Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                           January 31, 2011                           NO. 5

 The Church's Purpose
     What is the purpose of the Lord's church? Is it to eradicate poverty, disease, social injustice, illiteracy from among men? Is it to bring about a cessation of war and conflict? Is it to campaign for a temptation-free society for Christians to live in?
     If the church had as one of its great goals the eradication of disease, the Lord could have easily equipped it to accomplish that goal. Could not the same power that enabled one blind man to see have enabled all blind men to see; that enabled one lame man to walk have enabled all lame people to walk; that cured many people of varied diseases have cured all people of all diseases? And could not this same power have been given to the church in all generations?
     If the church has as one of its great goals the eradication of poverty, the Lord could have easily equipped it to accomplish this purpose. After all, He fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes. He similarly fed four thousand on another occasion. Could not He who did these marvelous works have enabled His church in all generations to feed, clothe, and shelter the impoverished masses of the world through miraculous powers?
     If the Lord had wanted His church to become a lobbyist group to apply political pressure toward a temptation and persecution-free society in which to live, He would have given instructions in that direction. He did not even lead His church into a direct effort to destroy slavery, but taught the Christian slave to be a better slave and the Christian master to treat his slaves as he would have his heavenly Master treat him (Colossians 3:22-4:1).
     The church's purpose is to save souls and prepare people for eternity--It holds out to the impoverished the hope of some day walking a street of gold; to the suffering a time when there will be no pain; to the sorrowing a moment when "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." It tells the tempted and persecuted that there is value in these afflictions, that the testing of their faith is "more precious than of gold," and to rejoice -- It tells all to live godly lives in whatever environment they find themselves. It seeks to change people through the power of the gospel, not society through the coercion of legislators -- Its weapons "are not carnal, but are mighty through God." Its motivating theme: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
     When churches become involved in hospital and health clinic work, or when they build schools for the education of their children, or when they see as one of their great missions to provide for the world's poverty, or when they feel obligated to create social upheaval and campaign for human rights, or when they feel called upon to express their views on the government's use of nuclear armaments or whatever, they have a distorted view of the purpose of the church.
---Bill Hall
Page 1

How Many Roads To Heaven?
    On a map you can see many roads into any major city.  You can pick whatever route suits you. Many people think the same thing about variety among churches - “We’re all on different roads to the same place!” they say. Can such a thing be so? 
     Do you believe we can follow different roads? What does the Bible say about it? The Bible speaks of only two roads. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said, “...the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Yes, there are different roads, but only one goes to Heaven, and it is narrow.
     In John 4, when the woman at the well met Jesus, she immediately pointed out that her people worshipped differently from His (4:19-20). Jesus did not reply that both roads led to the same place - He said that one road was right and the other was wrong (4:22), and that if she wished to please God, her worship must be “in truth” (4:24).
     In Acts 15:1-31, the apostles disputed with some who believed in Jesus but taught error about what one must do to be saved. Instead of concluding that there were different roads, they gave notice to the churches that one road was right and the other was wrong.
     The idea of “different roads” is used to avoid discussing different religious teachings and practices. After all, does doctrine really matter if your attitude is right? Indeed it does. The Bible says that there are doctrines that God hates (Revelation 2:15), and that some doctrines are of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). Taking heed to doctrine is necessary for salvation (1 Timothy 4:16, 2 John 9), because obedience to God's "form of doctrine" is what makes one free from sin (Romans 6:17-18). Even many who believe in Jesus are on the wrong road because they do not obey (Luke 6:46, Matthew 7:21-23).
     Multiple roads result when men choose their own ways, but only God’s way is right. The “different roads” philosophy has led churches to abandon the question of what is right, and instead accept a wide diversity of belief. But we should not be ashamed to say that some beliefs are right, and others are wrong, because that is what God says. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). If people are on different roads, they are not all headed for Heaven.                                                  
---Erin Percell
Page 2

Why Pray If There Are No Miracles?
     The Bible plainly claims that God hears and answers the prayers of His faithful children (1 Peter 3:12). But it also dearly teaches that the age of miracles has ended (1 Corinthians 13:8-13). Some see a contradiction here. If there are no miracles, then how can God answer our prayers? They ask: Why should we pray if there are no miracles?
     This question reveals a concept that is in error. Basically, it assumes if prayers are to be answered a miracle must occur. This has never been true--even during times when God was working miracles.
     James promises us that “the effectual fervent pray of a righteous man availeth much” (5:16). He proceeds to use Elijah as an example of this (vs. 17,18). He was “a man subject to like passions as we are.” God empowered him to work many miracles, but James makes reference to a non-miraculous episode in his life when “he prayed earnestly that it might not rain.” God answered that prayer and “it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.” Then Elijah “prayed again, and the heaven gave rain.” How did all of this happen? Were miracles involved? 1 Kings 18:41-46 supplies the complete information. The rain that came in answer to his prayer started as “a little cloud out of the sea,” and developed into the skies being “black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain.” Do you see it? God worked by natural means. There was no miracle. Natural forces at work — under God’s direction -- brought the answer to Elijah’s prayer.
     God could (and sometimes did) suspend and override natural laws in order to produce a miracle. He chooses not to work in that way today. But He can act through and in accordance with natural laws to answer prayers and bring His will to pass. He does NOT need to suspend natural law in order to answer prayer.
     Therefore, “be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6).                                          
---Greg Gwin
Page 3


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.

Bible Classes ……….....….…............ 10:00 AM
Morning Worship ……..…….….…...... 11:00 AM
Evening Worship …………...……........ 6:00 PM
Bible Classes …………..………........... 7:30 PM
Radio Program
Monday - Friday
WDXC 102.3 FM .....................…........ 10:20 AM
Television Program
Comcast Cable - Heritage TV - Digital Channel 266 ............ 6:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Comcast Cable - Heritage TV - Digital Channel 266 ............ 2:00 PM
World Wide Web:


UNSUBSCRIBE: Reply to and put UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

SUBSCRIBE FRIENDS: Reply to and put SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. Place the list of names and e-mail addresses to be subscribed in the body of the e-mail.