Know Your Bible

VOL. 14                                                                                                                         March 20, 2016                                                                                                                            NO. 1



  We are saved, "IF" we keep in memory God's Word. "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, IF ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:1,2).

We are the house of God, "IF" we hold fast to the end. "And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; who house we are, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Hebrews 3:5,6).

We are holy, "IF" we continue in the faith. "And you, that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight: IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;" (Colossians 1:21-23).

We are cleansed by His blood, "IF" we walk in the light. "But IF we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7).

We will never fall, "IF" we do these things. "And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for IF ye do these things, ye shall never fall:" (2 Peter 1:5-10). 

—E.R. Hall, Jr.

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As we reach forward to God, we all know how frustrating it is to be discouraged in our efforts. Knowing this, we ought to shrink from doing anything that would discourage someone else as they try to make progress. In the Lord's view of things, it is no slight offense to be a "stumbling block," particularly to those who've not yet acquired much strength of their own. Jesus said: "It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!  It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that  he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:1,2). The Lord considers it a serious sin to discourage others.

In another place, Jesus upbraided some of the religious scholars of His day. He said: "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered" (Lk. 11:52). As expert students of the Scriptures, these individuals might have been expected to be the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. When they refused to deal honestly with the evidence and enter the kingdom, their sin was a double transgression: "You did not enter in yourselves," Jesus said:  “and those who were entering in you hindered."

But we, perhaps like these people, tend not to take responsibility. We're quick to take credit for any good influence we’ve had, but we're not so eager to accept blame when when we’ve had a negative impact. If our associates have made bad choices we would argue that those choices were their own responsibility. Nothing we had done "made" them act as they did. And that’s true, obviously. But if others end up being lost for the sinful choices they made, we also may lose our souls for having made their choices more difficult.

“No man is so insignificant as to be sure his example can do no harm." wrote Edward Hyde. It's hard enough already for those around us to keep moving ahead. If, by our example, we make it even harder for them, we should expect God's displeasure. And not only that, we should expect to find our own lives less happy.

—Gary Henry

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"That's just the preacher, and that's just his opinion." With these words the sermon that has just been delivered is dismissed and the lesson ignored. Everything the preacher has taught is wiped away with the stroke of a very wide brush. “ t's just his opinion, don’t worry about it."

Do preachers have opinions? Of course, they do! Like everyone else, they have opinions about politics, sports, the weather, and a hundred other subjects. They also have opinions about the important judgments that must be made in our personal lives and in our congregational work. In this, they are no different than any other Christian.

Do preachers express their opinions? Of course, they do! Like most other people, preachers will tell you what they think about subjects that are of interest to them. And, spiritual subjects are very important to them. Thus, they are prone to state their views on issues that relate to serving God.

There is nothing wrong with a preacher, or any other Christian, expressing an opinion. When they do, you may choose to agree or disagree. Typically, preachers have based their judgment upon sound principles and years of practical experience. Their opinions, therefore, should carry some weigh to those who are concerned about following the best course in matters of expediency. 

But their opinions are just that, opinions, and they do not carry the force of divine law. You are invited to totally disregard them if it is only their opinion.

But, be careful! Preachers are also proclaiming God's commandments, and these MUST be obeyed. If the preacher has demonstrated by 'book, chapter, and verse' that what he is saying is the will of God, you cannot just overlook it by claiming it is only his opinion. If he has shown the authority of Scripture for what he is teaching, then it is NOT an opinion, it is law —- it must be obeyed. If you fail to do so, you are ignoring God, not the preacher. 

As Paul said; "he who rejects this is not rejecting man but God..." (1 Thessalonians 4:8). 


—Greg Gwin

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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.

--- E.R. Hall, Jr.





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