Know Your Bible

VOL. 9                           June 27, 2010                           NO. 26

 "Back To Basics"


            A coach of a football team was being interviewed following his team’s embarrassing loss to a much weaker team. He said that it was going to be necessary for his team to “get back to the basics” if they wished to be a winning team. The coach realized that the team had not built a winning tradition on the “razzle-dazzle” and “hot-dog” plays, but had done so by concentrating on the “basics” of good football. When the team forgot the “basics” and engaged in the “exciting” and the “unusual plays” they had momentary success (maybe one touchdown) and caused much excitement among the spectators. However this success was short-lived and the excitement did not last when the team was unable to win consistently with such play. They needed to get “back to the basics” if they were to have long-term success.


            I believe there is a lesson in the above story for members of the body of Christ. It seems that many members (including some preachers) become bored with “the basics” when it comes to serving God. They decide that we need something new and more exciting.  To simply preach the gospel of Christ and encourage men and women to abide in the teaching of God’s word in all they say and do is just “too old fashioned” and boring to them. So, they come up with something “new” and exciting. They appeal to people with recreation and entertainment. They devise various social projects and make them the work of the church. They begin to sound like denominational theologians rather than preachers of the gospel of Christ. As a result of such actions these brethren meet with what they consider success. They attract attention and their numbers increase.  There is “excitement” in their midst. They are “on the move.”  However, the new soon wears off these “new” projects and it soon becomes apparent that there is no real and lasting value to these “new and exciting” ways. To have such lasting value we must get back to the basics.


            We must realize that the long and lasting value is in doing that which will bring God’s favor upon us. We can not turn away from “the basics” of His will and expect to please Him. We may receive some momentary “pleasure” or “excitement” from doing “our own thing” but we must remember that such pleasure is but “for a season” (Hebrews 11:25).


            Brethren, let us get back to telling men and women that "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). Let's tell them that Christ has "all authority" (Matthew 28:18-20). Declare unto them that there is "one body, and one Spirit, ... one hope ..., one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God ..." (Ephesians 4:4-6). Let's encourage all men to "speak the same thing that there be no division" (1 Corinthians 1:10).


            I realize that in doing this we will be accused of being "narrow-minded" and "tradition bound." Some will say that our teaching and practices are "out-dated" and are not relevant to the needs of modern man. Others will say that we believe that "only your little group" is going to be saved. However, there is something very notable about the things I suggested we should get back to teaching; they are found in the word of God.


            May I ask, "What's wrong with just telling men and women what we find revealed in the word of God?" If men have not done what the Bible teaches one must do to receive the forgiveness of sin what right do I have to suggest to him that he is OK and is acceptable before God? If one who has been baptized into Christ sins what right to I have to tell him that so long as he was sincere or was ignorant of his sin he is justified? What is wrong with simply telling such a one that he should repent and confess his sins (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9)?


            Something else may sound more appealing and may attract more people for the moment but if men and women are to be saved (have long term success) they must "get back to the basics" of God's word.  We can not improve upon it. When we content ourselves with following "the basics" of God's word we will meet with eternal success, that home in heaven with God, Christ and the righteous of all time.

---James Hahn


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Clothing That Pleases God


            Does God care what kind of clothing the Christian wears? Are Christians free to wear whatever is considered fashionable or socially acceptable? These questions are legitimate and should be asked by all Christians.


            This writer is convinced that Christians choose their clothing based upon fashion and social acceptability rather than upon what is pleasing to God. Is it any wonder that we are not as effective in our evangelistic efforts?Why can't Christians see that being "a peculiar people" (1 Peter 2:9) and that letting "... your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16), includes how we dress? It is impossible to be peculiar people and lights unto the world while wearing the same type clothing as worldly people. I am not saying that all worldly people dress inappropriately. Worldly people sometimes dress in a godly, modest way. It is the wearing of clothing that is without moral conscience or without consideration for the occasion and one's station in life that we condemn.


            Christians must be aware that clothing reflects the character of a person. Genesis 38:13-18 gives the account of Tamar putting off her widows garments and putting on the garments of a harlot. When she did this, not only was she treated like a harlot; but she acted like one. And then of course, Proverbs 7:10 speaks of the harlot's attire as well. At the auspicious occasion of laying the foundation of the temple, the priests were set in their priestly apparel (Ezra 3:10). This was done to put everyone in the frame of mind to praise Jehovah. When the king wanted to honor Mordecai, he had him dressed in the king's apparel and carried through the streets on the king's horse (Esther 6:8). Why did the apparel honor Mordecai? It let all who saw, know that he was someone from whom the king would take council. Upon considering the above scriptures, does anyone have doubt that how a person dresses their body may influence their actions and affects what others think about them?


            When Christian women who profess themselves to be godly, dress in sexually provocative clothing, what message are they sending to a lost world? When Christian men who proclaim to be children of God undress themselves from the waste up and parade naked in public, what message are they sending to a lost world? Christian men and women who invite their friends and neighbors to visit the assemblies, then dress in an unconcerned, sloven way (the type clothing they might wear to work in their garden but not to meet the President of the United States) are sending the wrong message to those visitors?


            I accept that when assembled for worship services, Christian men aren't commanded to wear three hundred dollar suits nor Christian women to wear designer dresses from Paris. However, we should dress in a manner that respects God. Could it be that some Christians respect the President more than God!           


                                                                                                                                                                        ---Glen Young


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                             Are You Sure It Doesn't Matter?


    Imagine yourself walking into a drug store to have a prescription filled. You hand the pharmacist the form from your doctor, and then watch in amazement as he throws it in the wastebasket without even reading it. Then, without reading the label, he hands you a bottle of pills. By now you've gotten your nerve up, and you ask, "Man, what are you doing?" "Well," he answers, "I'm giving you some medicine." "But you didn't read the prescription, and you didn't even look at the label on these pills." "It doesn't matter," he says. "Medicine is medicine - one pill is as good as another." "No sir!" you object, "I want the pills that my doctor prescribed, and no others."


            There's very little chance that you will ever visit that drug store again. Common sense says that this is no way to handle the important business of our physical health. Why not allow the same kind of common sense to help us in the far more important realm of spiritual things? For some reason folks have decided that "anything goes" in religion. "Join the church of your choice" has become more than a mere slogan - it is the rule that most people live by. "One church is just as good as another," we are told. How can this possibly be so?


            Jesus said, "In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). Note that the Lord says that some worship is "vain," meaning worthless or good for nothing. He goes on to explain why it is worthless - because it follows the commandments of men rather than the will of God (Colossians 3:17). Are you sure that one church is as good as another? Think!

---Greg Gwin

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