Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                         March 8, 2015                                                                                                                            NO. 52



A sign reading "Church of Christ" in front of a building tells you very little these days. Most any doctrine or practice may be found inside. This is frustrating to many people.  

Outsiders make fun of the situation, saying, "You preach unity but you are the most divided people we know." They may add, "This just proves you are not the true church." This last statement shows a total misunderstanding of what the true church is, but it is a misunderstanding shared by far too many "members of the church." 

How Can We Explain It? 

First, many churches that claim to be churches of Christ are not "of Christ" at all. Any church can claim that designation, but only one that truly recognizes Christ as its head is justified in using it. There is no denominational accrediting board that can certify a church as a true church of Christ -- the Lord Himself is the judge of that.  

In addition, there are churches, claiming to be churches of Christ, that intend to follow Jesus but have widely differing ideas of what that involves. Some, like the Sadducees, "are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God" (Matthew 22:29). Others know the Scriptures but construe them loosely, rejecting only those things that are forbidden. Still others believe that only those things clearly authorized are to be practiced; but even among these there may be differences as to what is authorized. When such congregations are truly autonomous, it is inevitable that there will be noticeable differences. 


Such Differences Are Not New! 

Differences existed among churches established by the apostles even while the New Testament was still being written. The "seven churches of Asia" (Revelation 2 and 3) provide good examples.  

A visitor in Ephesus would have found an old established church that was doing everything right but with a lack of love (Revelation 2:4). Moving on to Smyrna, he would find a rather poor little group that had a bad reputation among the Jews in town (Revelation 2:9). Visiting the church in Pergamum, he might well hear a teacher defending idolatry, approving the eating of meat sacrificed to them (Revelation 2:14). And if that was not shocking enough, going on to Thyatira he might meet a woman in the church who claimed to be a prophetess and was actually teaching and seducing the men to commit fornication (Revelation 2:20).  

If the traveler expressed concern about what he had found thus far, he might well be told that he would find things better in Sardis where there was a church widely known as a really lively church. But on arriving there, he would be disappointed to find that, as far as doing what God wanted them to do, they really were dead (Revelation 3:1-2). Moving on to Philadelphia, he would find a church made up of good people, but relatively small and with "little strength" (Revelation 3:8). Finally, in Laodicea, visiting the church he might be met by greeters at the door offering him a brochure and telling him how rich and self-sufficient the church was; but on closer inspection he would find that they really were spiritually “wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked" (Revelation 3:17). At least, that's what the Lord found.  

Were all of these churches right because they would claim to be "of Christ"? No! Two of them were threatened with total rejection by the Lord (Revelation 2:5; 3:16) and three others were warned of dire consequences if they did not repent. Did the remaining congregations comprise the "one true church?" NO! The one true church is not composed of congregations but of faithful individuals saved by the Lord (Acts 2:47). In spite of the false teaching and immorality in some of the churches there were still some who had "not defiled their garments." The faithful remnant in these and other churches made up -- and make up -- the "one true church." 

What All Churches Must Do! 

In John's epistles, written about the same time, we see echoes of the same problems. He speaks of those who questioned both the divinity and humanity of Jesus (doctrine of the Nicolaitans?); of those claiming they could sin without guilt and of some who hated their brethren. There had even been divisions which John explains by saying, "They went out from us because they were not of us" (I John 2:19).  

John stated the solution. Approximately ten times in I and II John he speaks of "the beginning." Most often that expression seems to refer to the beginning of the church on Pentecost under the direction of the apostles of Jesus (see I John 2:24). After warning of false teachers (I John 4:1) he provides the standard by which they are to be tested. As an apostle he writes: "We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error" (I John 4:6).  

We cannot be responsible for every church in the world that calls itself a church of Christ. Our responsibility as congregations is to go back to be the church as it was in "the beginning" and to the apostles doctrine in which that church continued steadfastly (Acts 2:42). As individuals we must make sure that we are a part of the faithful remnant that makes up the “one true church."

—Sewell Hall




Few things in this life are free. If we want things, we must pay. The amount we are willing to spend will determine what we can get and the quality of what we get. The more you want the more it is going to cost you.  A car is expensive in the first place. You can buy a used car that is ugly and dented, but if it gets you where you need to go and works for you, you can handle it. If you want a newer car, it is going to cost more. If you want power windows, heated seats, navigation or any other number of accessories; there is a price to pay.

Just about anything you can buy offers choices to you. You might look at different brands, colors, sizes or whatever. What you choose to buy is up to you most of the time. Sure there are some things that are out of reach of our available funds, and we learn we must settle for less than what we really want. I may want a large house, but if all I can afford is a mobile home, then I have to learn to be happy in what I can afford. If I want something better, I learn that I have to improve myself to get a better paying job. I must learn to budget and control my money carefully. Even then, there are things that are out of my control in what I am able to do and afford.

Everything has a price, and that price has an effect upon whatever savings I may be trying to hold on to. Tires need to be fixed or replaced.  Appliances break down; cars break down; lawnmowers break down; in fact most everything breaks down sooner or later. If I am not careful, I may break down; then look at what that is going to cost.

There are things that have a cost associated which most people do not consider. The cost of sin carries a huge price tag. Most of the time, sin is nothing more than selfish desires becoming realities. Sometimes the cost can be pricey. A person who drinks, gets drunk, then drives and gets caught will have a price of lawyers, fines, driver's license suspension, not to mention the social stigma from the community.    

Some people seem to get away from these costs by not getting caught by the authorities. But they will have to pay a price later on. The price of sin is spiritual death. This is being separated from God. Isaiah 59:2 tells us that our sins separate us from God. Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death. Revelation 20 reveals that those who are separated from God will go into the second death, the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.  Jesus Himself paints a horrible picture of the place reserved for Satan and his followers.

Now, consider the price that God paid for your sins. God sent His Son, Jesus, to this earth to be the atoning sacrifice for your sin. Jesus willingly died on the cross so you do not have to pay the price for your sin.

Now, there is also a price you must pay to be spared the pain and agony of the eternal torment reserved for you. You must deny yourself and serve the Lord Jesus as God. You must cease all the sins of your life and go through life the way God wants you to behave. You must obey all of God's commands. You must leave your lusts and sinful desires behind and seek the life that will produce for you an eternal weight of glory in heaven. Have you counted the cost of serving God? Read Luke 14:25-33 to read about the cost to become a disciple of Jesus.

—Carey Scott

Page 2


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.





Bible Classes ……….....….…............ 10:00 AM

Morning Worship ……..…….….…...... 11:00 AM

Evening Worship …………...……........ 6:00 PM


Bible Classes …………..………........... 7:30 PM



Radio Program

Monday - Friday

WDXC 102.3 FM .....................…........ 10:20 AM



Television Program


Comcast Cable - Heritage TV - Digital Channel 266 ............ 6:00 AM & 2:00 PM


Comcast Cable - Heritage TV - Digital Channel 266 ............ 2:00 PM



World Wide Web:


UNSUBSCRIBE: Reply to and put UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

SUBSCRIBE FRIENDS: Reply to and put SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.