Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                          June 8, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 14



One method that is used to change people's belief is the use of public opinion polls. It's a clever approach because we as humans - for the most part - like to blend in with the rest of society.

Daily we are confronted with "statistics" which are gathered from polls as to whether something is right or wrong.  A colorful bar-graph in the corner of a newspaper may inform us that 55 percent of all Americans believe that one's "sexual preference" should not be a factor in determining whether they should be accepted into military; a TV network news program, before going to a commercial, may display a graphic showing that a majority of Americans believe the elderly and infirm ought to be able to commit suicide; a talk-show host may cite the results of a national poll that reveals that most Americans want the public schools to provide their children birth control advice and products. And the list goes on.

We are being fooled if we think this is anything other than an attempt to gradually change people's beliefs. The frightening part is that it's working. People are actually swayed by the results of polls. 

Confronted day after day that I am out of step with society, I am inclined to think that there must be something wrong with my thinking.  Gradually, most people come around to thinking like most others in society.

The fact of the matter is that public opinion has absolutely nothing to do with determining truth. Though polls might be of interest to us, they should not influence our beliefs about right and wrong. A poll taken in Iraq would likely show that most of that nation favors the destruction of America. Does that make it right?

Of course, Christians are aware that our Lord expect us to be different from most of our neighbors. We are warned that we are not to be "conformed to this world" (Rom.12:2). So, it should not affect our convictions when we hear that we are not in the mainstream of our society. Our convictions are based on God's word, which does not change with the polls.

When told that most people believe one thing, let's not be ashamed to say that we believe something else -- and that we believe it because our Creator has revealed the truth on the matter (Rom. 1:16). We need to remember that the vast majority of those polled are running headlong to destruction (Matt.7:13).

I once saw a sign which declared, "The Lord and I make a majority." That sounds good on the surface, but in reality, the Lord makes a majority whether I am with Him or not!  It is my task to make sure that I am following Him --not "what seems right" which in reality is "the way of death" (Prov. 14:12).

One final point: What applies to polls of the general public, also applies to polls among brethren. Truth cannot be determined by finding out what most brethren believe and/or practice.

   —Al Diestelkamp

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Have you noticed your children lately? The baby who couldn't do anything but cry last month can now turn over by himself. The toddler who pleaded to be read to last week is suddenly a six year old who independently reads to himself. And the youngster who just yesterday wanted to borrow a crayon, today wants to borrow the car. All too soon, these eternal products of our stewardship will walk out our doors to begin lives of their own, never to return again in the same way.

All of our gifts from God come with a tag attached: "On loan. Manage properly. Be a good steward." "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful" (1 Cor. 4:21). Our children are near the pinnacle of God's richest gifts. Every parent could say along with Jacob, who when asked about his offspring said, "They are the children God has graciously given your servant" (Gen.33:5). Like turning out products at a factory, we parents have scheduling deadlines that must be met. We cannot put a child on hold until we have more time. They will grow up with our having nurtured them in the Lord, or they will grow up without it.  But they will grow up. We must strike while the iron is hot, and it is only hot for a few fleeting years.

Do you have a plan for carrying out God's commands to you as a parent? Are you deliberately and purposefully developing and implementing specific strategies that will start your sons and daughters on the road to maturity in Christ Jesus? Do you realize the urgency and infinite importance of this stewardship, or are you just haphazardly hoping that everything will somehow turn out right?

It would be great to save the world. But we need to begin with our little corner of it. Because one day the Master who owns these children is going to make us give an account for how we managed His precious gifts. "But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief' (1 Thess.5:4).

—Jim King

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The use of fleshly incentives to draw people to worship services is becoming more and more common. One church offers free cokes, doughnuts, and balloons to its bus riders. Another offers a prize to the child who brings the most visitors. Still another uses some sports figure or entertainer to attract a crowd. Dinners and socials; elaborate church buildings; "Friendliest church in town" or "Fastest-growing church in town" advertising; the list of gimmicks is almost endless.

A study of 1 Corinthians, chapters 1 and 2, suggests that the people of our generation are not the first to demand fleshly incentives. The Jews and Greeks of Paul's day demanded them. "For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom" (1 Cor 1:22). Paul could have produced both, but he refused to do so: "But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumblingblock and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1:23-24).

Paul recognized the fact that some people are just not "convertible": "For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1:26). Why are such infrequently called? Because the majority place their trust in the flesh rather than in God. They are fleshly-minded. And Paul was not about to coax fleshly-minded, "unconvertible" people "into the church" by the use of signs, wisdom, excellency of speech, enticing words, or any other fleshly incentive. To do so would result in getting their names on a "church roll," but not in bringing them to Christ to the saving of their souls.

If Paul refused to use signs and wisdom as fleshly incentives, what would have been his reaction to the use of cokes and doughnuts? If he came "not with excellence of speech or of wisdom" (1 Cor 2:1), what would he have said concerning attempts to attract crowds through the use of sports figures and entertainers? If Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, followed a "no fleshly incentive” policy, should that not be our policy? And should we not always be able to say with Paul, "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (2:2)? 

—Bill Hall

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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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