Know Your Bible

VOL. 7                           June 22, 2008                           NO. 22

The Importance Of Today -

What Else Do We Have?

    The worth of any object is found in its value to the person. It does not have to be of great monetary gain to be of great value. A precious gift from a friend or a treasure handed down from a parent can hold more worth than the largest jewel or precious stone. The one thing all men possess that must be treasured above all things is the value of today. While men search the world for treasures of untold worth and lives are spent working daily to gain more of the material world, lost is the value of the moments of time we all have.

    A golden bracelet can be lost and found years later by a treasure hunter. The Egyptians have shown us that all that man possesses in this world is left for other men to discover in their tombs of death. The one thing that all men possess that when lost can never be regained is time. The hearts of men mourn over what could have been. The final swing of the bat in the final inning of the game misses the ball and the game is lost. There is no turning back the hands of time to allow one more pitch. The moment of opportunity to say, "I love you," passes and death takes away the life of our loved one _ time is forever gone.

    It is the nature of man to plan for tomorrow. We have ideals, goals and desires that we look forward too in the future. Plans are made for marriage, for children, for retirement, for every part of our life. With the uncertainty of tomorrow comes the knowledge that while we are judges of our future, the days that lie before us will seldom be what we expect. The days of tomorrow never come as we can only live in the time of today.

    There is worth is looking back to yesterday if we learn from where we have come. There is value in looking to tomorrow if we see with eyes of faith what can be done with God. These two days - yesterday and tomorrow - are built upon all of our "today's." That is all we have. What else do we have to cling to and to build upon but today? The importance of today is illustrated by James in James 4:13-17: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.' But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."

    Does this not sound like our lives? We make plans for the future and expect to have all our dreams come true. Is this not the tragic lesson of September 11? Did anyone think they were going to die that day? Is that not how we all live in the belief that tomorrow will always come? Today is all we have and all we will ever be given. Hebrews 9:27 says, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." The admonition of the wise man in Ecclesiastes 12:1 is to "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, "'I have no pleasure in them'".

    The worth of today is the value of all eternity. We live such short lives but upon these moments in time, eternity depends. How are we using these precious moments? "For He says: 'In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.'" (2 Corinthians 6:2) Our life is a vapor and we must live each day with the words of God upon our lips. "Thy will be done." It is at this altar of faith that we will find the true worth of today.

---Kent Heaton

"Preach, But Leave Others Alone!"

    The above caption not only represents the thinking of a great majority of people in the denominations, but unfortunately it reflects the attitude of some of our own brethren. It involves the idea that we should preach only what is agreeable to everyone, avoiding anything of a controversial nature.

    First of all, it is impossible to preach the truth and leave other people alone. It does not matter what subject a gospel preacher may select, it will contradict the belief of somebody. For instance, suppose that I should decide to preach on the subject of God. In that sermon I point out that there is but one God and no other. I point out the attributes of God, showing the characteristics of God as taught in the Bible. That sermon would meet the approval of many people, but are we so naive as to believe it would meet the approval of everyone? It certainly would not leave the atheist alone.

    But suppose that I should decide to preach on the subject of Christ. I go to the word of God and prove His virgin birth, His divinity, His pure and sinless life, His example for us to follow, and the authority of His teaching. This sermon too would meet the approval of many, but even that kind of preaching would not be agreeable to the orthodox Jew who rejects Christ as the Messiah. Are we to cease preaching Christ because it offends the Jew?

    But now I decide to preach on baptism. I simply preach what the New Testament says about it. I quote such passages as Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Galatians 3:27 and 1 Peter 3:21. However, when I do this I am not leaving a good majority of religious people alone. A good part of the denominational world would not be in agreement with my preaching on baptism because a good part of the denominational world denies the essentiality of baptism as a condition of salvation. Should I refrain from preaching on baptism because it does not leave others alone?

    I preach on the one church that is revealed in the New Testament. I quote such passages as Ephesians 4:4; 1:22, and Colossians 1:18. But that kind of preaching does not please those who teach and believe that there are many churches and that one is just as good as another. Am I to stop preaching on the one church because there are people who disagree?

    The truth is very plain that it is absolutely impossible to preach on any Bible subject and leave other people alone. God does not expect us to do so. Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10, "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ."

    People must know the difference between truth and error that they may be saved from their sins. Many are sincere, but wrong; many are honest, but they are misled. It is only when error is pointed out to people that they will know to leave error.

---Hoyt Houchen

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