Know Your Bible

VOL. 14                                                                                                                         July 10, 2016                                                                                                                            NO. 17



Answering this question requires some honest introspection. It also assumes that all members of a congregation have some interest in whether they are of any value to the accomplishment of the congregation's purposes. This is a question that is easily avoided by those who may be afraid of the answer.

A congregation, according to the New Testament pattern, is made up of Christians who have agreed to three things: (1) to be a congregation whereby the many may act together as one in worship and work; (2) to submit to a common oversight; and (3) to pool their resources together to accomplish mutually agreed upon work. Such a covenant is effective only when "the whole body, joined and knit together by which every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share" (Eph. 4:16).

To some what the congregation does is something, apparently, just to watch sort of like a spectator sport. They come to services, but hardly participate in the worship. They don't sing, and we can only wonder whether they join in the prayers. They seem to have little interest in the sermon and may sleep through most of it. The Lord's supper seems to be observed perfunctorily. There would be no worship if it were up to them, but fortunately, others find joy and strength in participating in divine worship.

Some folks, I'm reluctant to say, view the local congregation only from the standpoint of what it does for them. The question they most frequently ask is: 'What is the congregation worth to me?' They seldom stop to realize that the congregation can give to them only what someone else has contributed to it. If they are learning, it is only because someone else is willing to teach. They meet in a clean building because someone else has cleaned it. They profit from the singing because someone is willing to use his talents to lead it and others wholeheartedly join in. If all of these "someones" were to be like them, nothing would be done.

What am I worth to the church? Can I be counted on to help when there is work to be done? Do I accomplish what I commit myself to do? Am I carrying my share of the financial burdens of the congregation's work?

Am I willing to do my share in the teaching program? Do I faithfully attend the services of the congregation? Is my membership in the congregation worth something to the other members, or am I looking at it only from the standpoint of what they can do for me?

Am I of negative value to the congregation; that is, as a constant complainer, a critic of the efforts of others, as one who selfishly insists on having it his own way all the time, or a pessimist who discourages everyone else?

Am I one who helps solve problems that come up in the congregation, or am I a part of the problems?

Instead of avoiding the answer to the question, "What am I worth to the congregation?" let me try to answer it introspectively and honestly. To paraphrase a former president, "Ask not what the congregation can do for you; ask what you can do for the congregation."

—Ben Shropshire

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Jesus said, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). Repentance - true repentance - is surely one of the hardest things God has commanded us to do. It is important that we understand true repentance.


Repentance is not:

- Simply quitting your sin.  A man might stop drinking because he can no longer afford it, or stop beating his wife because she has him arrested, or stop cursing because he lost his voice. The sin has stopped, but no repentance has taken place.

- Hiding your sin.  The fact that a person tries to conceal his sin does not prove he has repented. Remember how David tried to hide his sin with Bathsheba?

- Being sorry.  Many are sorry for the consequences of their sin, the results of their sin, the pain their sin has caused for themselves or for others. But this sorrow is not real repentance.


Repentance is:       

- A change of heart that leads to a change of action.  Jesus illustrated repentance perfectly in two of his parables. In one He described this situation:  "A certain man had two sons; and he came to first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard.  He answered and said, I will not but afterward he repented, and went" (Matthew 21:28,29). Do you see it? Clearly there was a change of thinking followed by a change of conduct. Again, Jesus told of the prodigal son who had ruined his life but "came to himself" and "arose and came to his father” (Luke 15:11-32). His obvious change of attitude prompted him to return to his father's house and confess his unworthiness. This is repentance.


What about you? Have you had this important change of heart that has caused you to turn to God in obedience?  Remember, God "now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Act 17:30). s God's people in this local community we have the duty to

—Greg Gwin

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People are often unreasonable, 

Illogical, and self-centered;

Love them anyway.


If you are kind, 

People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.


If you are successful, 

You will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.


If you are honest and frank, 

People may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.


What you spend years building, 

Someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.


If you find serenity and happiness, 

They may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.


The good you do today, 

People will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.


Give the world the best you have, 

And it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you've got anyway.


You see, in the final analysis, 

It is between you and God;

It never was between you and them anyway.


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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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