The Old Testament is important, and we can still learn much from it, but it, as our law, was removed with the death of Christ.

Since the old law has been removed, the practice of tithing, which was a part of that law, has been removed and is therefore not applicable to Christians today. Does this mean that Christians are not required to give to God? Certainly it does not. While tithing is not required of Christians in the New Testament, we are still told to give on the first day of the week. I Corinthians 16:2 says, "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God has prospered him that there be no gatherings when I come." In the New Testament, the exact percentage/amount that one must give is not stated, but Christians are simply to give as THEY HAVE BEEN PROSPERED. The exact amount is left up to us. Not being told a precise amount might make matters even more difficult for us. We must make sure that the amount that we give is enough to be pleasing to the Lord. We would not want to abuse this "liberty" and give less than God expects.

---Mike Johnson

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Trends . . .

35% of people who use personal ads for dating are already married.

- via

Hebrews 13:4  “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” 

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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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